Katusha re-signs Belkov, Kochetkov, Losada, Machado and Vicioso – News shorts

Katusha re-signs Belkov, Kochetkov, Losada, Machado and Vicioso

Katusha announced on Wednesday that the team has re-signed five key riders for 2017, including Maxim Belkov, Pavel Kochetkov, Alberto Losada, Tiago Machado and Ángel Vicioso.

Kochetkov, 30, is a talented climber who wore the mountains jersey in this year’s Grio d’Italia for several days and won the Russian road race title in June. Belkov, 31, is a former European time trial champion who won a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2013. He’ll return for a sixth season with Katusha.

Losada, 34, will start his seventh season with Katusha next year. He has been the dedicated domestique to Joachim Rodriguez throughout his time with the team, and with 15 Grand Tours in his pal mares he provides plenty of experience.

Machado, 33, returns for a third season with Katusha. The all-rounder will target stage races again in 2017, while Vicioso, 39, returns for his sixth season with Katusha and his 19th as a professional.

Molina, Benito and Ferrari extend with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

Antonio Molina, Miguel Angel Benito and Fabricio Ferrari have re-signed with Spanish Pro Continental team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, with Molina and Benito stepping up for two more years and Ferrari signing on for one.

Molina, 25, who came to the team in 2014 from the development squad, played a crucial role in helping teammate Hugh Carthy win the jersey for best young rider at the Volta a Catalunya, then won the sprint jersey at Giro del Trentino before breaking his collarbone at route du Sud.

Benito, 23, also came to the team from the development squad, while Ferarri is the only remaining rider who was with the team during its first year in 2010.

Team Roth to close doors on Pro Continental team

SpazioCiclismo reported today that the Swiss Pro Continental outfit Team Roth will close its doors after this season.

The program will continue to field development teams at the U23 and junior level. Team Roth started in 2015 as Roth Skoda, taking four wins that year, with two victories each for Andrea Pasqualon and Alberto Cecchin.

Former Vacansoleil-DCM CEO Daan Luijkx launches Team Earth for 2018

Daan Luijkx, the former CEO of the Vacansoliel-DCM team that was on the WorldTour for three season from 2011-2013, has launched a new pro outfit that will race as Team Earth in 2018, according to an announcement on the team's website. 

Luijkx presented a team jersey to 2000 US presidential candidate and environmental activist Al Gore on Tuesday during the Inspiration-360 congress in Amsterdam.

"Gore has created an exceptional platform to promote sustainability," Luijkx said. "As a young father, his work really resonates with me. I have a great deal of respect for the impact he has. As Team Earth, we want to help make people conscious of the effects that their actions have on the environment and their bodies. This is our priority."

Luijkx said Team Earth will strive to be the "most sustainable" cycling team in the sport.

"That goal will determine the products we choose to use, the composition of our broad partner base — which decreases risks and makes our team more robust — and the solid reputation we are investing in," he said. "With this aim, I hope to set a new standard for cycling teams, based around a unique identity, social responsibility, and more independence. This is a long-term project that will require careful building. We don’t want to rush.”

Team Earth is in talks with several multinationals that are well aligned with its vision and hopes to announce the first of six equal partners in the spring of 2017, according to the team's announcement. There was no indication at what level the team would enter the peloton.

Canada inducts six to Cycling Hall of Fame

The Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame added six new inductees to its ranks over the weekend during its second annual induction ceremony.

The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees included Gord Fraser, Louise Lalonde, Marie-Hélène Prémont, Alex Stieda, Brian Walton and Canada's 1908 Men’s Team Pursuit squad.

Fraser, who currently directs the Silber Pro Cycling Continental team, was a three-time Olympian and five-time Commonwealth Games competitor who logged more than 200 individual race or stage victories in his career. He is considered the most successful professional sprinter in North America. 

Lalonde was highly regarded as an international commissaire for road, track and para-cycling and has also officiated in mountain biking, cyclo-cross, BMX and served as an anti-doping officer. Lalonde was also the first person certified by the UCI to train commissaires in the discipline of para-cycling and wrote the initial curriculum.

Prémont was the national champion in Cross Country Mountain Bike from 2003 to 2009. Internationally her record included winning a medal in every World Cup she entered (two gold, three silver, three bronze) in 2008. The two-time Olympian claimed the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games to add to her World Cup Gold Medals obtained in 2005 and 2006. She won a Commonwealth Games Gold in 2006 and Pan American Championships Gold in 2000 and 2001.

Stieda was the first North American to wear the Tour de France Yellow Jersey on the second day of the 1986 race. He went on to wear five jerseys in total that year, including the polka dot as best climber, white as best rookie, red for intermediate points, and the combination. After losing the yellow, Stieda held the polka dot jersey for an additional five days over the hills of northern France. 

Walton represented Canada at the Olympic Games on three occasions, with 1996 being the most successful with his silver medal performance in the track points race. He was also a three-time 1995 Pan American Games medalist, including gold in the road race and points race and the bronze medal in the individual pursuit. At the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Walton defended his road race title with another gold medal performance. Walton won numerous international races, including the 1989 Milk Race during his 12-year professional career.

The 1908 team pursuit squad that won the bronze medal included William Anderson, Walter Andrews, Frederick McCarthy and Willie Morton. The men’s team pursuit in London that year was 1,980 yards (1,810.5 meters), which was three laps of the track. In addition to the team pursuit, the four combined for an additional 22 event entries at those Games.

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