News shorts: Paris-Nice mountain finish revealed, fake Madiot Twitter account

Health.com.au apply for Continental licence, Mexican cyclist arrested at Spanish airport with EPO

First mountain finish of 2015 Paris-Nice revealed

The first details of the 2015 Paris-Nice route have emerged with French newspaper L'Équipe reporting that a key mountain stage will finish on the Croix de Chaubouret in the Massif Pilat, near Saint-Étienne.

The climb has been used eight times during the Tour de France. Depending on which side of the climb is used, the Paris-Nice peloton faces 13.6km or 19km of climbing. The gradients are not steep, at 4.8% or 3.8% respectively but several sections of the climb touch 9%.

The 2015 edition of Paris-Nice will take place from the 8-15 of March. The full Paris-Nice race route will be unveiled on Versailles on February 3. Carlos Bentacur (AG2R La Mondiale) won the race in 2014.

Fake Twitter account for Marc Madiot

FDJ's team manager Marc Madiot is not one for social media, so when a Twitter account was opened in his name, it came as a surprise.

"I have never had a Twitter account or even Facebook and I do not want to have one," Madiot told L'Equipe in response to the news that the account has attracted almost 500 followers. "It's not really nice to discover this kind of thing."

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme also had a fake Twitter account set up in his name this year.

Mexican cyclist arrested at Spanish airport with EPO, HGH

Spanish customs agents arrested Mexican cyclist Jose Alfredo Aguirre in April at the Alicante airport with EPO and human growth hormone in his carry-on baggage, according to a report Monday in the Spanish sports daily AS.

The website reported that the 20-year-old athlete, who is part of the Spanish Mutua Levante elite U23 team, intended to smuggle the prohibited substances from Mexico to Spain. Aguirre apparently carried the contraband among his personal belongings at the request of José Maldonado for team director José Vicente Peidro, who was not available for comment, according to the report.

Aguirre told AS that he believed he was doing Maldonado a favor and did not know that he was carrying any prohibited substances.

"I did not know I was involved in a mess," he said. "I threw the bag in the suitcase without covering it. It was mixed with clothing. I didn't know I was doing anything forbidden, just a favour. However, I assume the consequences of my behaviour and any sanctions assigned to me because of this stupidity."

Although no sanctions have yet been handed down in the case, the UCI informed the Mexican Cyclingn Federation of what happened on October 31, and an investigation is currently underway.

"(The Mexican federation) has already met with Aguirre to determine if he will be punished on the basis of different factors and also to try and determine who assisted him apart from Maldonado, where they got the substances and what, if any, is the team's involvement," according to the report.

Aguirre, from Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, was hired by the Alicante-based Mutua Levante team in 2013. Although he was arrested in April, he participated in several competitions, including on the track at the Pan American games in August and September.

Australian NRS team health.com.au-search2retain applying for Continental license

The Melbourne-based health.com.au-search2retain team have applied to race under a UCI Continental license in 2015 as it seeks invitations to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour along with select races in Asia.

"We felt we had to apply for the higher level licence for 2015 because so many of our roster have progressed to such a high standard," team principal and managing director Peter Shandon said. "With so many wins from so many of our riders, they deserve the opportunity to race the UCI races in Australia and in Asia." 

The team won the overall classification at both the National Capital Tour and the Tour of Tasmania with Patrick Bevin while Ollie Kent-Sparks won the one-day Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic.

"For the past few years Mark Isaacs (team manager) and I have wanted to progress to Continental level but needed to ensure that it would be a great experience for the team, the riders and our sponsors - we wanted to do it for the right reasons," Shandon added. "When we sat down for our end of year review we realised that we were already competing and winning against teams like Avanti Racing and Team Budget Forklifts, and if their teams can win in the bigger UCI races then we can definitely be competitive."

"In some ways we didn't have a choice; the quality of our riders has made this a natural progression and our technical sponsors such as SRAM, Wilier, Adidas and De Grandi offered support for an increased budget and race program if we took this next step."

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