Worlds Shorts: NIbali to ride Saitama, Lefevere losing world titles

The Belgian conundrum, Worlds for Norway 2017

World Championships 2017

The 2017 World Championships will be hosted by Bergen, Norway, according to Procycling.no.

"We are very pleased that Bergen has delivered a strong application, and we know they are going to deliver what they have promised. Bergen had by far the best application," UCI President Brian Cookson told the website.

Bergen beat off Austrian city Innsbruck, Colombian capital Bogotá and Melbourne, Australia. Norway currently hosts six UCI registered races, including the Arctic Race of Norway and the Ladies Tour of Norway.

Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff is hoping to become Norway's second world champion, after Thor Hushovd in 2010, in Sunday's road race.

Nibali set for Saitama

Despite question marks over his current form and lack of top level fitness Vincenzo Nibali’s season is set to carry on into October: the Tour de France winner is confirmed to ride the Saitama criterium on October 25. 32 riders from eight WorldTour teams are set to compete including Chris Froome (Team Sky), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).

The were rumours that Nibali may pull out of the World Championships this weekend, but after a training session on Wednesday coach Davide Cassani seems to have convinced him to stay. If he chooses to ride, Nibali will lead the team, which will be announced later today.

We are family

The Belgium line-up for Worlds may have been confirmed but there still remains the tricky issue surrounding leadership with up to four potential suitors. However Belkin's Sep Vanmarcke is confident that the team can operate as one when the tough decisions need to be made in the men’s road race on Sunday.

"It's up to the coach but there are only a few guys who can be there in a race that long. Maybe I'm not a total leader, it's my first Worlds and maybe I need to learn but I don't think it’s a lot different to these races," he told Cyclingnews while racing in the Canadian WorldTour events.

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Chasing rainbows

Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere has seen two world titles leave his team this week. On Sunday, the Belgian outfit lost their two-year stranglehold on the team time trial World Championship, after they failed to match the time set by BMC. Three days later Tony Martin saw his individual title fall to Bradley Wiggins, ending his three-year stint in the rainbow jersey.

"It's a bit painful. But if we had experienced a bad season then I would have more to worry. But we have more than 60 victories, won Roubaix, rides in all major tours and overall classifications," Lefevere told Sporza. “We do not like to give away world titles, and two in a week, much less. But we have Sunday."

There has been much debate about who will take the leadership of the Belgian team, but Lefevere will hope that it is one of his riders that can take victory on Sunday.

Wiles replaces Small in USA women's team

Having come down with illness since claiming a third straight team time trial victory with Specizlized-lululemon, Carmen Small has withdrawn from the women's World Championships road race on Saturday. Small was also forced to withdraw from the individual team time trial, an event in which she won bronze last year.

Replacing Small in the six-rider team will be her trade teammate Tayler Wiles. The 25-year-old enters the Worlds having enjoyed a successful Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche where she placed second on GC and recorded several top-ten finishes.

The USA women's team for the road race: Mara Abbott (UnitedHealthcare), Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team), Lauren Hall (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies),Shelley Olds (Ale-Cipollini), Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare), Evelyn Stevens and Tayler Wiles (Specialized-lululemon).

Flakemore to BMC

It has been a good week for Campbell Flakemore, the Australian beat Ireland’s Ryan Mullen by less than a second to take the U23 World Time Trial Championship, and he has now secured a contract with BMC. Along with Joey Rosskopf and Manuel Senni, Flakemore will ride for the BMC development team and the Elite WorldTour team.

"I think I can learn a lot from those guys," Flakemore said in a statement from the team. "My priority for next year is to get experience and learn how it all works in a WorldTour team. I want to learn as much as possible."

Team manager Jim Ochowicz said, "He adds significant value to our team in his specialty, which are time trials."

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