News Shorts: Armstrong stars in music video; Sky for Dubai, Qatar

CULT Energy to use InfoCrank in 2015, Heart problems for Zingle, Gang Xu and Feng to Dubai, Porte to Algarve

Lance Armstrong may have been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and is facing multi-million dollar legal battles, but in recent interviews he appears to be unrepentant about his decisions. An appearance in a music video for the band Future User, a new project of Armstrong's cycling buddy Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine raises the bar on his unapologetic, defiant stance on his critics.

"The amount of attention given to PEDs is incredible," Commerford said to Rolling Stone, "especially when you consider the amount of drugs – recreational, illegal and pharmaceutical – that America supports and profits from."

The video includes images of a hooded figure mixing up a cocktail of pills and powders into a blender, syringes being filled from vials, blood bags and Armstrong, in a voicemail, saying "You better step the f-- off me, mother f--er. 7 O'clock, here in Aspen, Colorado, I've beent raining like a motherf---er. So fit, so yoked, so technically astute, you can never hang. Step the fuck off, Lance."

According to Commerford, the staged voicemail was a play on their real life, friendly rivalry. "We'll jokingly leave each other voice messages like, 'Dude, I'm gonna crush you the next time I see you. I'm gonna take you down.' I thought it'd be cool to put one of his voice messages in the song." 

CULT Energy use InfoCrank

Newly registered Pro Continental team CULT Energy has partnered up with fledgling Australian company Verve Cycling to use their InfoCrank system in 2015. The Danish team, which made the step up to the professional ranks at the end of the season, will prove a testing ground for the new crank-based power metres.

“It was a logical step for us to work with a team that focuses on development at and we believe CULT Energy Pro Cycling shares the same value as we do at Verve Cycling,” Verve Cycling CEO Bryan Taylor said in a press release. “The team has access to one of the best bikes available, and InfoCrank is a perfect fit for the bottom bracket and bike set-up. We are confident that Verve InfoCrank and CULT Energy Pro Cycling Team will be a formidable team into the future."

InfoCrank is the first bike part product for Verve Cycling and was launched into the market in 2014. It runs on a stiff 30mm spindle with chainrings designed for the cobbled classics. The company claims that the power metres are twice as accurate as SRM and will not need re-calibration.

The partnerships is good news for the CULT Energy team who had a rocky road towards their first professional licence. They parted ways with team manager Christian Weyland in late November and was forced into a last-minute search for a secondary sponsor. The UCI granted the team a reprieve and they were finally awarded their Pro Continental licence in late December. German riders Linus Gerdeman and Fabian Wegmann will headline the team, along with Danish talent Rasmus Quaade.

Heart problems stop Zingle

Cofidis rider Romain Zingle has had to call a halt to his 2015 before it even began after an MRI scan revealed an inflammation of the ventrical. The 28-year-old Frenchman announced on twitter on Thursday morning that he would stop racing with immediate effect while the assessment of his condition continues.

Team Sky send strong line-ups to Dubai and Qatar

Team Sky will be sending strong line-ups to both the Tour of Dubai from February 4-7 and the Tour of Qatar from February 8-13.

Dubai Tour, of which Giant-Alpecin’s Marcel Kittel won three of the four stages last year, is known as a sprinters' race. Team Sky will field a team of sprinters that includes Elia Viviani, who showed his top early season form with a second place at the Mallorca Challenge opener on Thursday. The team will also include their fast men Ben Swift and Andy Fenn along with support riders Bernhard Eisel and Geraint Thomas, Ian Boswell, David Lopez and Salvatore Puccio.

For the Tour of Qatar, Eisel, Stannard and Fenn will remain on the team, joined by Bradley Wiggins, Christian Knees, Danny Pate, Luke Rowe and Chris Sutton. According to the team’s website, the Tour of Qatar’s crosswinds and difficult racing make it a good event for Spring Classics training. This will be Wiggins’ first race of the season and he is targeting Paris-Roubaix in April.

Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)

Lampre-Merida’s Xu and Chun Kai Feng to Dubai

Lampre-Merida’s Chinese rider Gang Xu and Taiwanese rider Chuna Kai Feng will begin their season with the Italian WorldTour team at the upcoming Dubai Tour. It is Feng’s debut season with the team, having raced with the Continental outfit Team Gusto in 2014. Gang Xu, however, raced with Lampre-Merida last year and is looking forward to kicking off the season in Dubai.

“I spent the winter in China, training hard for starting the season in a good condition,” Gang Xu said. “I felt that my condition is good to start properly in my second season in the blue-fuchsia-green jersey.

“The 2015 [season] will begin in the Dubai Tour, a race I never took part in. My aim is to approach the race with the necessary attitude: the courses of the stages won’t be so demanding, but the side winds will be a danger. My role will be to make good work for the team in the early part of the stage and in view of the sprint, supporting the fast riders of the team. I’ll also try to be ready to join a breakaway just after the starts.”

Lampre-Merida will announce the full roster for the Dubai Tour at a later date.

Porte will return to Volta ao Algarve in February

Richie Porte, winner of the Volta ao Algarve in 2012, will return to the Portuguese UCI 2.1 race next month with Team Sky.

In addition to the Australian, who recently finished second overall at the Tour Down Under, the British team will send Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift, Andy Fenn, Ian Boswell, Sebastian Henao, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Salvatore Puccio. The race takes place February 18-22.

The peloton for the 41st Volta ao Algarve will have 22 teams, including eight from the WorldTour level: Astana, Cannondale-Garmin, Ettix-QuickStep, Katusha, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Lotto Soudal, Movistar and Sky.

Five teams will represent the Professional Continental category: Bora-Argon 18, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, RusVelo, Team Roompot and Wanty-Groupe Gobert. The Volta ao Algarve will field six Portuguese Continental teams as well as Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies from the US, the polish ActiveJet team and Murias Taldea from Spain. 

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