Landa resumes training but Tirreno-Adriatico participation uncertain - News Shorts

Horner in Dominican Republic, Alabama Cycling Classic to kick off 2016 Pro Road Tour

Landa resumes training but Sky debut yet to be confirmed

Mikel Landa has resumed training after recovering from illness but it remains unclear as to when the Basque rider will make his competitive debut for his new team, Sky.

Landa skipped the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana last month, reportedly in order to work on his time trialling, and he then missed the Ruta del Sol through an undisclosed illness.

A spokesman for Team Sky told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that Landa had been “under the weather for a couple of weeks” but said that he has since returned to training.

Team Sky have yet to confirm whether Landa or Michal Kwiatkowski – who missed the Volta ao Algave through illness – will participate in Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-15), and will not announce their team until later this week.

Landa took to Twitter to announce his return to the bike this week, writing: “Back to training! Still no date for my debut but with the same goal in mind...Giro.”

The 26-year-old is set to lead Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia, where he finished third overall in the colours of Astana in 2015. Landa’s racing schedule in the early part of last season, incidentally, was also interrupted by illness. The effects of cytomegalovirus meant that he did not make his first competitive appearance of 2015 until the Volta a Catalunya in March.

Mikel Landa (Team Sky)

Bardet leads the line for AG2R La Mondiale at Paris-Nice

Romain Bardet will be backed by Alexis Vuillermoz and Alexis Gougead in a strong AG2R La Mondiale team as he bids to become the first Frenchman to win Paris-Nice since Laurent Jalabert claimed his third and final victory in 1997.

Bardet showcased his early-season form by placing second overall at last month’s Tour of Oman, only narrowly losing out to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) atop Green Mountain. Paris-Nice marks the first of his three major objectives this spring, along with the Volta a Catalunya and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Bardet will form a double act on the climbs with Vuillermoz, winner at Mur de Bretagne at last year’s Tour de France. The Ag2r-La Mondiale team for Paris-Nice, which gets underway on Sunday, also includes new signing Cyril Gautier.

There will be much home interest, too, in the performance of Gougeard. 23 years old next week, Gougeard underlined his potential in the Classics by placing 5th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend.

AG2R La Mondiale team for Paris-Nice: Romain Bardet, Mikaël Cherel, Axel Domont, Ben Gastauer, Cyril Gautier, Alexis Gougeard, Pierre Latour, Alexis Vuillermoz.

Horner begins 2016 at Vuelta Independencia Nacional Republica Dominica

Chris Horner made his 2016 debut with the Lupus Racing Team at the Vuelta Independencia Nacional Republica Dominica. The eight-stage UCI 2.2 race in the Dominican Republic kicked off on February 27.

Three stages into the event and Horner is placed 46th overall, 18:01 minutes behind race leader and stage 2 winner Cristian Torres.

Lupus Racing started off the race by placing fifth in the opening team time trial. Horner lost a massive 18 minutes during stage 2 when he finished in a large main group that rolled across the line after the stage winner.

During stage 3, Horner finished 15th and in the lead chase group that sprinted for second on a summit finish behind solo winner Nelson Ismael Sanchez Jimenez, 17 seconds back.

The Vuelta Independencia Nacional Republica Dominica will conclude on March 5.

Matthieu Jeannes and Chris Horner led the team on a cold February training ride.

Alabama Cycling Classic set to kick off 2016 Pro Road Tour

USA Cycling’s 2016 Pro Road Tour is set to start on the first weekend of April with the double-header Sunny King Criterium on April 2 and Anniston Fort McClellan Road Race on April 3.

The Sunny King Criteirum will be held on a one-kilometer, four-turn course will begin and end at E. 11th Street near Noble Street. A prize purse of $30,000 will be shared by the two professional races for men and women, according to a press release from the organization.

McClellan Road Race offers a 22-mile circuit through Anniston and Calhoun County with a mountaintop finish on Bains Gap. The 2016 edition offers two professional races, with a $24,000 prize purse to be split by the professional women and professional men.

USA Cycling combined the National Racing Calendar and the National Criterium Calendar to form the Pro Road Tour in 2016. The Pro Road Tour will continue with the Redlands Bicycle Classic on April 6-10, Joe Martin Stage Race April 21-24, and criteriums in Charlotte and Dana Point, both held on April 30.

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