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Landa resigns Euskadi presidency, plastic barriers for Gent-Wevelgem – News shorts

VILLADIEGO SPAIN JULY 29 Mikel Landa Meana of Spain and Team Bahrain McLaren Gotzon Martin Sanz of Spain and Team EuskaltelEuskadi Red Mountain Jersey during the 42nd Vuelta a Burgos 2020 Stage 2 a 168km stage from Castrojeriz to Villadiego VueltaBurgos on July 29 2020 in Villadiego Spain Photo by David RamosGetty Images
Mikel Landa rides alongside Euskaltel-Euskadi's Gotzon Martín at the 2020 Vuelta a Burgos (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Mikel Landa has resigned his position as president of the Fundación Euskadi after the UCI judged that his position at the organisation was a conflict of interest due to their sponsorship of the ProTeam Euskaltel-Euskadi.

The Bahrain Victorious rider had taken over position in order to save the organisation in 2017, when the team was still an amateur squad and before they rose up to Continental level the next year.

The team rose to ProTeam status last season and even raced in the same peloton as Landa at the Vuelta a Andalucía and Vuelta a Burgos, though Landa has only now been forced to resign his position.

Landa announced his resignation in a statement released by the Fundación Euskadi on Saturday.

"With the move from the men's team to the UCI ProTeam category, it became clear that my role within the Euskadi Foundation had to change completely, since it could cause incompatibilities that no one wanted.

"Being an active cyclist and competing in events where the Euskaltel-Euskadi team was also present, it was neither prudent nor logical for me to keep my functions at the Foundation.

"Since then, the project has only grown. And it has managed to expand its support for the base with the creation of its own amateur team and a continental team of women. New companies have also opted for the Foundation and all of them must be thanked. All this shows that the current management team is doing a great job and that the Foundation is in the best possible hands.

"However, I consider that the best thing for everyone is that we inform the members and, of course, the media, that I am not part of the decisions of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team.

"I say goodbye, with my heart always orange, Mikel Landa Meana."

Boplan plastic barriers back for Gent-Wevelgem

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Boplan's plastic safety barriers, used at a professional race for the first time at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic on Friday, will be used once again at Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem and Gent-Wevelgem Women.

The plastic barrier, which are softer than traditional metal barriers, don't have outward-facing legs, and are angled to keep spectators at a safe distance, were praised by several riders, including Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) after the race.

"I'm really pleased and happy to see this effort done with the barriers at the finish straight today," Mørkøv wrote on Twitter. "Thank you very much for improving the safety of the riders."

"Let's hope this becomes standard for all finishes," Stuyven added.

On Saturday, Flanders Classics CEO posted photos of the barriers at the finish in Wevelgem ahead of Sunday's races. The barriers will also be used at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders next week, as well as Scheldeprijs and Brabantse Pijl.

The barriers – which so far have been provided free of charge according to Boplan owner Xavier Ramon – might be seen elsewhere in future, too, with WielerFlits reporting that both the UCI and Tour de France organisers ASO have contacted the company.

€250 fine for fans attending the Tour of Flanders

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands and Team Mitchelton Scott European Champion Jersey Cobblestones during the 17th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Women Elite a 1356km stage from Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

Annemiek Van Vleuten races through a fan-less cobbled sector at the 2020 Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Fans who travel to watch the men's and women's Tour of Flanders next Sunday will face a fine of at least €250 and a criminal summons, Carina Van Cauter, the governor of East Flanders, has said.

With strict COVID-19 measures in place in Belgium – much like the rest of Europe – the Tour of Flanders will once again be without fans, following on from races held throughout the 2021 season so far.

The start and finish line, climbs and cobbled sectors at the race have been sealed off from fans, and anyone attending the race will face a fine, said Van Cauter.

"We've done work in depth so you can't get [to those areas] at all," she told Sporza. "Additional commercial activities are prohibited and if you live or work along the route you must wear a mask.

"There will be enforcement. The fines are not small – an immediate out-of-court settlement of at least €250. And don't forget that we are talking about a police ordinance from the governor. If you get out of hand, you risk being summoned to appear before the criminal court. Be warned."

Van Cauter ruled out a possible cancellation or postponement of the race – as Paris-Roubaix could be facing – but only if fans stay home to watch. Police co-ordinator Alexander De Baets added that nobody is thinking about that scenario given the positive outcome of last October's race.

"It remains a matter of waiting," he said. "But because we did so well in October, there was little doubt that the race would not go ahead.

"The fact that there is no public presence is also partly for the health of the riders. But you also don't want to be the one event where COVID-19 problems arise. That's why we have to be so strict."

Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in August 2019 after working as a freelance journalist for seven years, including time spent working for Cyclingnews and sister magazine, Procycling.