Dumoulin under the weather
Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) was to be one of his teams hopes for the overall classification in Paris-Nice, but the 24-year-old has been ill, and said on Twitter today, "I'm afraid that I have to adjust my expectations for Paris-Nice."
Dumoulin was named as a leader together with Frenchman Warren Barguil and sprinter John Degenkolb. Last year, the German won a stage and the points classification.
Whether or not Dumoulin can challenge for the final classification remains to be seen. "We have a diverse team that can challenge on every terrain," team director Christian Guiberteau said. "We aim for a good ranking with Tom, but much depends on his recovery."
Schleck to open bike shop
Five months after he announced his retirement, Andy Schleck is making plans to open a bike shop. According to Luxembourgish website Paperjam.lu, the former rider hopes to open the doors of a new shop in Itzig in 2016. Along with the bike shop, the article states that Schleck wants to open an adjoining café.
"The store will not only be a lobby with bikes that will be on display," Schleck told the website. "We want to give great importance to the service. I want to transfer to the customer service my skills and my athletic experience."
The 29-year-old Schleck plans to open the shop with his father-in-law Jeannot Delvaux – with whom he has formed the company Andy Schleck-Schleck-Delvaux Cycles Associates.
Redlands will return to Oak Glen for 2015 race
The Redlands Bicycle Classic announced this week that the 2015 race will return to the mountain top finish at Oak Glen during the stage 3 circuit race on April 10.
The circuit, which starts in Yucaipa, consists of 425 metres of climbing on each 22.5km loop. After the last circuit, the race will climb 534 metres to Oak Glen for a mountain top finish. The number of laps for the men’s and women’s races is yet to be determined.
The Oak Glen circuit was formerly a marquee stage of the race, but residential infill increased the costs to run the circuit. The mountain town was last used for a stage in 2005, when the race was only three stages.
The 2015 Redlands Bicycle Classic, the opening event on USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar, starts Wednesday, April 8, with the Highland circuit race. The stage race continues the following day with the Big Bear time trial on the north shore of Big Bear Lake. Stage 3 is the Yucaipa circuit race that ends in Oak Glen. The downtown Redlands criterium returns Saturday afternoon, followed by the iconic Sunset Loop circuit race to close things out on Sunday, April 12.
Wellens' retirement from cyclo-cross surprises Nys
Beglium’s Sven Nys has said that he was surprised by his compatriot Bart Wellens’ decision to retire from cyclo-cross because he still had a year left on his contract. Wellens, 36, made the announcement on Tuesday saying that “my age and my body have told me that it's time to stop.”
Nys told Sporza that although Wellens still had a deal to race next year, he understood his reason to leave the sport because of his age saying that, "I understand that when you reach a certain age, and with his record, at some point you find that it’s enough."
At similar ages, Nys, 38, and Wellens grew up racing cyclo-cross on the same circuit and were rival competitors for much of their careers, beginning with their battles for the under-23 world titles in 1997 and 1998.
"I have every respect for the career of Bart," Nys told Sporza. "It will be strange to feel like he's not there anymore because we came through the field racing together.
"We grew up together and have brought cyclo-cross to what it is now. I'm eternally grateful to Bart for everything we have experienced together and I think that is the case vice versa. We are a generation that people have had a lot of fun to watch but the new generation will also provide a great spectacle.
"I'll take my hat off to you. I have all the respect for his career."
Wellens is currently linked to the investigation into Belgium doctor Chris Mertens, who is suspected of providing ozone therapy to his patients that are reported to include 19 athletes. Wellens is scheduled to appear at a disciplinary committee hearing of the Belgian federation on March 13.
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