Newly elected UCI president David Lappartient has continued to make bold statements about his plans for the future of cycling in a series of interviews. Lappartient's latest pledge is to try and reduce Grand Tour teams to just six riders.
"At the time, there were 10 riders in the teams, and we managed to go down to nine, but I'm going to go further, and six riders per team would be better," Lappartient said in an interview with French radio station RMC.
Grand Tour teams are already set for a trim with numbers being reduced from nine to eight for the 2018 season. Other WorldTour races will see teams of seven taking part compared to the previous eight. The move to cut team numbers was a controversial one and has been blamed by some for the reduction in squad sizes with lots of WorldTour teams shedding riders from their rosters.
Increased safety has been put forward as a reason for such changes, along with more exciting racing. However, a reduction to six riders per team for a Grand Tour will no doubt be met by resistance by many.
Talansky wins his first triathlon
Andrew Talansky kicked off his career in triathlon with a victory in the Olympic distance event at the Marin County Triathlon in Northern California.
Talansky retired from professional cycling in September after nine years with the Slipstream Sports organisation. He then made his intentions to transition into professional Ironman distance triathlon earlier this month.
Talansky was the fastest finisher of the Marin Country Triathlon by more than ten minutes, clocking a respectable 1:23 pace for the 1500m swim, cruised the 22-mile bike leg in 57:25 over a rough, hilly course, and then ticked off the fourth-fastest 10k run to win by more than ten minutes over the second placed competitor.
Yesterday I kicked off my triathlon career in much the same way as I did my cycling one over 11 years ago: at a local, grassroots event that showcases what the sport is all about. I haven't been that nervous before a race since maybe the first time I lined up for the TdF in 2013! I had a great time, met some good people and I can't wait for more. #triathlon #marintriathlon #thejourneybegins
Irvine retires again to become Aqua Blue directeur sportif
After coming out of a year-long retirement to race for the nascent Aqua Blue Sport team, Martyn Irvine is set to retire again. The Irishman will remain with the team, using his lengthy experience as a directeur sportif.
Irvine only raced 19 days in 2017 after dealing with several injuries. He made a delayed start to the season in April at De Brabantse Pijl but just over a month into his calendar he crashed on stage 1 of the Baloise Belgium Tour and broke his hip. It was the latest in a long line of serious injuries that Irvine suffered throughout his career, and while he was able to race again in 2017, he decided to call time on his career for a second time.
"I want to thank Aqua Blue Sport and especially Rick Delaney for this great opportunity. I decided to return to racing this year but when I broke a bone in my hip again this year I knew I had to take a serious look at where I wanted to go next," explained Irvine. "I have had a lot of injuries and there comes a point where the body just says no more. I have reached that point. I discussed this with Rick and he offered me the Sports Director role.
"It is the perfect fit for me and the right decision. It is a huge challenge and I have a huge amount to learn but I am really looking forward to 2018."
The 32-year-old Irvine began his career with the Sean Kelly Team in 2006, spending the final months of the year for the Continental team. His biggest successes came on the track while representing Ireland with a world title in the Scratch race at the 2013 World Championships in Minsk, along with a silver in the individual pursuit. The result came soon after a move to the American UnitedHealthcare squad, where he spent two seasons.
Irvine switched to Madison Genesis for the 2015 season with a view to preparing for the Rio Olympic Games. However, a training crash put an end to his qualifying hopes, and he decided to retire ahead of the 2016 season before returning to racing with Aqua Blue.
Slongo voted best Italian directeur sportif
Vincenzo Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo has been voted directeur sportif of the 2017 season by readers of the Italian website Tuttobiciweb.
Slongo helped Nibali finish third at the Giro d'Italia, second at the Vuelta a Espana and then win Il Lombardia. While he is primarily responsible for coaching at Bahrain-Merida, Slongo is often behind the team car in races and played a key role in Nibali's successful season.
Slongo took 37 per cent and 4492 votes, beating Davide Bramati (Quick-Step Floors) and Giovanni Ellena (Androni Giocattoli).
Slongo will be given a special prize at the annual Tuttobiciweb award night in Milan on November 20.
Androni Giocattoli celebrate UCI Europe Tour podium
The Italian Androni Giocattoli team ended the 2017 season with success in the Italian Ciclismo Cup, and third place in the UCI Europe Tour, with the two season-long rankings confirming the team's consistency and success.
Thanks to winning the Ciclismo Cup, Androni Giocattoli have secured an automatic wildcard invitation to the 2018 Giro d'Italia. Their third place, behind Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Cofidis, in the UCI Europe Tour gave them team manager Gianni Savio something to celebrate.
"It's an important achievement that proves the effectiveness of the project that our team started this year with the launch of young riders, all of them protagonists and some of them victorious among the professional ranks," Savio said.
The Androni Giocattoli team have allowed Egan Bernal move to Team Sky but has kept most of its roster from 2017 and added Manuel Belletti (from Wilier Triestina) and Luca Chirico (Bardiani-CSF).
"With the exception of Edgar Bernal - who will go to Sky - all the young riders are confirmed for next season, during which we promise new emotions for all our fans," Savio concluded.