News shorts: BMC, Lampre, Cofidis rosters for Milan-San Remo

Podium boys for Gent-Wevelgem, Abu Dhabi Tour, Westra out of Catalunya

The BMC Racing Team will line up for Milan-San Remo with two-time podium finisher Philippe Gilbert as the top man for La Primavera. The former world champion is looking to finally add the Italian Monument to his palmares, which also include Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro di Lombardia. Gilbert came third in 2011 behind Matthew Goss and Fabian Cancellara, and in 2008, when Cancellara soloed to the victory and Gilbert was second to Filippo Pozzato in the sprint.

The team has Greg Van Avermaet in its ranks as a back-up plan, should the shift to the traditional Via Roma shift the race in favour of the sprinters.

BMC Racing Team for Milan-San Remo: Alessandro De Marchi, Silvan Dillier, Philippe Gilbert, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet, Danilo Wyss

Lampre-Merida for Milan-San Remo

The Lampre-Merida team heads to Milan-San Remo with 2006 winner Filippo Pozzato in its ranks. The Italian's record has been on the wane since his success nine years ago, but the return of the race to the Via Roma could be just the change he needs to rejuvenate his Classics campaign.

Pozzato was second in 2008, fifth in 2011 and sixth in 2012.

Also in the ranks are 2013 world champion Rui Costa and Trofeo Laigueglia and Paris-Nice stage winner Davide Cimolai.

Lampre for Milan-San Remo: Niccolò Bonifazio, Matteo Bono, Davide Cimolai, Manuele Mori, Filippo Pozzato, Maximiliano Richeze, Rui Costa, Josè Serpa.

Cofidis for Milan-San Remo

Nacer Bouhanni has been confirmed as Cofidis' leader for Milan-San Remo with the team selected to support the fast Frenchman on his debut at La Clasica Primavera. Bouhanni is still looking for his first win since joining the Pro Continental team from FDJ last year with his best result so far, second place on stage two of Paris-Nice last week.

Lead out man Dominique Rollin will make his fourth appearance at the moment and is the only rider selected to have ridden the race before. The young team has experience of racing the Classics cobbles but the 293km San Remo will be a test for them and Bouhanni.

Cofidis for Milan-San Remo: Nacer Bouhanni, Gert Jõeäär, Christophe Laporte, Cyril Lemoine, Dominique Rollin, Adrien Petit, Florian Sénéchal and Louis Verhelst.

Podium boys for Gent-Wevelgem

The debate on whether podium girls are an outdated custom in cycling continues, but Gent-Wevelgem organisers Flanders Classics have decided to level the playing field by introducing podium boys for their women’s race. According to the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Mister Belgium Personality, Fabio Ronti, and Mister Universe Belgium, Philip Moers, will be on hand during the women’s podium ceremony.

The move is likely a reaction to the furore caused by the poster for the 2015 E3 Harelbeke race – which takes place two days prior and is organised by a rival company. The poster, which made reference to the incident where Peter Sagan pinched the behind of a podium girl after finishing second to Fabian Cancellara in 2013, attracted a lot of criticism. Organisers later issued a second poster with the slogan “This is our conventional billboard promoting the most astonishing cycling event of the year.”

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) makes a crass move on the podium at the Tour of Flanders

Abu Dhabi Tour announcement due

The route for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour is set to be revealed next Wednesday, March 25. The 2.1 ranked race is due to take place from October 8-11 and is organised by Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi sports council.

Westra out of Catalunya

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) will not ride the Volta a Catalunya next week, the rider has announced. Illness forced him to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico during stage five to Terminillo and Westra says that he still hasn’t fully recovered.

“In consultation with @AstanaTeam I don't start in Catalonia!! Am still not 100 percent to race Basque country! To get back to 200 percent to start,” he wrote on Twitter.

Fabio Aru is due to lead the team at the Spanish race, which begins on Monday March 23.

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