News shorts: Cult Energy to make definite announcement on future on Thursday

Possible British start for Vuelta, new finale for Omloop, FDJ recruits Konovalovas

Team Cult Energy to announce "definite news" concerning future of team on Thursday

Team Cult Energy has announced that it will hold a press conference in Aarhus, Denmark, on Thursday morning “with definite news concerning the future of the team.”

The Danish Pro Continental squad has struggled with financial difficulties this season and has already announced that it would cease operations on September 13 if it did not succeed in finding a new sponsor.

It was reported in July that Cult Energy had held brief talks with Bjarne Riis, who parted company with Tinkoff-Saxo earlier this year, as part of its bid to find a new sponsor.

The Team Cult Energy roster includes Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann, Gustav Erik Larsson and Russell Downing. Gerdemann secured the squad’s biggest win of the campaign when he landed the Tour of Luxembourg in June.

Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy)

Vuelta a España: British start and Canary Islands finish possible in coming years

Vuelta a España race director Javier Guillén has revealed that cities in Belgium, Great Britain and the Netherlands have all registered an interest in hosting the start of the race in the coming years, while he expressed his own desire to have an edition of the race finish on the Canary Islands.

“We’d love to finish some year on the Canary Islands. It would be our biggest ever logistical challenge,” Guillén told AS.

This year’s Vuelta will get underway with a team time trial from Puerto Banús to Marbella on Saturday, and the 2016 edition of the race will also start in Spain following Porto’s withdrawal. In two years’ time, the Vuelta is scheduled to start in Nîmes, France.

“We have requests for five Vueltas. They want us in Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands,” Guillén said. “We’ll start from Spain in 2016 since Porto has pulled out, and then in 2017 we’ll go to Nîmes.”

Guillén, who took over at the helm of the Vuelta in 2009, said that organising the race has become easier in the intervening period despite the ongoing effects of the economic crisis in Spanish. “We’ve compensated for the decline in local revenues with the sale of international television rights,” he explained. “We have 350 million viewers, the same level as the Giro, and on the roadsides we still have around 2.5 million spectators.”

Idyllic conditions for a training camp in Tenerife.

New finish for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 

Belgian one-day classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will have a new finish in 2016 with race organisers submitting the proposed changes to the City of Ghent council. Het Nieuwsblad reports Flanders Classics have been forced into changes due to Easter falling earlier in the year in 2016, precipitating a new finish.

The 2016 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be held on February 27, and with Ghent’s mid-Lent fair due to take place on the same weekend on Sint-Pietersplein, the traditional site of the race start and finish, alternative routes have been proposed.

One possibility is a start at Ghent’s Jan Hoetplein and a finish at the city’s Botanic Garden, while another option is to start and finish at the Citadelpark, south of the city centre.

Ian Stannard (Team Sky) beats Niki Terpstra (Etixx - Quick Step)

Konovalovas to FDJ in 2016, Loubet to Fortuneo Vital Concept

Ignatas Konovalovas will make his return to the WorldTour in 2016 with FDJ. The Lithuanian has been riding with the French Continental Team Marseille 13 KTM squad in 2015 having spent the three previous seasons with MTN-Qhubeka. In his first season with Cervélo TestTeam, Konovalovas won the final day time trial at the Giro d'Italia. The 29-year-old had enjoyed a return to the winners list this season with overall victory at the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour du Haut Var mountains classification. He is FDJ's fourth signing of the season so far, joining Odd Christian Eiking (Team Joker), Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling) and amateur Jérémy Maison (CC Etupes).

Marseille 13 KTM teammate Julien Loubet has also secured a move for 2016 and will sign for Fortuneo Vital Concept, currently known as Bretagne-Séché Environnement. 30-year-old Loubet won Paris–Camembert in April, finished runner-up at Classic Sud-Ardèche and claimed the mountains jersey at Étoile de Bessèges. Loubert rode for Ag2r-La Mondiale between 2005 and 2011 but stepped down to the amateur ranks until joining the Continental team for 2015.

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