News shorts: Horner considering cyclo-cross campaign

Van Avermaet and Sagan look for stage wins in Oman, Aera Zero to Trofeo Laigueglia

Horner considering cyclo-cross campaign

Airgas-Safeway's Chris Horner told Cyclingnews last week that he'd like to compete in some cyclo-cross races next fall now that he is racing domestically in the US.

"I'm working it out with Marin Bikes right now to set up some 'cross stuff, and we'll see how much Airgas-Safeway as a whole, because I think there are a few kids who do it, too, wants to get involved," Horner said.

The 43-year-old Grand Tour winner lives in Bend, Oregon, which has become a hotspot for the fall-winter discipline, having hosted the national championships multiple times. Oregon is also home of the Cyclo-Cross Crusade series, which brings in 1,200-1,500 competitors each race for its amateur and pro events.

"I've got a new big RV rig, so if the kids want to come we've got a place to stay at the races," Horner said. "We've got a place to stay warm, get it going good and put on a show for the fans. I like doing 'cross."

Horner was unsure, however, whether he would be able to compete in the World Cup races that will take place in North America for the first time this year in Las Vegas and Montreal.

"I don't think they'll let me in that," he joked.

Chris Horner talks about the up coming season.

Van Avermaet aiming for stage win at Tour of Oman

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) continues his build-up to the Classics at the Tour of Oman this week. After finishing fifth overall at the Tour of Qatar, the Belgian is feeling confident and hopes that he can get his first win of the season ahead of his Classics campaign, which begins in less than two weeks’ time at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

"The most important thing is the GC with Tejay [van Garderen] and then for me I will try to go for a stage win," he told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 1 of the Tour of Oman. “It will be good to get a win before it really starts. Then it is just building up, making the most out of here and then I will be ready for the most important races starting from Het Nieuwsblad up to Amstel."

Van Avermaet has his eyes set on two stages in particular where the lumpy finishes could see the bunch reduced drastically. "I think that the second stage will be pretty good for me," he explained. "It is pretty hard at the end and short climbs. I think that it suits me best. Also stage 5, if I can survive for a sprint in a small group then this would be a stage that suits me."

Greg van Avermaet (BMC)

Tinkoff-Saxo chasing season's first stage win in Oman

Victory eluded Tinkoff-Saxo at the recent Tour of Qatar but the team is hoping to set the record straight at the Tour of Oman held from February 17 to 22. Peter Sagan, who did secure the young rider’s jersey in Qatar, placed seventh in the opening stage of Oman. Andrea Guardini (Astana) won the bunch sprint.

"We’re still chasing our first win of the early season and I feel that the guys are motivated," said director Sean Yates. "For Sagan, tomorrow is obviously a stage, where he has good chances, as we face two late and pretty steep climbs. A race like this is generally more tiring for a rider like him than the pure sprinter, as he has the abilities to chase the win in different types of terrain. So we need to support him well before stage four to Green Mountain, where [Rafal] Majka will get his chance."

Peter Sagan is ready to take the start.

Area Zero hopes for another podium result in Laigueglia

Italian Continental team Area Zero-C’Amico-Bottecchia are aiming to start off the 2015 season with a podium at the upcoming Trofeo Laigueglia on Thursday in Liguia, Italy. The team's Andrea Pasqualon was third last year, however, the event has upgraded to UCI 1.HC status and has attracted stronger teams and riders.

"For our team the Trofeo Laigueglia will be a significant test to measure up against high level teams and associations," said Sport Director Massimo Codol. "Besides, this race will provide an important showcase. We definitely know that we still have a lot of work to do; right now we are just starting out and we have a long season ahead of us. The Laigueglia is a difficult race; this year the route will be even a little bit harder compared to 2014, especially with a more selective final. Last year, with great pride and satisfaction, we managed to make it to the podium in this race."

The team will include Giorgio Bocchiola, Adriano Brogi, Gabriele Campello, Thomas Capocchi, Paolo Ciavatta, Silvio Giorni, Antonio Parrinello and Nicola Poletti.

Andrea Pasqualon won the sprint for third place

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