News Shorts: Brailsford targets Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix

Lotto and BMC line-ups for Pari-Tours, Larsson to Cult Energy

Brailsford targets Tour de France and Paris Roubaix

Dave Brailsford has pinpointed the Tour de France and a win in the Classics as Team Sky’s two major objectives for 2015. The team has endured a difficult season by their standards, with no stage wins in the Grand Tours and Chris Froome their best GC rider with second at the Vuelta a Epsana. The British rider crashed out of the Tour de France in July but Brailsford, talking to the BBC, believes that the 2013 Tour winner can return to winning ways next season.

"We'd like to win the Tour, we'd like to win a classic," Brailsford told the BBC.

Bradley Wiggins, yet to announce his team for next season, is expected to re-sign with Team Sky, and Brailsford is ready to back the world time trial champion as he embarks on another crack at Paris-Roubaix.

"And we'd really like to get behind Bradley for a good crack at the Paris-Roubaix race," said the 50-year-old, who is convinced Froome is still improving and that Wiggins can finish his road cycling career with one more famous win.”

Lotto takes on Demare and Degenkolb in Paris-Tours

Despite lacking an out-and-out favourite for Sunday’s Paris-Tours, Lotto Belisol has talked up their options ahead of the French one-day race.

Arnaud Démare and John Degenkolb enter the race as the main favourites but the Belgian team have talked up their chances, pin-pointing a possible late attack.

Démare is clearly in shape, he proved that with his performances in the Eurométropole Tour. At the moment he’s the strongest of the bunch. He is, moreover, national French champion and rides in a French team. He definitely will want to show himself in his home country. FDJ will have to control the race if they want to lead him to the sprint,” said Bart Leysen.

“We might choose for a late attack. Our youngsters are in a good shape: Benoot, Meurisse and Naesen. They are attackers. In case of a bunch sprint Jens Debusschere and Jonas Van Genechten will be our guys.”

Lotto Belisol team for Paris-Tours: Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Pim Ligthart, Xandro Meurisse, Oliver Naesen, Jonas Van Genechten and Dennis Vanendert.

Greg Van Avermaet leads BMC Racing into Paris-Tours

The racing season might be winding down but there are still a few major races dotted in the cycling calendar. Paris-Tours marks one of the last significant one-day races and BMC will be looking to in-form Greg Van Avermaet.

The Belgian is a former winner of the race and has had a successful second half of the season with back-to-back wins in the GP de Wallonie and Kampenhout 2014, and fifth in the World Championships. Van Avermaet will rely on suppot from the likes of Steve Morabito and Luke Davison, although BMC will be sending just six riders to the race.

BMC Racing for Paris-Tours: Luke Davison. Sebastian Lander, Steve Morabito, Dylan Teuns, Greg Van Avermaet, Loïc Vliegen.

Niemiec renews with Lampre-Merida

The Lampre-Merida team announced on Friday that Przemyslaw Niemiec, winner of a stage in the Vuelta a Espana, has renewed his contract with the team for two years.

"We're very happy to go on counting on Niemiec for many reasons," team manager Brent Copeland said. "He has a combination of unselfishness, grit and professionalism, always showing up ready to race, and his talent for climbing makes Niemiec a rare athlete in the world of cycling."

"As a person, Przemyslaw has great qualities, able to instilling calm in the team and is an important rider both as a supporter for the team captains and as a benchmark for younger riders."

Larsson to Cult Energy

Swedish time trial specialist Gustav Larsson has signed a one-year contract with Cult Energy Pro Cycling team, the squad announced today.

Larsson comes to the new Pro Continental squad after two seasons with IAM Cycling. The winner of a stage in the Giro d’Italia and Paris-Nice, with eight Grand Tours in his palmares will bring experience to the Danish team.

"It’s fantastic to add yet another rider who will help set the bar high for the team’s ambitions," directeur sportif Michael Skelde said. "He fits well into the profile we are trying to create as a team."

Larsson's 2014 season was cut short due to a crash in training that left him with several broken vertebrae, and was not renewed by IAM Cycling.

“I am really motivated to get back racing as competitive as possible, because racing my bike is what I love to do! I am also happy to see some old teammates already in the team. I think 2015 might well bring some surprises, so keep an eye on us next year.” Larsson said.

Egon van Kessel to direct Wiggle Honda

The Wiggle Honda women's team announced the arrival of Dutchman Egon van Kessel as its head directeur sportif for 2015. The former pro cyclist is a former director for the Cervelo Test Team women's squad, leading them to number one in the world in 2010.

“Egon has had a very impressive history, working with Women in Cycling," team manager Rochelle Gilmore said.

“He has a reputation as a master tactician and bringing a group of talented individuals together, to create an extremely competitive team atmosphere."

Confirmed in the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for 2015 so far are Olympic Champion Dani King, Italian Time Trial Champion Elisa Longo Borghini, two-time Giro d’Italia winner Mara Abbott and rising British star Anna Christian.

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