Heart problems force Rogers out of Dubai Tour
Michael Rogers (Tinkoff) was the only non-starter for the third stage of the Dubai Tour after heart problems forced him to pull out. The Dubai Tour was the first race of the season for Rogers after the discovery of heart abnormalities meant he had to skip the Tour Down under.
Rogers had been hopeful about his participation at the Dubai Tour but tweeted on Friday morning that the heart data from the opening two stages had forced him to call it quits. Rogers spoke to Cyclingnews in Dubai earlier this week, stating his desire to have one more Tour de France.
No start for me this morning at Dubai Tour. My heart data from stage 2 shows I’m not yet ready to compete at such a high level. #stepbystep.— Michael Rogers (@mickrogers) February 5, 2016
Tour of Britain expected to head to Devon
The route of the 2016 Tour of Britain is yet to be announced but local newspaper Exeter Express and Echo has reported that the race is due to return to Devon and the city itself. The paper reports that the race, which will take place between September 4 to 11, will pay a visit to the region for the decisive stage 6.
The Tour of Britain last visited Devon in 2014 with a stage from Exmouth to Exeter. The stage was won from the break by Mattias Brändle. The Tour of Britain missed out the South West of England completely last year, spending much of its time in the north and in Scotland. The 2015 race was won by Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The newspaper also reports that the stage is likely to play a key role in the race with a summit finish expected. Exactly where the finish is due to be is yet to be revealed.
Cyclingnews contacted the race organisers, who said, “The Tour of Britain route will be launched at the end of February, so until then there’s no official news on this year’s stages.”
Dimension Data set-up Continental team
Five years ago, Dimension Data were still a Continental team hoping for the big-leagues. Now that they have stepped up to WorldTour level, they have gone back to their roots by setting up a Continental outfit.
The squad, which will be known as Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, will be made up of 10 African riders, and will give them a chance to race on the European circuit. It will be based between South Africa and the senior team’s European base of Lucca, Italy. The team will be looked after by Kevin Campbell who has previously worked with the senior squad.
“The Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental Team is an incredible extension and development platform of our World Tour team which will support more riders from the African continent to be able to race and gain international cycling experience,” said team manager Doug Ryder. “The riders have been carefully selected by our World Tour Performance Team with the goal that they will be able to become seasoned professionals in the peloton of world cycling in the coming years. This team will have the incredible opportunity to be based at our training centre in Lucca, Tuscany and to be mentored by their World Tour compatriots.”
The 10 riders who will form the first team are: Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eritrea), Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwanda), Jayde Julius (South Africa), Keagan Girdlestone (South Africa), Metkel Eyob (Eritrea), Nicholas Dlamini (South Africa), Ryan Gibbons (South Africa), Shameeg Salie (South Africa), Stefan de Bod (South Africa) and Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda).
BMC back Van Avermaet for the Tour of Qatar
Greg Van Avermaet will take leadership of the BMC team at the Tour of Qatar, which is due to start next week. The Middle Eastern race will be Van Avermaet’s first race of the season, the fourth consecutive time that the Belgian has so.
Van Avermaet will be using the race, which is known for its challenging crosswinds, as preparation for his classics campaign, which is due to begin at the end of February.
"I'm ready to race. You train for a reason and that's racing, so it's good to be lining up for my first race of the season at the Tour of Qatar. It's a great race in terms of preparing for the Classics with the wind and the speed."
BMC directeur sportif Fabio Bataldo said, "Greg is the team leader and 100% our priority going into the race, but this kind of racing also allows the riders to find other opportunities so I think we can have Oss and Drucker up there in the sprints, as well focusing our attention on the GC."
Joining Van Avermaet will be, Tom Bohli, Jempy Drucker, Michael Schär, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Joey Rosskopf, Greg Van Avermaet and Rick Zabel.