News shorts: Sagan plays bike soccer (video)

Bole returns to Nippo, Hagiwara stays at Wiggle Honda, Changes for Gent Six Day

Sagan plays bike soccer

Peter Sagan’s playfulness and propensity for not taking things too seriously has been one of the key factors behind his soaring popularity this year. The Slovak loves messing around, and is one of the most adept bike handlers in the peloton, which opens the door to a range of tricks and stunts.

Not long ago Cyclingnews brought you a gallery of Sagan’s visit to the Sportful headquarters, where his world champion’s jersey was being manufactured. There he played on-bike soccer, pulled wheelies and bunny-hops, and generally had a lot of fun alongside trials rider Vittorio Brumotti.

Now you can see Sagan and Brumotti getting up to those tricks on video. Watch as they try to use their front wheels to score past Paolo Bettini, their rear wheels to drag skateboards along the ground, and a host of other stunts.

Grega Bole signs for Nippo Vini Fantini

After a year away, Grega Bole will return to the Nippo - Vini Fantini team in 2016, having just signed a one-year contract. The Slovenian rode for the team in 2014 when it was in the Continental ranks, before spending 2015 with Polish outfit CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

“For me is like coming back into a family,” said Bole in a statement from the team. “It is a pleasure to ride here. The team works hard but always with a smile and with the enthusiasm created by a family environment.

“I want to thank the Sports Director Stefano Giuliani and the General Manager Francesco Pelosi because I know they trust me for 2016. A particular mention also to Rocco Menna, the founder of this team. I’m here to help the team and when possible to also try to win for myself.”

Bole earned four victories for the team in 2014, and in the orange of CCC this year won a stage of the Tour of Croatia as well as recording 15 top-10 finishes. He spent four years from 2010 at WorldTour level, with Lampre and Vacansoleil, winning the GP Ouest France – Plouay, a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, and finishing second at the 2010 Tour de Pologne.

Bole is the team’s third signing of the year, after Japanese champion Kazushige Kuboki and 25-year-old Italian Gianfranco Zilioli, who joined from Androni. The team will gather for its first training camp of the winter next Thursday in Zola Predosa, Italy.

Grega Bole and Pier Paolo De Negri make it one-two for Vini-Fantini-Nippo

Hagiwara stays loyal to Wiggle Honda

Mayuko Hagiwara has signed a two-year contract extension with Wiggle Honda, which will see her bring up five years at the team by the end of 2017.

The Japanese national road race champion has been with the team since its inception in 2013, and took her first professional victories in Europe this season, making history in July by becoming the first Japanese rider to win a stage win of the Giro Rosa.

“I really appreciate, and I’m really excited, that I could continue with Wiggle Honda in 2016,” said the 29-year-old in a statement. “I have been this team from the first year of the team, and that is so special. Next year, the big riders will come. I looking forward to working with them, and I will keep trying to work hard and find my position in the team. I will work hard for it.”

Hagiwara follows Elisa Longo Borghini, Giorgia Bronzini, Dani King, and Jolien D’hoore in re-signing for Wiggle Honda, who have also brought in new recruits in the form of Emma Johansson, Amy Pieters, and Lucy Garner.

“The re-signing of Mayuko is very special to me and to our team,” said the team's manager Rochelle Gilmore, also underlining the importance of Hagiwara in the light of Japanese car manufacturer Honda’s title sponsorship of the team.

"We’ve been working together now for three years and have achieved the impossible. Mayuko is an inspiration to so many people including myself. She is living proof that if you believe in The Dream, you can achieve The Dream.”

Two replacements, higher security for Gent Six Day

The Gent Six Day will get underway in the the Kuipke velodrome on Tuesday for its 75th edition, and the start list is full of talent, including five former winners of the race. Five time winner and Gent resident Iljo Keisse will pair up with former world champion Michael Mørkøv as the race favorites, but will face stern competition from defending champion Kenny de Ketele who pairs up with Gijs van Hoecke. Also top of the contenders is Jasper de Buyst, who last year paired with De Ketele to win the overall, but this year races with compatriot Otter Vergaerde.

Mørkøv's Madison world championship partner Alex Rasmussen will race with his compatriot Marc Hester.

There were two late substitutions to the start list: Swiss rider Claudio Imhof was due to race with Tristan Marguet, but hurt his knee last weekend and will not start. Dutch rider Michael Vingerling also withdrew. Marguet will instead race with Frenchman Benjamin Thomas. Melvin Van Zijl, who was originally set to race with Briton Christopher Lawless will pair with Yoeri Havik, and Lawless will race with Dutchman Roy Pieters.

Because of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, there will be additional security for the race. No backpacks, luggage or handbags will be allowed inside. There will be a bag check before the entrance, but organisers are urging spectators to leave their bags at home.

Elite Teams for Gent Six Day
1 Jasper de Buyst* – Otto Vergaerde (Bel)
2 Kenny de Ketele* – Gijs van Hoecke (Bel)
3 Yoeri Havik – Melvin van Zijl (Ned)
4 Iljo Keisse* (Bel) – Michael Mørkøv* (Den)
5 Alex Rasmussen* – Marc Hester (Den)
6 Andreas Müller (Aut) – Stijn Steels (Bel)
7 Marcel Kalz – Christian Grasmann (Ger)
8 Morgan Kneisky (Fra) – Moreno de Pauw (Bel)
9 Tristan Marguet – Benjamin Thomas (Fra)
10 Lindsay de Vylder (Bel) – David Muntaner (Spa)
11 Roy Peters (Ned) – Christopher Lawless (GBr)
12 Nick Stöpler (Ned) – Jesper Mørkøv (Den)
*Former champion

Kenny de Ketele edges Iljo Keisse in the sprint for the line

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