News shorts: Bouhanni crashes hard in Grenoble, Antwerp wants 2020 Grand Depart

New signing and contract extensions at Lotto-Belisol and Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Bouhanni crashes hard during Grenoble 3-Day

French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni is known to enjoy mixing his racing, often switching from road racing to cross and track racing, while also playing football and including boxing in his training routine.

However he may have regretted agreeing to ride on the boards in the Trois Jours de Grenoble, after crashing twice on the opening night according to local newspaper Le Dauphine. Bouhanni hurt his knee and collarbone in the crashes and was taken to hospital for x-rays. Fortunately nothing was broken and he was allowed to spend the night in his hotel.

After several years at FDJ.fr, Bouhanni will ride for Cofidis in 2015.

Antwerp wants 2020 Tour de France Grand Départ

The announcement of the 2015 Tour de France route confirmed Antwerp as the start city of stage three but the Belgian city wants more. 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Antwerp Olympic Games and the city wants to celebrate by hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour with plans already in place to do so. Belgium last hosted the Grand Départ in 2012 in Liège.

"To celebrate this anniversary, we want the 2020 Grand Départ from the Tour organization," said Ludo Van Campenhout. "We have therefore already budgeted, because we realise that this will cost a lot of money. 'Antwerp breathes cycling,'"

"There is the Scheldeprijs race, the World Ports Classic, the Schaal Sels. You name it. We love this sport and we have worked hard to achieve things. The start of a stage here is an honour and we will welcome the Tour in 2015."

The Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme made a visit to Belgium on Thursday to inspect the race's passage through the area and spoke of his delight to visit the cycling rich country.

"Cities are happy when they received the Tour, is it true, and I am honoured that we can do this and be a guest in such a beautiful city. "You feel that cycling is alive here," Prudhomme said.

"We as an organization are always looking ahead. We want the globalisation of cycling. At the same time, we realise that we must visit countries where cycling was born and raised, we must continue to honour them. With a start in Antwerp and Seraing, and an arrival in Huy — we remain faithful to our cycling history. The passion for cycling lives here. I am convinced that the start in Antwerp will be welcomed by the public."

Ligthart, Dennis Vanendert and Tosh Van Der Sande extend with Lotto-Belisol

Lotto-Belisol have secured the services of Pim Ligthart for two more years while Tosh Van der Sande and Dennis Vanendert have had their contracts extended for one more season.

Ligthart joined the Belgian team at the end of 2013 and while he was unable to record a win, the 26-year-old has done enough to prove himself to the team this season.

“I feel at home here in the team," Ligthart said. It’s the first time I’m racing for a Belgian team, but there’s not much difference. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a victory this season. I did win the KOM jersey in Paris-Nice. During the season I did lots of work for the team and I showed myself many times, for example with my breakaways in the Vuelta. It’s nice that I have a contract for the next two years, that gives me peace of mind. I’ll aim for a victory in 2015.”

2015 will be the fourth season at the WorldTour team for both Vanendert and Van der Sande and the two young talents are looking to land a win.

"Next year I’m coming to an age that I want to take a next step in my career by setting results myself, I feel ready for that. In tougher stage races I’d like to show myself and pick out some stages," Vanendert said.

"My brother Jelle can win one of the Ardennes classics, it would be great if I could help him with that.”

Van der Sande earned his place after an aggressive end of season race campaign.

“There are several reasons why I wanted to stay with the team. I’ve been satisfied here for the past three years. I can often have a go of my own and it’s a fun group," Van der Sande explained. "I have high ambitions for next season and want to take that first pro win. The last weeks of this season I came close a few times and that gives me confidence.”

Wanty-Groupe Gobert confirm new riders and extend with two others

Simone Antonini and Boris Dron have become the two latest riders to join the Pro-Continental team Wanty-Groupe Gobert, while James Vanlandschoot and Danilo Napolitano will continue with the team in 2015.

For 23-year-old Antonini, the Belgian team will allow him to continue his growth as a cyclist.

“I think this team is a great place for me to develop. It is one of the best Pro-Continental teams. As a rider I am an all-rounder. I can climb but also finished 12th at the Italian national time trial championships,” Antonini explained.

Sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren is looking forward to working with both riders and in Dron he sees a rider of potential who can blossom within the team.

“Dron is a rider who rides well from the beginning to the end of a season,” Van Der Schueren said “He is attacking a lot, is motivated and has plenty of room for improvement too.”

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