News shorts: World champions headline Aviva Women's Tour

Podium outrage in Belgium, Caja Rural end successful North American campaign

World champions to Aviva Women's Tour

Two world champions are on the provisional start list for the second edition of the Aviva Women's Tour in Britain - time trial champion Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) and road race winner Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Liv), but the latter's participation is still unsure as she has battled leg pain since the end of May.

Prevot hasn't raced since dropping out of the Albstadt mountain bike World Cup last month, and hoped to be back in time for the French championships later this month. The final start list will be published after tomorrow's teams presentation.

Home favourite Lizzie Armitstead will head up a powerful Boels Dolmans squad. The British rider, fresh off a World Cup victory in Philadelphia will be joined by US champion Megan Guarnier.

Two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini will lead the Wiggle Honda squad, with Elisa Longo Borghini, Belgian champion Jolien D'hoore fresh off a win in the Flanders Diamond Tour, and Olympic gold medalist Dani King.

"I can't wait for the Aviva Women's Tour," King said. "I rode it last year and it was just incredible. The amount of support we had on the side of the roads was unbelievable and the fact every stage is televised is so important for women's cycling."

King's fellow team pursuiters Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell will also take part with Matrix Fitness and Pearl Izumi Sports Tours, respectively.

Liv-Plantur comes with former junior world champion Lucy Garner at the helm, while UnitedHealthcare comes with Hannah Barnes, while Swede Emma Johansson leads the Orica-AIS team.

The Aviva Women's Tour begins on Wednesday with a 112km stage in Suffolk, and runs through Sunday. The Provisional start list is here.

Elizabeth Armitstead celebrates her win at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic women's World Cup.

Lotto Cycling Cup embroiled in podium-girl controversy

Another dose of podium girl-related controversy was dished up on Sunday as bikini-clad models graced the ceremony for the winners of the Flanders Diamond Tour.

The one-day Belgian women’s race is the penultimate event in the Lotto Cycling Cup series, whose organisers have apologised but claimed it was the responsibility of the local race itself. 

"We as @LottoCyclingCup want to apologize for the outrageous show o/t LOCAL organisation, we find it also inappropriate," read a statement via the event’s Twitter page.

"We as @LottoCyclingCup are not responsible for this show. And let us look to the nice victory of @JolienDhoore @WiggleHonda."

Question marks have lingered for some time whether podium models are an appropriate feature in a sport looking to move towards gender equality. Peter Sagan hit the headlines by pinching the backside of hostess Maja Leye at the Tour of Flanders in 2013, an incident subsequently exploited for promotional purposes by the organisers of E3 Harelbeke.

Caja Rural enjoy successful trip to North America

Pello Bilbao won the general classification of the Tour de Beauce in Canada to cap a fruitful period in North America for Caja Rural.

Carlos Barbero won the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic on June 8 before the Spanish Professional Continental team took the the Tour de Beauce by storm, winning two stages through Carlos Barbero and one with Amets Txurruka. On the final day, Bilbao snatched the overall lead with a daring move to clinch his first stage race win as a professional.

"It was very special, I’ve never been so close to having an opportunity to win a general classification and finally, thanks to the entire team’s daily efforts, it went well," said Bilbao. "We have tried to win seconds every day, and that goes for Amets, Eduard and myself. I saw the opportunity from afar and we gave it our all".

It marks Caja Rural’s 12th victory of what is an increasingly impressive campaign. Bilbao won a mountain stage at the Tour of Turkey in May, where Luis Mas also won the final stage with a daring attack.

Josemi Fernández, the team director, said: "Winning stages is always very tough, but to win a general classification is so much tougher, which makes it much more special."

Spain's Carlos Barbero Cuesta wins stage 1 at Tour de Beauce followed by Caja Rural-Seguros RG teammate Eduard Prades.

Vos and Meares elected to UCI Athletes Commission

Marianne Vos and Anna Meares are among the 13 new members of the UCI Athletes Commission, whose composition has been announced by the UCI. 

The Commission was overhauled in March and the new members have been directly elected by their peers for the first time, a move UCI President Brian Cookson hopes will improve transparency. In the four Olympic disciplines, along with para-cycling, there is one male and one female representative to ensure gender equality. 

The Commission aims to improve training and competition conditions for athletes along with guaranteeing a channel of communication between riders and cycling administration.

The new members, who represent riders across the UCI’s eight disciplines, cover four continents and boast a collective 40 rainbow jerseys. The line-up, in place until 2017, is as follows:

Road: Bobbie Traskel and Iris Slappendel
Mountain Bike: Greg Minnaar and Georgia Gould
BMX: Donny Robinson and Mariana Pajon
Track: Kevin Sireau and Anna Meares
Para-cycling: Tobias Frankhauser and Greta Neimanas
Cyclo-cross: Marianne Vos
Trials: Kenny Belaey
Indoor cycling: Manuel Kopp

"I am very proud of this new step which signifies a significant move forward in the representation of the athletes," said Cookson. "The athletes are the heart of our sport, and it was necessary to give them the place they deserve. This reinvigorated Athletes Commission corresponds with my concept of modern governance founded on dialogue and cooperation between the UCI and cycling’s main players."

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