News shorts: BMC's Vliegen to undergo surgery

Summit finishes for 2016 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Martinez signs for Southeast, Australian sports award for Meares

Vliegen to undergo surgery

Loïc Vliegen (BMC) will undergo surgery Thursday to correct a congenital heart defect, according to a team press release. "I am in good hands and am very grateful to Dr. Cerfontaine and the staff of Liège Citadelle," said Vliegen.

Dr. Michel Cerfontaine, Vliegen's sports doctor, diagnosed the heart defect at the CHR de la Citadelle in Liége, Belgium. The surgery will take place at Université catholique de Louvain Woluwe in Brussels under the supervision of Dr. Etienne Hoffer and Dr. Thierry Sluysmans. 

"The BMC Racing Team has been in continual communication with Loïc and his treating physicians," Dr. Testa said. "We are optimistic that we will have him back for next season."

First stage finishes announced for 2016 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

The 2016 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya will make a return to the summit finishes of La Molina and Port Ainé in 2016 the race organisers have announced. The WorldTour race will take place between March 21 and 27.

BMC's Tejay van Garderen won at La Molina in 2015 while Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won at the ski station a year prior. The 12km climb which tops out at 1673 meters will feature as the finish to stage 3 of next year's race.

Port Ainé meanwhile features the following day with the stage finishing at the resort for the first time in 2013 when Dan Martin took victory. A stage finish was abandoned in 2012 with bad weather causing a last minute change to a new finish at lower altitude. 

Next year's hilly route, after the 2015 edition featured just one summit finish, will finish with the traditional Barcelona street circuit that includes the Montjuic climb on March 27. Richie Porte will be the defending the champion but is yet to announce whether he will race the event with BMC in 2016.

Tejay van Garderen was the stage winner last time the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya finished on La Molina (TDW Sport)

Daniel Felipe Martinez signs for Southeast

Team Colombia rider Daniel Felipe Martinez has signed for Italian Pro-Continental squad Southeast for 2016 the team has confirmed. Team Colombia was forced to fold this month with the Federal Government unable to contribute the requisite funds but team manger Claudio Corti insists the team is only 'on hold'.

"He's a youngster with a great future, a climber that can be protagonist at Giro d'Italia despite his young age," general manager of Southeast Angelo Citracca said.

The 19-year-old rode a mix of WorldTour, 2.HC, 2.1 and U23 races throughout the 2015 season with eighth overall at the Tour of Utah a standout result of the year which landed him the best young rider's jersey. Martinez also impressed with 13th overall at the Tour de l'Avenir.

Anna Meares voted ISWIS Sports Woman of the Year award

Australian Track cyclist Anna Meares has been voted the ISWIS Sports Woman of the Year for the second year running while BMX rider Caroline Buchanan took home the fair fight award. Meares received the award as the judging panels selection was "Not just about sport, but also how she advocates women in sport," explained Women's Health magazine editor Felicity Harley.

Meares is currently with the Australian team in Cali, Colombia preparing for round one of the Track World Cup starting this weekend. The 32-year-old is looking for a 12th rainbow jersey at next year's London World Championships before eyeing off a third Olympic Gold medal on the Track in Rio.

Anna Meares was looking strong at the Australian Track Championships in Adelaide. (Mark Gunter - markgunter.com.au)

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