Strade Bianche joins RCS Sport WorldTour line-up in 2017
Strade Bianche completed it's 10th edition this year, where Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) took the win. The race travels along the famed white gravel roads of Tuscany and finishes on the Piazza del Campo in Siena.
"If the importance of a race is determined by the calibre of riders it attracts, then the Strade Bianche has to be considered one of the great international classics; since its birth, the best riders have challenged themselves to take glory. The last winner, Fabian "Spartacus" Cancellara, has won it three times (2008, 2012 and 2016) and he will now have a section of the race's iconic white gravel roads named after him – the Strade Bianche di Monte Sante Marie, one of the most testing of the entire race," said an event press release.
Next year it will join the WorldTour, where it will stay for three seasons, though 2019. RCS Sport also owns Giro d'Italia, Milano – Sanremo, Tirreno – Adriatico and Il Lombardia.
Strade Bianche will also be the first race of the 2017 Women's UCI WorldTour.
Abu Dhabi reaches WorldTour in only its third edition
The Abu Dhabi Tour also made the 2017 WorldTour cut, after only its inaugural edition competed. It will host the second edition in October and third edition cross the emirate from February 23-26 next year.
Organised by Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) with the collaboration of RCS Sport, the four-day race will be held this year from October 20-23 and will include three sprint stages and one mountain stage. Esteban Chaves won the inaugural edition last year.
Aref Al Awani, ADSC's General Secretary, said, "This status upscale is proof of the commitment and sheer hard work delivered by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and our partners. We hope the global media attention it brings will also help build Abu Dhabi's growing credentials as a significant cycling destination taking us centre stage in a discipline, which is increasingly capturing the attention of the sporting world and local communities.
"Cycling is a sport which meets our objectives of nurturing local heroes and spreading a culture of healthy, active lifestyles among the entire community – resident or expatriate, young or old. Once our local cyclists have the chance to see the world's best in action, and honoured, we hope to further inspire their own aspirations."
Team Sky's van Poppel repeats stage one result for second Vuelta a Burgos stage win
Danny van Poppel out-sprinted BMC's Jempy Drucker and Etixx-QuickStep's Gianni Meersman on stage 1 for the win and repeated the trick as he bested the same two riders in Villarcayo for the victory. The 23-year-old explained it was a satisfying victory as he expected the final climb of the stage to be harder then it was.
"I'm really happy. I didn't expect to win today because it was a pretty hard final," van Poppel said. "I suffered a lot, especially on the last climb and I was one of the last guys at the back. The team did a great job. They helped me and waited for me, then when we got back to the front they pulled full gas to take back a strong break. The lead-out was perfect!
With stage 5 also expected to suit the sprinters, van Poppel added he will aim for his third victory of the race.
"Cycling is a really hard sport. I know I'm not bad on the uphills, but it's always difficult in Spain to ride uphill. I'm really happy to take another victory and I really want to thank the team. They did a great job!," he said. "Tomorrow is possible again for a sprint, but first we enjoy this victory!"
Grmay named as Ethiopian flag bearer for Olympic Games opening ceremony
Having already made history as the first Ethiopian to race the Tour de France, Lampre-Merida's Tsgabu Grmay has been selected as his countries flag bearer for Olympic Games opening ceremony. There will be little time for Grmay to enjoy the occasion however as the next day he will be lining up for the road race for a 930am start in Fort Copacabana.
"The mix of happiness and pride makes gives me a great feeling about being the flag bearer for my Country," Grmay said. "The participation in the Tour de France brought me a lot of amazing things, the role of flag bearer included: I'd like to thanks Lampre-Merida and all the team's members for the opportunities they gave me".
The 24-year-old is one of five cyclists named as flag bearers at the opening ceremony alongside Anna Meares (Australia), Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus), Māris Štrombergs (Latvia), Daniela Campuzano (Mexico), and Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwanda).
Grmay's teammates Yukiya Arashiro (Japan), Kristijan Durasek (Croatia), Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Portugal), Louis Meintjes (South Africa), Matej Mohoric (Slovenia) and Jan Polanc (Slovenia) will also line out for the road race.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the men's 237.5km road race on Saturday.