News shorts: Bazzana's says future depends on Horner's plans

Bazzana hoping to secure Horner’s place at Airgas Safeway

Italy’s Alessandro Bazzana has revealed that his future as a professional rider depends on whether Chris Horner decides to race with Airgas Safeway in 2016.

If the veteran American and former Vuelta a Espana winner decides to retire, Bazzana will have a chance to continue his own career in the USA. If Horner continues in 2016, then Bazzana will take up a job with a component company based in Italy. Bazzana has raced with UnitedHealthcare for the last three seasons but was not retained by the US-based team for the 2016 season.

“That’s how it is. If Horner quits, then I’ve got a good chance of signing with Airgas Safeway, otherwise amen, I’ll go and get a job,” Bazzana told Tuttobiciweb.

“I fitted in well at UnitedHealthcare but things change and I’ve got to find something else. I’ve got a half promise of a place but I fear that Horner will carry on racing and so I‘ve got to look to the future.

“I dreamt of a different career but you’ve got to have the strength to accept what you have. I don’t feel like a loser, I feel like a winner. Because I realised a childhood dream. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve done what I love for 20 years and been a professional for nine years and even won a race [a stage at the Tour of Austria].

“I’ll make good use of what I’ve learnt. I’ve earned a good income and teams have always paid me. Considering the stories I’ve heard about in Italy, I feel privileged.” 

Greg Van Avermaet wins Kristallen Fiets trophy

Greg Van Avermaet collected his second Kristallen Fiets trophy as he polled 726 points, almost double that of second placed Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on 398 points. Lotto Soudal's Tiesj Benoot finished third with 292 points.

The Belgian prize is awarded by Het Laatste Nieuws with previous winners including Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert, Sven Nys and Johan Museeuw.

"Such a price is always a great recognition," Van Avermaet told Sporza. "Without that stage victory in the Tour it would have been difficult to win the trophy. "But this season was not all me. In San Sebastian I was knocked down by a motorcyclist and Paris-Tours I had a flat tire one kilometer from the finish...

"Next season I focus on the classics of course. But also in the Tour I will be there once again. The World Championships not so much." 

Van Avermaet finished second at Strade Bianche, won a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico before going on to finish third at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The 30-year-old was also fifth at the Amstel Gold Race. The BMC rider added the Baloise Belgium Tour to his palmares although his Rodez stage win at the Tour de France was a season highlight.

Greg Van Avermaet celebrates his Tour de France victory

Wiggle Honda extends contracts of Amy Roberts and Anna Christian

20-year-old's Amy Roberts and Anna Christian will ride in the orange and black of Wiggle Honda in 2016 after both rider extended their contracts with the team. 

“I’m so impressed by the development and progression of Amy Roberts over the past three years,” said team manager Rochelle Gilmore. “The strength Amy will bring to each major race in 2016 will have a huge impact on our eventual results. Our athletes rely and depend on Amy in crucial moments of important races, and are extremely grateful for Amy’s endless selflessness.

“Anna Christian brings her bubbly personality and gorgeous smile to every race, it’s important to have such a character in every team,” Gilmore added. “It’s such a pleasure to work with Anna, she shows eagerness to learn and develop so we’ve invested in her longterm.” 

Mayuko Hagiwara, Elisa Longo Borghini, Giorgia Bronzini, Jolien D’hoore have also extended their contracts with the team while Emma Johansson and Amy Pieters have been brought on board for 2016. Wiggle Honda will confirm further extensions and arrivals in coming weeks.

Wilier Triestina extend with UnitedHealthcare

Italian bicycle company Wilier Triestina will continue to sponsor the men's and women's UnitedHealthcare teams in 2016 after a successful first season together. Riders have the choice of either the Cento1AIR or Cento1SR bikes next season. The Cento1AIR is the bike of choice for the 'Blue Train' in criterium racing and former US criterium national champion Coryn Rivera.

"We are lucky to be racing on the best equipment available. The Wilier Triestina bikes are fast and light, and it makes our pursuit of sprint wins that little bit easier,” said Rivera.

UnitedHealthcare are the only Pro-Continental team Wilier Triestina will sponsor in 2016 after the collapse of the Colombia team due to financial constraints.

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