The Netherlands has added three new races to the UCI Europe Tour this season, with the New Energy Tour in the Rijnmond region near Rotterdam the latest addition. The race partially fills the gap left by the World Ports Classic, which was held for four years after the Tour de France was hosted in Rotterdam, but disappeared after 2015.
The New Energy Tour is a UCI 1.1-ranked one-day race that, according to AD.nl, will begin in Capelle aan den IJssel and end in Alblasserwaard.
The race is due to visit 11 towns on the islands of IJsselmonde, Voorne Putten, Goeree Overflakkee, Hoeksche Waard and Drechtsteden, with the full route due to be announced next week.
The New Energy Tour will be held on May 20, the country's "Dag van de Fiets" (day of the bike) and will coincide with multiple festivals of cycling.
Another new Dutch race is currently listed on the UCI calendar, the 2.1-ranked "ITC Netherlands" (International Team Challenge). No new details of the Velon-backed event have been made public since a report in December by 1Limburg.nl described a unique three-day race that will include a team pursuit-style team time trial, a points race for climbers on the Cauberg and a sprinter's race in the Sportspark in Sittard-Geleen.
The 71e Profronde van Noord-Holland has also been elevated to the UCI calendar as a 1.2 event on May 17, as has the Midden Brabant-Poort Omloop on July 9. The Ronde van Zeeland, which was cancelled in 2016, is back on the calendar for October 14.
No Pozzato in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be without its 2007 champion when it kicks off on February 25. The Italian's Wilier-Selle Italia team did not earn a wild card invitation to the event, despite only 15 WorldTour teams accepting the invitation to race. The Belgian opener is one of the new UCI WorldTour events.
Belgian teams Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect, Veranda's Willems Crelan, the Dutch Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij team, French squads Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Cofidis and Direct Energie, the Aqua Blue Sport and the Israel Cycling Project teams filled in the 25-team start list.
Leipheimer recovering from broken leg
Levi Leipheimer is out of the plaster but faces a long road to recovery after shattering his lower leg in a ski accident last month.
The retired racer, who lost his third place in the 2007 Tour de France after admitting to doping, broke his fibula, tibia and talus bones after hitting a buried tree while skiing.
He posted photos of his injury on Twitter, and on his Facebook page described profound atrophy of his leg muscles after having 22 screws and two plates installed to fix the breaks.
Iranian tests positive for steroid, team could face ban
The UCI today announced that Iranian rider Rahim Emami (Team Pishgaman Cycling) has tested positive for an Anabolic Androgenic Steroid during the Jelajah Malaysia in a sample collected on 18 October 2016. The UCI has provisionally suspended Emami.
Because his teammate Naser Rezavi also tested positive in the Jelajah Malaysia in December 2015, the UCI considers this a second Adverse Analytical Finding in a 12-month period.
The Disciplinary Commission is now set to decide whether the team should be suspended. Under the UCI Anti-Doping Rule, the team could face a ban between 15 and 45 days.