Defending champion Nibali to skip Il Lombardia
The Tour of Lombardy will be without its reigning champion this year as Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Vincenzo Nibali has chosen to skip the autumn Monument.
The Italian has been recovering from a broken collarbone sustained on the final descent of the Olympic Games road race in Rio in August, but he is back on the bike and ready to race again – just with a different end-of-season program.
According to Gazzetta, Giro d’Italia champion Nibali will make his return at the Tre Valli Varesine on September 27, but that will be his sole involvement in the series late-season Italian one-day races.
He will then head to the Tour of Almaty, an important home race in the eyes of his Kazakhstani Astana team, before closing his campaign at the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Nibali will ride for the Bahrain-Merida team next year, where his first race is likely to be the Tour de San Luis in January.
Quintana’s home region Boyaca aiming to host 2020 Worlds
Nairo Quintana joined representatives of the Colombian Cycling Federation (FCC) this week to launch a bid for the region of Boyaca to host the 2020 Road World Championships.
Quintana comes from a Boyacan village that lies 3000 metres above sea level, and has an intimate knowledge of the area as he regularly returns home to train in between racing blocks in Europe. If the bid is successful, the local knowledge, home support, high altitude, and what would surely be a mountainous course, could combine to make Quintana, who will be 30 when the event takes place, the favourite.
“We met with the region’s authorities in order to get the ball rolling and be able to formally apply to host the 2020 Worlds, and we’re not going to give up on this aspiration of Colombia and Boyaca," FCC director general Jorge Ovidio González said in a statement.
A successful bid would make it the second time Colombia – and Boyaca – have hosted the Worlds after Duitama 1995.
This year’s World Championships will take place on a flat course in Qatar next month, while the locations of the subsequent two have been confirmed as Bergen (Norway) and Innsbruck (Austria). Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom, is in the driving seat to land the 2019 Worlds.
LNC press on with legal action over UCI's new WorldTour calendar
The Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme (LNC), the group that works to organise and protect professional cycling in France, confirmed it has commenced legal action as it looks to challenge the UCI over the new WorldTour calendar.
The LNC issued a statement earlier this month in which it said it had reached out to the governing body over its concerns, which centre on the threat to racing on French soil posed by the expanded calendar, but had not received any response. The UCI then did respond some days later, saying: "We don't think the inclusion of these [new] races in the WorldTour calendar will have the consequence you envisage."
The LNC, headed by FDJ boss Marc Madiot, held a board meeting on September 20 and discussed a formal challenge to the new calendar. "With unanimity, a mandate was given to Ellipse Lawyers to ask the UCI to communicate the elements that allowed for the elaboration of the 2017 UCI WorldTour calendar," read a statement.
The group's original statement stated their willingness to take the matter all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if necessary.
Hermans extends with BMC
Ben Hermans has put pen to paper on a contract extension with BMC Racing, taking his stay with the American-registered WorldTour team into a fourth season.
The Belgian turned pro with Topsport and spent four seasons at RadioShack before joining BMC, where his highlight was winning De Brabantse Pijl last year. This year his best result so far came at the Vuelta a Burgos, where he was second overall, and he also earned praise for the team for his work at the Vuelta a España, where he finished 14th overall having been working for Samuel Sanchez.
“There’s a lot more to come from Ben. He’s demonstrated his ability to support leaders and support the team, but he’s also capable of winning on his own which is a great combination,” said BMC manager Jim Ochowicz.
Hermans himself, now 30, also emphasised the room for improvement.
“Even after those three years I still have the feeling that we make improvements and more is possible in 2017,” he said. “In 2017 I would like to make a step forward in winning a race in the World Tour. I have been close several times in the past, so it should be possible.
“The Vuelta a Espana this year also gave me more confidence for the Grand Tour races, proving that I am able to ride at a good level for three weeks. With this in my mind I would like to do something special in one of the Grand Tours next year. Together with the hilly classics this gives me enough goals for the next season.”