Tour of Oman will continue, says Merckx - News shorts

ASO buy Eschborn Frankfurt, Storey wants equal billing for para and able-bodied Worlds, mudslide at the US nationals

Tour of Oman will go on

Eddy Merckx has tried to allay fears about the future of the Tour of Oman following the demise of the Tour of Qatar at the end of last month.

“The Tour of Oman will be ridden. No doubt about it,” he said, according to HLN.be.

Merckx was the organiser of both races in Qatar and Oman, with help from Tour de France organiser ASO. In December, the UCI confirmed that the Tour of Qatar would not take place in 2017 due to a lack of sponsorship, despite only recently being promoted to WorldTour level.

It’s cancellation provoked speculation that the Tour of Oman would go the same way, especially as it appeared to be hanging in the balance ahead of last year’s edition.

Astana controlling the front of the peloton

ASO buy Eschborn-Frankfurt cycling classic

ASO may have lost the Tour of Qatar recently, but they have since added another race to their repertoire, the one-day Eschborn-Frankfurt.

The French company, which also runs the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege among others, bought out the German race’s organisers Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports.

The company will continue to work as it has previously, acting as a subsidiary of the main ASO group. The news is of little surprise as ASO look to capitalise on the resurgence of support for cycling in Germany. The organisation is also aiming to relaunch the Deutschland Tour in the next two years with support from the German federation.

Following a series of doping scandals, the Tour de France was no longer broadcast on German television. However, with the success of riders such as Tony Martin, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, support has been increasing and broadcaster ARD finally began showing the race again. This year’s Tour de France will begin in Dusseldorf.

The Eschborn-Frankfurt cycling classic has been running since 1962, with Alexander Kristoff winning the most recent edition.

The GP Frankfurt podium from left to right: John Degenkolb (Giant - Shimano), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Jerome Baugnies (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)

Storey wants joint para and able-bodied World Championships

Multiple Paralympic champion Sarah Storey has said she wants to see both para and able-bodied cyclists competing at the same World Championships, rather than holding a separate event. Storey, who has 14 Paralympic gold medals in swimming and cycling, says that bringing the two competitions together will help promote para-sport and inspire people with impairments to take up the sport.

“The inspiration to increase participation at grassroots comes from the people competing at the top of the sport,” she told the Evening Standard. “You see it with Wimbledon and television — everyone has tennis rackets for the first half of July. We want para-sport to get more coverage so people with impairments can identify with sporting stars more frequently, not just during the Paralympics every four years.

“I would like to see it happen in as many sports as possible. I want us to get to a point in the future where a world championship can just be about sport and we won’t have to talk about para-sport, or disabled sport and keep them separate.”

At present, there are few opportunities for para-cyclists to compete at the same time as their able-bodied counterparts. This year’s Para-Cycling Road World Championships will take place several weeks before the able-bodied competition and in South Africa, while there is no date or place set for the track World Championships.

One of the few events to hold both able-bodied and para competitions at the same time is the Commonwealth Games, which ran a concurrent, albeit pared down, track programme.

Dame Sarah Storey in action

Mudslide at the US cyclo-cross nationals

Cyclo-cross can be challenging and muddy at the best of times, but participants in various categories at the US cyclo-cross national championships were met with something of a mudslide on course.

Twitter user Hunter Pronovost posted a series of videos of competitors sliding down the section of course on their bums - some intentionally, some not so much - due to the slickness of the mud. The 2017 national championships are taking place in Hartford Connecticut, with the elite events this weekend.

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