News shorts: Cummings pleased with Tirreno result

US Pro nationals courses, WADA anti-doping research funded

MTN-Qhubeka's Stephen Cummings said he was pleased with his overall result at Tirreno-Adriatico and credited the environment in his new team for this success so far this year.

Cummings finished sixth overall in the seven-day Italian race, which he capped off with an eighth-place finish in Tuesday's final time trial. He started Tirreno with an eighth-place finish in the prologue time trial and was 11th on the decisive stage to the ski station at Terminillo.

"It's great," Cummngs told Cyclingnews as he was cooling down on his trainer after the final time trial. “I think the level here is very high, super high with some of the best climbers in the world. Terminillo is a real, true climb. So it's good. I'm in good shape.

"There are areas I can improve still. I haven't finished the work on the TT bike, so I still have some improvements to make. I still feel I can be a bit lighter, so hopefully I can progress as the season goes on and carry on in this way."

This season is Cummings' first with MTN-Qhubeka after spending three seasons with BMC and two seasons before that with Team Sky. He said the change to the South African Pro Continental team, which is sponsored by a charity that supplies bikes to people in rural African villages, has been rejuvenating.

"I was touched a bit by the Qhubeka charity when we went to Africa," he said. "It makes you think about how lucky we are being European. And my daughter was born, so this is like a good moment. I felt good mentally, so I suppose that gave me an extra bit."

Cummings also credited the freedom MTN-Qhubeka has given him to ride for results and put together a productive calendar. The 33-year-old Brit began the season with a handful of Spanish races, starting with a season-opening win at Trofeo Andratx-Mirador d'Es Colomer of the Mallorca Challenge and concluding with the Vuelta a Andalucia last month.

"I've been at home, which suits me," he said. "I'm more relaxed and I've got a good rhythm and a good record. When they leave me at home I always come out well. I'm just happy that they gave me the choice and the release to do that, really."

Cummings said the team, which received an invitation to the Tour de France this year, has been coming along well, especially considering the number of new riders it added this year.

"When you look at the palmares of some of the riders, it's a pretty fantastic group that we've got together," he said. “I think people were questioning if we would all integrate together, but the atmosphere is one of the best I've had on the bus anywhere.

"We've got a great program, and you see the team growing really fast. The morale is really good. It's like a new adventure you're going on and everything is a bonus. We didn't win a stage [at Tirreno-Adriatico], but the [fifth on stage 2] was already good, and the way the boys executed the stage, and the second [on stage 6] was great."

The next test for Cummings' early form will come at San Remo on Sunday, followed by Coppi e Bartali. 

Courses mostly unchanged for USA Pro road championships

USA Cycling announced the courses for its Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships, which will take place May 23 and 25th in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with only minor changes from last year's men and women's time trial and road race courses.

The time trials will once gain be held at sponsor Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, and use two laps of the same out-and-back 9.5 mile course as last year. The road races once again include Lookout Mountain and the Kent Street climb which proved decisive last year. The only change to the route is the path south from downtown: the racers will leave and return on Market Street rather than Broad Street on the way out to, and back from Lookout Mountain.

The 2015 USA Pro national championships road race course

WADA announces anti-doping research fund

One of the recommendations of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission was to put more money into anti-doping research. Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency showed it was ahead of the commission by announcing an almost $13 million fund to help fight doping.

“WADA is very pleased with the financial commitments that this partnership has generated for the fight against doping in sport”, said Sir Craig Reedie, President, WADA. “The fund allocated by the IOC has received the commitment of governments of the world to contribute a total of USD 6,452,296,” Reedie continued. “The funds will provide a tremendous boost to WADA in their efforts to carry out innovative, anti-doping research focussed on protecting the clean athlete.”

So far the commitments total $6,452,296 have been made by China, France, Ivory Coast, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and Sweden; and, payments of $1,787,975 million have been received. The IOC will match those funds. 

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