News Shorts: Pinot will start season at Grand Prix la Marseillaise

Sea Otter turns 25, Impey nominated for African Cyclist of the Year, Cunego heads to Vini Fantini camp

Pinot will start season at Grand Prix la Marseillaise

Thibaut Pinot, the 24-year-old FDJ rider who was third this year the Tour de France, will start his 2015 season at the Grand Prix la Marseillaise, Etoile de Bessèges and the Tour of Oman, according to a recent report in L'Equipe.

Pinot will once again return to the Volta Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country as part of his early season preparation, with his eye toward the Tour de France in July. He'll also compete for the first time in the Ardennes at La Flèche Wallonne, which will provide an opportunity to familiarize himself with the Mur de Huy climb that will be featured on stage 3 of the Tour.

Sea Otter will celebrate 25th year in April

The Sea Otter Classic will celebrate its 25th year when the event takes place next April in California. Billed as the world's largest bicycle festival, Sea Otter draws nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. The four-day event started in 1991 with a handful of mountain bike events. It added road races in 1993 at the Laguna Seca Raceway. There are now 10 cycling events, including mountain bike cross country and enduro racing, among others, along with a road race, criterium and time trial.

The festival operated under the name Laguna Seca Challenge for the first two years, but organizers changed the name to the Sea Otter Classic in 1993. The 25th Annual Sea Otter Classic is April 16-19, 2015 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California.

Impey nominated for African Cyclist of the Year

There are 15 nominees for the upcoming 2014 African Cyclist of the Year Award. The winner will be announced before December 19. Among the nominated riders is Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), who won the time trial at the South African National Championships at the start of the season but was suspended in June from racing with his Orica-GreenEdge team after testing positive for Probenecid from a test following the championships in February. He returned to racing in September at the Tour of Albert, which he won, after successfully showing that he did not intentionally take the substance.

Europcar teammates Natneal Berhane, who won the Eritrea time trial championships, and Dan Craven are also nominated for the award along with MTN-Qhubeka teammates Frekalsi Debesay, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg and Louis Meintjes, who is the South African road race champion. Other nominees include Adil Barbari (Velo Club Sovac), Issiaka Cisse, Mekseb Debesay (Bike Aid-Ride for Help), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Azzedine Lagab (Groupement Sportif des Petrolier Algerie), Mouhssine Lahsaini (Velo Club Sovac), Salaheddine Mraouni, Valens Ndayisenga and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana.

Nippo-Vini Fantini unite at training camp in Ortona

Nippo-Vini Fantini will meet at a training camp held from December 12 to 21 in Ortona in the Province of Chieti, Italy. Attending the camp is the team's newcomer Damiano Cunego, who has signed a contract to race with the Italian Professional Continental outfit for the next two seasons, after spending thirteen seasons at Lampre (previously Saeco).

The 2015 roster also includes Giacomo Berlato, Alessandro Bisolti, Daniele Colli, Pier Paolo De Negri, Iuri Filosi, Eduard Michael Grosu, Manabu Ishibashi, Shiki Kuroeda, Alessandro Malaguti, Nicolas Marini, Antonio Nibali, Mattia Pozzo, Riccardo Stacchiotti, Antonio Viola and Genki Yamamoto.
 

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