News Shorts: Bennett returns to racing, Küng out of hospital

Bennett returns to racing in Belgium

George Bennett of LottoNL-Jumbo will take to the start of the Baloise Belgian Tour prologue Wednesday afternoon. The New Zealander was withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia squad at the last minute due to a reduced cortisol value.

LottoNL-Jumbo belongs to the Movement for Credible Cycling, which prohibits riders with a low cortisol value from racing for eight days.

The low values were caused by his asthma medication, according to an investigation by the team’s medical staff and outside specialists. The “slightly reduced cortisol value” posed no health risk to Bennett, the team said, and thus he is allowed to race again.

Küng out of hospital

Less than a week after fracturing his vertebrae in a crash as at the Giro dItalia, Stefan Küng (BMC) has been allowed to leave hospital. Küng had a great start to the Giro but was caught up in an incident late on the rain-soaked stage 12, forcing him to abandon the race. He has since been recovering from his injuries in a Swiss hospital.

"I feel good, I can sleep, I can stand up, I can take a shower," said Küng in a press conference held at the hospital. "I am kind of back to normal – not on my bike – but I am feeling good. Under the circumstances, I can be very happy that I can already go home."

Doctors said that the young BMC rider was recovering well and should not have to undergo any surgery. It is expected that Küng will have to spend between six and eight weeks off the bike but the Swiss rider is relieved that it wasn’t any worse.

"I am very happy that my back is not harmed," Küng said. "I am still able to walk and I am not paralyzed, which is always possible with a vertebrae fracture. For a sportsman, it is very hard to lay in bed, coming out of the Giro … and then just laying in the bed. It is really hard. I always want to go forward. I am kind of a person who always needs somebody to hold me back. Now it is my back that is holding me back."

New jersey and new name for Lotto-Soudal in Belgium Tour

Lotto-Soudal will become Joker+ Soudal for the duration of the Baloise Belgium Tour, which starts this Wednesday. The team will also wear a new kit, which is stylistically the same as their current jersey but with a few twists. The jersey will change from the traditional red to orange with multi-coloured dots of confetti.

Joker+ is one of the games where participants of the Belgian lottery pick their favourite zodiac signs. For this reason, the vertical stripe on the back of the jersey – which normally says ‘live your dream’ – contains each of the 12 zodiac signs. The riders will also have their zodiac signs on their helmets and the phrase, ‘this is my lucky day’.

The sponsors will remain in the same place as will the riders’ names, which run down the right hand side of the jersey.

Polspoel signs

Maaike Polspoel has signed with the Belgian women’s team, effective June 1. She recently left Team Liv-Plantur after requesting that team terminate her contract.

Polspoel, 26, suffers from autoimmune pancreatitis, which can only be treated with corticosteriods. Liv Plantur is a member of the Movement for Credibly Cycling, which forbids riders receiving corticosteroid treatment from racing. Her new team is not a member of that organisation.

“I feel good enough to train and race,” Polspoel told “I am really looking forward to be racing again but I am also very pleased that I can do for this team. I want to develop further as a rider and above all I want to especially for the Olympic Games in Rio.” In 2012 she was in the road race at the London Olympics, finishing 29th.

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