News shorts: Rohan Dennis to make Adelaide racing return over Australian summer

Steve Waugh charity ride, De Marchi targeting Giro d'Italia return in 2016, CharterMason-Giant signs Mike Cuming, Alessandro Vanotti meets the Pope

Rohan Dennis will take part in three rounds of the CIC Cervelo Super Series this Australian summer in Adelaide as a guest of Cycling South Australia. The BMC Racing rider has been given clearance from his WorldTour team to race the Victoria Park criteriums on November 26 and December 3 and the Norton Summit time trial on December 6.

"It's good on both parts — for myself and for Cycling SA," Dennis said according to local newspaper The Advertiser. "It's exactly where I started and came through so why not try to give something back. I'm there primarily for training and hopefully I can help out the race and the series."

Dennis last raced in his hometown this January when he won stage 3 of the Tour Down Under on his way to claiming overall victory. The 25-year-old is unsure whether he will be defending his title next year as he starts his preparation for the the 2016 season, explaining he has enjoyed a few weeks of the bike since ending his season at the Richmond World Championships.

"I spent a month on the sidelines after the worlds and you know you've had a good break when people aren't throwing food at you," said Dennis. "Coming out of the Tour de France I had a six-week block at altitude, one week of racing then worlds, " he added. "It was hard to keep weight on but I'm looking like a normal person again."

The third and final CIC Cervelo Super Series round that Dennis will race up involves a test against the clock up one of Adelaide's most well known climbs, Norton Summit, which makes its Tour Down Under debut in next year's race.

"I know it (Norton Summit) pretty well, I'll have a crack up there and try to take the top time but it depends on whether it's a block head wind," Dennis said.

The CIC Cervelo Super Series begins with a criterium at Victoria Park on November 5.

Rohan Dennis riding on the streets of Adelaide on the final stage of this year's Tour Down Under (Regallo)

Steve Waugh charity ride

Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh isn't following in the footsteps of Matt Prior and creating a cycling team as the former wicketkeeper has done with ONE Pro Cycling, instead he is embarking on a six-day 920km charity ride to be known as the 'Captain's Ride' with 60 other cyclists including Tour de France stage winner Simon Gerrans.

"But this is the toughest thing I've ever done," Steve Waugh said of the ride which starts Sunday November 1 with the aim of raising money for children and young adults suffering from rare diseases. "With cricket, I knew what I was doing, but this is completely out of my comfort zone, I honestly don't know whether I will finish this," Waugh says.

Waugh, who played 168 tests for Australia scoring 10,927 runs and 32 centuries, is unsure whether he will make the full distance to Byron Bay. The 50-year-old explained that he asked the event organisers behind the 'Captain's ride' to ensure the route they took would emulate the difficulties faced by children and young adults with rare diseases.

"I'll line up Sunday morning and hope I'll make it to the end, but I'm still not 100 per cent sure," he said. "I know it's a tough ride, the group who are organising it on tour have said this is the hardest ride they've ever designed.

"It mentally challenges me in the same way as when I played cricket for Australia, except I knew what I was doing when I was playing cricket. This is more of a mental challenge. Because it's just you on the bike, there's a lot of times I feel as if I have to stop now, it's too hard, I'm going to pull off, but you find a way to get through it.

"I'm trying to use the motivation of all our kids, who show amazing strength and character with everything they do every day, and I'm thinking I can't pull out, I can't take a short cut, the kids wouldn't do that so I can't do it."

Waugh only took up cycling four months ago but with the Steve Waugh Foundation celebrating its tenth anniversary he is looking to raise more than $600,000 to mark the occasion. The other 59 cyclists on the ride alongside Waugh includes former GP motorcycle road racing World Champion Mick Doohan, triathleteJohn Maclean, Dr Charlie Teo and the aforementioned Orica-GreenEdge pro Simon Gerrans.

Alessandro de Marchi aiming to make Giro d'Italia return in 2016

Alessandro De Marchi's early season was largely one to forget with an Achilles injury severely hampering the Italian's ability to not only race his bike, but ride without pain. The Italian's first season with BMC looked like being a write off but De Marchi displayed great mental fortitude at the Vuelta Espana as he took a convincing victory on stage 14 in the mist of Fuente del Chivo.

"It was the most beautiful and important win of my career," De Marchi told Tuttobiciweb. "It was a nice surprise because I did not expect to be so strong with so few racing days in my legs. I did not expect to win immediately so it was great satisfaction, even if I knew I had done the most in a short time to be ready for the last Grand Tour of the season. I won with my head more than with my legs."

De Marchi told the Italian magazine that after his tough season he has formulated his goals and ambitions for the 2016 season with a return to the Giro d'Italia high on his list of priorities.

"I hope that the main features of my 2016 season will be the Giro, the Tour and the Olympics. The Giro returns to Friuli, with a beautiful stage, the thirteenth from Palmanova to Cividale which passes close to home, and it looks tough as I like. I only did the Giro only in my first year at the top level, in 2011 with Androni," De Marchi said. 

"During the time at Cannondale, "the world's hardest race in the most beautiful country in the world" passed right in front of my house while I was in Norway to compete. Enzo Cainero, head of the stages in Friuli, has forgiven me just because the Tour went well. I was saved because I won the red number. La Grande Boucle is indescribable, you cannot compare it to anything but after years of doing the Tour and Vuelta I feel the desire to return to do the Giro. I'd like to enjoy the home stage and to live this experience. I would go crazy with joy to do the Giro d'Italia among my people."

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) wins stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Mike Cummings signs on for CharterMason-Giant

Australian Continental team CharterMason-Giant have announced its first signing for the 2016 season with Mike Cuming joining the squad from JLT-Condor. The 24-year-old was on the British team's books from 2012 with his biggest win the 2013 Tour de Korea title and is looking to forward to the new challenge.

"I'm really looking forward to racing in a different environment and with some new faces for 2016, from what I've seen CharterMason Giant have a great track record and I think I will enjoy every second with them next year," Cuming said. "It all came about when I decided I needed a change after racing in the UK and Europe. Having spent time in Australia over the last few (European) winters I've made some great friends and contacts and settled in nicely! My girlfriend lives in Bendigo so I thought I would take this opportunity to base myself over here for a year... at least."

Cuming started his season racing the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, which included a stage finish in Bendigo, for the second straight year and added that he is looking forward to experiencing more racing down under with the Melbourne-based team.

"I haven't won a decent race since a stage in Korea in 2014 so to get that winning feeling back is my main aim. I'm only 24 so I think I've got a few decent years left in me yet. I’m really looking forward to getting involved in some Australian racing," he said.

 Alessandro Vanotti visits the pope after 700km ride

Astana's Italian rider Alessandro Vanotti finished his season off at Il Lombardia, helping teammate Vincenzo Nibali take the victory. While many of the starters at the Italian monument went on to race the Abu Dhabi Tour or jetted off on holidays, Vanotti decided on embarking on a 700km odyssey to visit the pope in Rome as part of the 'Pedala, pedala...con Alessandro Vanotti', a ride initiated by Roncola pastor Don Andrea Pedretti.

"I quickly joined the initiative of Don Andrea because I believe in the work of the association and the utility of his project. The desire to ride to Rome has always been with me for 18 years and I wanted to meet the Pope, and even more so now. Pope Francisco excites me a lot, and this has increased my desire to go to the capital," 35-year-old Vanotti old Ecco di Bergamo.

Upon meeting the Pope, Vanotti gave his holiness an Astana jersey signed by himself and the 10 riders who accompanied him along the ride.

Alessandro Vanotti with his signed Astana jersey for the Pope (Twitter)

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