News shorts: 2016 US amateur championships moved from Lake Tahoe

Arashiro joins Lampre-Merida, Wegmann signs for one more year with Cult Energy, former Danish development coach joins Giant-Alpecin staff

2016 US amateur championships moved from Lake Tahoe

New civic policies, the ability to attract necessary volunteers and cost all played a part in a mutual decision not to host the 2016 US Amateur Road National Championships in North Lake Tahoe in 2016, according to a statement USA Cycling released on Thursday.

The 2016 Championships would have been the second in a two-year contract with USA Cycling, which says it will release the new 2016 national championship location and schedule on Friday.

USA Cycling National Events Manager Tara McCarthy said she appreciated the work North Lake Tahoe and the community put into the event and she was disappointed they would not be the 2016 venue.

"Unexpected high cost for various aspects of the five-day event, including police costs, factor into the choice to not host the event in North Lake Tahoe," USA Cycling said in its release on Thursday.

"That high price tag paired with new local road closure restrictions in high-season caused USA Cycling and North Lake Tahoe to mutually agree to relocate the event."

In Thursday's announcement, both USA Cycling and North Lake Tahoe officials said they were disappointed that the championship event will not return in 2016, but they were hoping the event can return in the near future.

"USA Cycling was a great partner and we are disappointed not to be the host destination for many years to come,” said North Lake Tahoe Resort Association Tourism Director JT Thompson. "We thank the organizers, athletes and volunteers for their assistance in planning this event for 2015 and look forward to working with USA Cycling again in the future."

Lampre-Merida sign Yukiya Arashiro from Europcar

Yukiya Arashiro has become the first Japanese rider to join Italian team Lampre-Merida as he moves across from Team Europcar for 2016. Arashiro has been with Europcar since 2009 when he became the first Japanese cyclist to ride and finish the Tour de France. He has gone on to start and finish seven more grand tours, finishing 65th overall on the last occasions.

"I'll become a member of a team with a great tradition and I'll be the team mate of great riders: this is a great pleasure for me," Arashiro said. "In the Team Lampre-Merida I'll have the opportunity for continuing to demonstrate that the Japanese cyclists and Asian cyclists have the potentiality for achieving top results, so I'm looking forward to the future in the blue-fuchsia-green team with many expectation. I'm sure I'll learn a lot in this team with such a long tradition and I'd like to inspire many young Asian riders."

Arashiro is a two-time national Japanese champion and the 2011 Asian cycling champion. He also has the Tour du Limousin on his palmares along with along with tenth place at Amstel Gold Race, ninth at the 2010 Worlds and third on a Giro d'Italia stage. Lampre-Merida team manager Brent Copeland explained that Arashiro's characteristics and status as a role model of Japanese cycling were both attractions in offering him a contract.

"Lampre-Merida signed a cyclist who’s an icon of the Asian cycling, one of the most important athlete of the whole Japanese cycling history, a country in which cycling is very popular," Copeland said. "Arashiro extend towards high quality level the frontiers of the Asian cycling, obtaining important results and collecting experience.

"That are the reasons why he’s very appreciated in Europe and he’s loved in Japan: also thanks to Merida, we succeeded in signing the agreement which allow Yukiya to race in Lampre-Merida in 2016."

Arashiro's final race with Team Europcar will be the Japan Cup this Sunday where he looks to end his career with the French team on a high

"I'm grateful to the team and to the sponsor who supported me and I thank my new team and my new sponsors for having decided to start a cooperation with me," he said. This is an important step for me, the future is full of hope in Lampre-Merida."

Wegmann signs for one more year with CULT Energy

Fabian Wegmann will spend his 15th professional season with CULT Energy-Stölting Group as the Danish Pro Continental outfit continues to build its 2016 roster.

Wegmann, who moved to Cult Energy last season after three years with Garmin, signed a one-year extension with his new team.

"I’m happy to sign one more year with the team and to be a part of this new project," said the 35-year-old German. "I’m really proud of how the team performed in the first year at Pro Continental level.

"From the very first race, we continuously had at least one rider who did a top result, especially in the stage races. With the new signings for 2016, we even have a stronger roster so I’m sure that we will have a lot more victories than this year. With my experience over the last 14 years as a pro rider, I hope to be able to play an important role in the team."

Director André Steensen said another year with Wegmann will provide crucial experience for his young team and give Wegmann another shot at the Classics after he was hampered by injury and illness last year.

"I believe that Fabian still has the ability to compete with the best in a race like Amstel Gold Race thanks to his punch and ability to predict the races," Steensen said. "Besides, he will take an important role on the team next year as a mentor for our young riders who will be able to receive a lot of knowledge from Fabian as one of the most experienced riders in the peloton when it comes to the undulating spring classics."

Wegmann rode for Gerolsteiner, Millram and Leopard-Trek before riding with Garmin for three years starting in 2012, the year he won the German road championship.

 

Giant-Alpecin expands coaching staff with addition of Morten Bennekou

Morten Bennekoum, coach and head of development for the Danish cycling federation, will join the Giant-Alpecin coaching staff next year, according to an announcement from the team on Thursday.

"We are delighted to welcome Morten on board as a coach," said Giant-Alpecin head coach Rudi Kemna. "We sought him out because of his experience in the development of riders in addition to his skills as a trainer."

Kemma said Bennekoum has had great success in Denmark bringing many riders to the pro level and building a strong and stable structure inside the federation.

"We are happy that he has chosen to join us as the next step in his career," Kemma said. "His way of thinking is a good fit with ours."

Bennekou said he enjoyed his time at the Danish federation, but when the opportunity arose with Giant-Alpecin, he was ready to take on a new challenge.

"I wouldn’t say yes to just any team, but I knew this team relatively well, as we had worked together with some Danish riders and I had participated in a training camp, where we had good big-picture conversations about rider and team development," Bennekou said. "I decided to join the team because this organization shares my outlook and I have good relationships with everyone on the team."

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