News shorts: Van den Broeck to Katusha, Bernaudeau confident team will continue

D'hoore to skip GP Plouay, scholarships for DS course, perils of celebrating too early

Van den Broeck set to sign for Katusha

Having struggled to find a team for 2016 and beyond, Jurgen Van den Broeck is close to agreeing terms for a deal with Katusha for next season. Cyclingnews spoke to the team on Thursday morning and they confirmed that they are in talks with the Belgian but pen had not been put to paper.

Van den Broeck has been Lotto-Soudal's general classification rider since Cadel Evans left the team after 2009 to ride for BMC and has recorded three top-eight grand tour finishes in that time. The 32-year-old has struggled to find his best grand tour form since the 2012 Tour de France, where he finished fourth overall, with 12th place at this year's Giro d'Italia his best result in a three-week race since.

Katusha have signed Michael Mørkøv from Tinkoff-Saxo and Rein Taaramäe from Astana so far in the transfer window, with Yuri Trofimov leaving for Tinkoff-Saxo. 

Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal)

Bernaudeau: There will be a team next season

Clouds of doubt have loomed over the Europcar team in recent months but manager Jean-René Bernaudeau is now confident that the team will continue next year.

The French hire car company announced earlier this year that it would withdraw its sponsorship at the end of 2015, leaving Bernaudeau with a frantic search for investment to save the team, which he’s managed since its inception as Bonjour in 2000.

The Frenchman asked his riders to give him until the 15th August to find a new sponsor before they started looking to secure contracts elsewhere and, although that deadline has passed, it seems he has been successful.

“I can’t officially announce anything but I am satisfied. There will be a team next season,” Bernaudeau told French newspaper La Nouvelle République at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.

Recent rumours have suggested that Bernaudeau travelled to Britain to meet with a potential sponsor, while others have linked him with French bakery company Sicard. Cyril Gautier has already left the team to join Ag2r-La Mondiale and Pierre Rolland is set to follow him out of the door. With a decent sponsor Bernaudeau will be hopeful of keeping hold of promising sprinter Brian Coquard and would also welcome Sylvain Chavanel - who started his career at Bonjour - on board.

Bryan Coquard (Europcar) is one of the French hopes for a stage win

D’hoore won’t defend World Cup lead

Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-Honda) has decided not to defend her World Cup lead at the final round at the GP de Plouay this weekend. D’hoore currently leads the standings by just six points over Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) after her recent victory at the last round in Vårgårda. The Belgian champion told hnl.be that she is instead focusing on a bid at the World Championships instead.

"I have taken a decision now," she said. "I will not start on Saturday. The goal was to have a solid block of training this week with a view to the World Championships next month. If I need to travel to Plouay, I quickly lose three days and also I find a course there that is for me. So I prefer to train a few days and next Tuesday I will start in the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, a major stage race, where I want to perform.”

Elisa Longo Borghini, who recently won the overall classification at the Route de France, will be the team’s main hope. Longo Borghini is fourth in the standings at the moment and 71 points behind her teammate with 120 points available for the victor on Saturday.

"They are going to try to win it and, with a bit of luck, they can still capture the leader's jersey.”

Jolien d'Hoore wins

UCI to offer scholarships to DS course

Cycling’s governing body the UCI will award a limited number of scholarships to women for their next directeur sportif (DS) course in November. In a press release from the UCI, they state that of the 257 people that have taken part in the course the majority have been men. The hope is to encourage more women to apply to the course and take on the role.

The exam at the end of the course is compulsory for anyone wishing to become a DS in the top two tiers of racing on the men’s side, the WorldTour and Pro Continental. It is not yet the case for the Continental and Women’s teams. At present though, the women’s peloton is still dominated by male DSs, says UCI Women’s Cycling Coordinator Andrea Marcellini.

“When you call a Sport Directors’ meeting at a women’s event, you still see a majority of men in that meeting,” Marcellini said in the press release. “We want to provide women with the opportunity to stay in their sport on retiring from competition.”

UnitedHealthcare are one of the few men’s squads to employ a female DS with former rider Rachel Heal although she spends most of her time working as the lead DS for the women's team.

The course will take place from November 10 to 17.

Rachel Heal is back for another year as the womens team director

Close but no cigar for Daiva Tuslaite at Trophée d’Or

The perils of the premature celebration. Lithuanian champion Daiva Tuslaite (Inpa Sottoli Giusfredi) must have thought she was on for her one of the biggest wins of her career as she sprinted for the line on stage 4 of the Trophée d’Or. Tuslaite throws her hands in the air as she crests the final climb in Villequiers but the line is still some 15 metres away. A savvy Anisha Vekemans (Lotto-Soudal Ladies) didn’t miss a beat and sprinted by the celebrating Lithuanian to take the win.

Watch the moment below in this fan-captured video. Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel.

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