News shorts: Team Sky go sailing and Brändle attempts hour record

Quintana to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen, Colombian Nationals moved and Greipel to miss TDU

Team Sky all at sea during Tour de France presentation
While the route for the 102nd Tour de France was being unveiled in Paris, 2013 champion Chris Froome and his teammates were sailing in Weymouth with the British Sailing squad as part of a Team Sky training camp.

During the presentation, Froome's take on the Tour was published on his personal website, suggesting that with a lack of time trial kilometres in next year’s Tour, he may instead skip the French grand tour and target overall success at the Giro d'Italia in May and depending on recovery, the Vuelta a España in August as well.

Also on the waters in Weymouth was team principal Dave Brailsford who enjoyed a short stint behind the helm of a boat.

Quintana to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen?
With cobbles set to feature in the Tour de France for the second year running, it appears overall favourite Nairo Quintana will test himself on the pave of Dwars door Vlaanderen just as Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde did this year. Although the amount of pave in 2015 is drastically shorter than this year, Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzué is keen to have his GC rider test himself in March on the cobbles and in the cross winds before La Grand Boucle.

"Automatically, he will therefore be adapted to the typical wind in the north,"Unzué told Het Nieuwsblad regarding Quintana lining up for a cobbled classic. "Perhaps that race is Dwars door Vlaanderen. It suited our road captain Alejandro Valverde well [this year]."

Brändle to attempt Hour Record
The hour record has come to life in 2014 with the likes of current time trial world champion Bradley Wiggins and previous world champions Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin all expressing their interest in tackling the event but without setting any specific dates.

Jens Voigt decided to sign off his career with a successful attempt at the hour record, setting a new world record of 51.115km at the Velodrome Suisse and his ride has seemingly sparked interest in the peloton with IAM Cycling's Matthias Brändle set to become the first rider to challenge the new record when he makes his own attempt on October 30.

Brändle will make his attempt at the UCI's World Cycling Centre velodrome in Aigle and is hopeful of riding around the 52km mark after recent testing with his team.

The 24-year-old is the current time trial champion of Austria and took two wins at the Tour of Britain in September

FDJ.fr confirms Morabito signing
Having ridden for BMC since 2010, 31-year-old Steve Morabito has decided on a switch of teams from next year and has inked a two-year deal with French team FDJ.fr. Morabito, who has ridden 11 grand tours, rode the Giro d'Italia this year in support of Cadel Evans and was also on the 2011 Tour de France team which was won by Evans.

The Swiss rider was forced to abandon the Vuelta last month due to a motorbike incident on stage 11 in which he was run over and suffered a deep hematoma over the head of the femur on his right hip, road rash and bruises to his ribs on his back from the incident.

Colombia moves national championships to February
In the hope of attracting its top stars to participate, the Colombian cycling federation has moved its national championships from April to February. The governing body has also asked the UCI to extend the Vuelta a Colombia from 11 days to 14 days to mark the 65th anniversary of the race. If successfully extended, the race will also include a rest day.

Moving the national championships to February is likely to result in riders such as Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran, Carlos Betancur and Julian Arredondo being able to compete before the start their European seasons. The championships will be held from 3-9 February with the hope that riders will prepare for the race by riding the Tour de San Luis in Argentina from 19-25 January.

New race schedule for Greipel and Roelandts in 2015
Having under performed in the cobbled classics this year, Lotto-Belisol who will be known as Lotto-Soudal from 2015, are hoping a new approach of less race days for its riders will pay dividends neext spring.

"We follow the general trend: a schedule with not too many race days," explained Energy Lab's Paul Van Den Bosch, who is involved in the planning for the Lotto-Soudal team, to Het Nieuwsblad.

"We will let the riders race less and work more efficiently over a longer period," Van Den Bosch said. "This year I refer to an example like Sep Vanmarcke who only had the Volta ao Algarve in his legs before the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad while Jürgen Roelandts and Andre Greipel had raced since January had achieved lots of success."

As a result of the new program, Greipel and Roelandts appear set to miss the Tour Down Under along with the Tours of Qatar and Oman.

Greipel is the leading stage winner at the Australian WorldTour race and has also twice won the event overall.

"We will create a schedule with no superfluous race days," Van Den Bosch added.

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