Demare details 2016 race programme
Arnaud Demare (FDJ) will focus the first half of his season on the one-day Classics and Paris-Nice. The Frenchman detailed his race programe on Twitter on Wednesday.
Demare, a former U23 world champion, finished second in Gent-Wevelgem and 12th in Paris-Roubaix in 2014, and has made no secret that his ambitions lie in the Classics.
But his 2015 season went relatively poorly, and Demare struggled after returning to Europe from the Tours of Qatar and Oman. He was barely able to crack the top 10 in the Classics - his best finish was 10th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - but he went on to win two stages of the Baloise Belgium Tour.
This year he will skip the early-season travel, and start the year with Etoile de Bessèges and Tour Méditerranéen, and then take on the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne before competing in Paris-Nice.
Milan-San Remo comes next, before Gent-Wevelgem, the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, and finally Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Arnaud Demare wins stage 3 in Belgium.
Cunego will lead Nippo Vini Fantini in Australia
Damiano Cunego will lead his Nippo Vini Fantini team at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race at the end of this month. The Italian will be joined by his compatriots Daniele Colli, Nicolas Marini and Giacomo Berlato, and Japanese champion Kazushige Kuboki and Yuma Koishi, who make their debut with the team.
The same squad will take part in the Herald Sun Tour.
Nippo Vini Fantini will also take part in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, where sprinter Grega Bole will head up the team. He is joined by Eduard Grosu, Pierpaolo De Negri, Riccardo Stacchiotti, Antonio Nibali and Genki Yamamoto.
Damiano Cunego at the Nippo Vini Fantini team presentation in Chieti, Italy.
Dubai stages suit sprinters
The organisers of the Dubai Tour announced the details of the two opening stages of this year's third edition of the race, and they will be sure to suit the sprinters such as last year's winner Mark Cavendish.
The opening stage, dubbed the Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage after the technology hub the route passes, will be 179km in length. More significantly, it will cross the stretch of desert between Dubai and Fujairah, traversing the territory of four different Emirates (Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah). The stage will be mostly flat with a short sequence of climbs in the Al Hajar Mountains before heading back to level ground for a finish along the Gulf of Oman.
The 188km-long second stage will combine desert roads with suburban streets, passing the Al Marmoum camel racing track and the Al Qudra bike path before heading back into the city past the Dubailand entertainment complex. The city circuit will be a technical loop passing through the Jumeirah Islands community with a finish on The Palm, an artificial island reached through an underwater tunnel.
Mark Cavendish wins the final stage of the 2015 Dubai Tour.
Tour de Pologne wins sporting award
The Tour de Pologne was voted the best Polish sports event of 2015 by Przeglad Sportowy, the main sports daily in Poland. Rafal Majka was voted eighth best Polish athlete, and Tour de Pologne director Czeslaw Lang made the top 10 list of most inspiring personalities in Polish sport.
“These awards are two fantastic accomplishments that testify as to how cycling is taking on an increasingly important role in the economy of Polish sports," Lang said. "Edition after edition, we are achieving more and more impressive results. This is reflected in the TV audience numbers and particularly by the constant growth in the enthusiasm that surrounds the race and cycling in general, along with the great development of the Polish cycling movement in terms of teams and riders.
"The Tour de Pologne comes to life on the road, over the countryside and through the towns and cities; it comes to our houses through TV, radio, newspapers and the web. It’s an event that belongs to the people; that inspires children to dream through the feats of its champions. It ignites the souls of fans and enthusiasts of all ages. The love of the crowd – this is the secret of cycling’s success."
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