Seguros RGA extend Caja Rural sponsorship for three seasons - News Shorts

Pervis on chances at Track Worlds, IAM Cycling looking for top result at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Cyclingnews' riders to watch for 'opening weekend'

Spanish Pro-Continental team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA have announced a three-year extension with title sponsor Seguros RGA at a ceremony in Madrid. Seguros RGA is an insurance arm of the Caja Rural group that came on board as a co-sponsor in February 2013.

"[Seguros RGA] has been fundamental for the team's possibility to grow [and] their involvement is total and they bring an enormous enthusiasm and commitment to the team," Juanma Hernández, CEO of the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA cycling team said.

Seguros RGA CEO Pablo González de Castejón added the sponsorship has helped to grow recognition of the company both in Spain, and internationally.

"The name Seguros RGA will continue to be present in Spain as well as internationally. The team will have our full support and commitment. We hope to continue to enjoy these great moments that the team gives us in every race," González de Castejón said.

The team won its first race of the season on stage 4 of the Etoile de Bessèges in France via Ángel Madrazo and will look for further success on French soil this coming weekend at the Classic Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis Delpech and La Drome Classic.

Pervis realistic regarding London Track World Championships ambitions 

Having won five gold medals at the last two Track World Championships, Francois Pervis has been one of the sprint riders to watch in recent years, although the Frenchman is downplaying his chances ahead of the London meet early next month with his eyes on the bigger goal of the Rio Olympic Games.

"Two weeks before the world Championships, I still feel very tired because I am coming off a big heavy block. I now have two weeks to recover and regain maximum freshness," Pervis told DirectVelo. "Last year, I had three titles to defend at home ... and this year, my goal is elsewhere."

Pervis rode the 2004 Athens Olympic Games but was passed over for London 2012 selection, making up for that disappointment by becoming the first male sprinter to win three rainbow jerseys at the 2014 Worlds. Pervis successfully defended his keirin and time trial titles from Cali on home soil at the 2015 Yvelines Worlds but missed out on the sprint gold medal.

The 31-year-old is aiming to make the Rio squad in August but will first need to show himself in front of selectors at the London Worlds. Having won a rainbow jersey at the last three Worlds, Pervis will be a favourite to continue his run, although he suggested there is a changing of the guard currently taking place.

"A new generation is beginning to take precedence over old," explained Pervis. "I think Jeffrey Hoogland, the Dutch rider was impressive all winter, Patrick Constable, the Australian winner of the last World Cup, and Max Niederlag."

Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the London Track World Championships, with reports, photo galleries of all the action, news and special interviews.

IAM Cycling looking to Howard and Vangenechten at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Swiss team IAM Cycling are looking to continue its good start to the 2016 season at 'opening weekend' with sports director Rik Verbrugghe identifying Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne as the race he particularly wants his team to perform well in.

"For Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne I am counting particularly on Leigh Howard and Jonas Vangenechten," Verbrugghe was reported as saying in Het Nieuwsblad. "Since the Molenberg is no longer included in the race route ... the passage to the Taaienberg is crucial. The favorites will not be allowed to wait too long to respond."

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne has favoured a bunch sprint finish in recent years and therefore Verbrugghe is backing his two fast finishers for the 203km race.

IAM Cycling's best finisher at the race last year was Matteo Pelucchi in tenth place while Heinrich Haussler placed 12th in 2014. The race was cancelled in the team's debut season back in 2013.

Howard, who first rode the semi-classic in 2011, had two top-ten results at the Tour Down Under in his first race with IAM Cycling before placing second at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 26-year-old then won his first race on European soil, taking the Clasica de Almeria in a photo finish, and will be aiming for a similar result come Sunday.

Cyclingnews' riders to watch on 'opening weekend' 

The European classics season gets underway this coming weekend with Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Cyclingnews has cast its eyes over the start list and chosen five riders to watch at both races. You can watch the video below to find out who we've picked as part of our 'Belgian Week' that will also feature the Hills of Flanders, exclusive interviews, a preview of the Classics in the Cyclingnews Podcast and Patrick Lefevere's Classics Dream Team.

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