Waeytens severs Sunweb contract - News Shorts

2018 Crocodile Trophy changes course, Fortuno Oscaro sign Bram Welten, USADA suspends US masters track athlete

Team Sunweb announced today that Belgian Zico Waeytens and the team have mutually agreed to terminate his contract for the 2018 season, effective in October.

The 25-year-old will race the Grand Prix de Québec and Grand Prix de Montréal as his final foray with the team.

"I've had a good time with the team and learned a lot. It's time to part ways and to look for a new challenge," Waeytens said in a press release.

The Sunweb team said the move "opens the opportunity to fill the spot in a different way to further develop its roster for 2018 and beyond".

The move is one of a series of shake-ups in the Dutch team, with Frenchman Warren Barguil opting to head to the Pro Continental Fortuneo-Oscaro squad, and Ramon Sinkeldam and Georg Preidler heading to FDJ. The team brought in Edward Theuns from Trek-Segafredo and Louis Vervaeke from Lotto-Soudal, and signed new pros Jai Hindley and Michael Storer from Australia.

2018 Crocodile trophy changes course

The 2018 edition of the Crocodile Trophy will see the riders tackle a changed course from previous editions. The 23rd running of the mountain bike stage race again starts in Smithfield but features new and adjusted stages.

“We have an incredible local crew who have helped us link together some fantastic trails, which enables us to offer some of the favourites and a lot of new sections for our riders to enjoy," race founder Gerhard Schoenbacher said. "We really appreciate the support of the local communities, the land owners and managers who give us permission to cross their properties and who help bring the Crocodile Trophy to life each year."

From Smithfield, stage 2 of the race takes the riders from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo. Stage 3 is from Lake Tinaroo to Tepon Equestrian Park for the first 100km plus day in the saddle. The race then heads north from Kalunga to the Skybury Coffee plantation and into more tropical terrain. Stage 5 is the longest of the race at 125km, starting and finishing at Skybury.

Skybury hosts a second stage start on stage 6 as the riders head towards Wetherby Station. The oldest cattle station in the country will host stage 7 on a new circuit to conclude the penultimate stage of the race. The race will finish with stage 8 from Wetherby Stationto Four Mile Beach via the Bump Track where the winners will be crowned.

The Crocodile Trophy has also moved its position on the calendar from October to September as the mountain bike world championships are being held in Cairns from September 6-10. Despite the change, last year's winners Urs Huber and Alice Pirard are both missing from the start list. The provisional start list features nine elite men and three elite women.

 

Bram Welten signs for Fortuno Oscaro 

French Pro-Continental outfit Fortuneo - Oscaro has announced its fourth signing for 2018, adding Dutchman Bram Welten from the BMC Development squad. The 20-year-old will join Warren Barguil (Sunweb), Amaël Moinard (BMC Racing), and Jérémy Maison (FDJ) at the squad.

Welten has ridden with the BMC Racing Team since August 1 as a stagiaire, racing the Arctic Race of Norway and Tour du Poitou Charentes, and will join the French squad knowing several of his future teammates.

"I am very happy to join Fortuno Oscaro, I already know some riders like Dan McLay, Elie Gesbert and also Amaël Moinard," said Welten. "Within this team, I will have the keys to becoming a better rider to seize the opportunities. I come to learn, to progress, but also to win races."

Welten won the Grand Prix Criquielion earlier in the season and also has several top-ten results to his name due to his fast finishing speed. While unsure of his potential, Welten explained he is looking forward to the challenge and shift to a French team.

"I like the classics, I go fast enough to sprint. I hope next year there will be openings," he said. "Riding for Fortuneo Oscaro is also an opportunity to work my French, I will take courses to progress faster. At 20 years, it is a professional and personal challenge, I am ready!"

The 2014 junior Paris-Roubaix champion has been on the radar of team manager Emmanuel Hubert and chose the squad over a WorldTour project as he explained.

"It is satisfying that Bram Welten, 20 years old, rider at BMC Development, approached by World Tour teams, choose our project. Since he won Paris Roubaix Juniors we kept an eye on him," said Hubert. "He is certainly one of the best sprinters of his generation. We want to help him in his progression, as together we can achieve beautiful things." 

USADA suspends US masters track athlete

The US Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday announced a six-month suspension for John Schiefer, a US masters track athlete who tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite hydroxyclomiphene as the result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on July 1, 2017, at the USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships.

Clomiphene is a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol. USADA determined that Schiefer's positive test was caused by a medication prescribed in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician.

The medical treatment was completed more than three months prior to the date of sample collection, which is consistent with the concentration of clomiphene and its metabolite in the athlete's urine sample. However, the World Anti-Doping Code requires athletes to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) before using a prohibited substance.

"Under the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete's period of ineligibility for using a prohibited substance may be decreased if the athlete lacks significant fault for the anti-doping policy violation," the USDA statement said. "In this instance, USADA determined that Schiefer's reduced degree of fault justified a reduction to six months."

Schiefer's six-month period of ineligibility began on July 1, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected. In addition, Schiefer has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 1, 2017, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

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