News Shorts: Betancur wants to ride the Tour de France

Aru ready for Paris-Nice challenge, Vos to miss Strade-Bianche, Dekker to Lampre-Merida?

Having announced in December that that his long awaited Tour de France debut would be on ice for another year with his focus on the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a EspañaCarlos Betancur has suggested that he could be one of the nine Ag2r-La Mondiale riders lining up in July for the race.

The 25-year-old welcomed the birth of his son last month while at home in Colombia having made his 2015 debut at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, finishing a lowly 88th overall. Illness then hampered his performance at the national championships where he finished 97th.

Betancur has been included in Ag2r-La Mondiale's team for Strade Bianche and then Tirreno Adriatico but his impending racing programme appears uncertain beyond the two Italian races with his articulation of a new schedule.

Betancur's hesitation regarding his Giro d'Italia appearance is due to the inclusion of a 59km time trial, unsuited to the climber's characteristics.

"It will be difficult for me," Betancut told El Tiempo. "I know that does not help me and so we are looking at doing the classics and the Tour because of the issue of the long time trial in the Giro. In the end, the team will make a decision and I will accept it.

"I would prefer to do the classics, rest a bit and then do the Tour. The Giro d'Italia this year will be difficult with such a long time trial. On the other hand, it has some demanding finishes where I can do well."

Betancur has ridden the Giro on two previous occasions in 2011 and 2013 when he won the best young rider classification and finished fifth overall. He has also ridden the Vuelta on two previous occasions.

Betancur added that the birth of his son has been a blessing and bodes well for a successful 2015 season.

"It's a great motivation. It's a beautiful thing to have Carlos Andrés," he said of his newborn. "I will be more motivated and this is for good." 

Aru back from Tenerife training camp

Fabio Aru was one of the sensations of the peloton last year, winning a stage at the Giro d'Italia and finishing third overall before winning two stages and finishing fifth at the Vuelta a España. The 24-year-old Sardinian makes his 2015 racing debut this week at Paris-Nice and enters the WorldTour event on the back of two weeks training at altitude in Tenerife.

"That's right, I can't wait to savour the taste of the challenge and I am also curious to check on the field at this point [and how they] are preparing," Aru told tuttobiciweb.it. "In recent months I have really worked hard.

"With me there were six teammates. Lars Boom, Diego Rosa, Paolo Tiralongo, Andrey Zeits, Tanel Kangert and Dmitriy Gruzdev," Aru added of who his company has been while training.

Astana are yet to announce their Paris-Nice squad with the team to face the UCI Licence Commission following the governing body's request to withdrawal of its WorldTour licence last week.

Aru will lead Astana at the first grand tour of the season with his pre-race programme including Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, "a fortnight in Tenerife, Trentino, perhaps Liège and the Giro." His season though, like his teammates, rests upon the decision by the Licence Commission.

Vos to miss Strade Bianche

The Italian one-day Strade Bianchi race is one that appears made for Marianne Vos although the former world champion on the road and cyclo-cross will skip the inaugural edition due to a hamstring injury. Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that the Rabo Liv rider could also miss the women's Tour of Flanders due to the injury which has hampered Vos since late last year but did not stop her claiming the bronze medal at the cyclo-cross world championships earlier this year.

Dekker to Lampre-Merida?

Thomas Dekker could find himself signing for Italian WorldTour team Lampre-Merida off the back of his hour record attempt, in which he fell 270 metres short of the record set by former teammate Rohan Dennis in February, according to De Telegraaf.

"We want to make the team international and have been looking for some time looking for a rider from the Netherlands," said Managing Director at Merida Benelux, Peter Koperdraad.

"Late last year the name Dekker was already [being discussed], but then his signing was stopped by the Italians because they were essentially three lesser years in Garmin. Maybe his attempt to attack the hour record or has made an impression. This week we go again to talk."

A promising young talent, Dekker won the Tour of Romandie and Tirreno Adriatico while riding fro Rabobank. On the eve of the 2009 Tour de France, Dekker tested positive for EPO in 2009 and was handed a two-year suspension from the sport.

He was signed by the Chipotle-Garmin Development Team in 2011, before joining the Garmin WorldTour team in 2012 for three seasons producing almost zero results. Dekker was one of several riders to find them self without a contract when the Garmin and Cannondale squads merged at the end of the last year and announced he would focus on the hour record rather than finding a new team for 2015.

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