News shorts: BMC rides the cobbles, Cannondale-Garmin go sailing

BMC test new bikes on the Paris-Roubaix cobbles

Paris-Roubaix may still be six months away but the BMC team has kicked off its preparations for the 2015 race and the coming season by testing bikes and materials in a quick trip to northern France on Friday.

Greg Van Avermaert, Marcus Burghardt, Silvan Dillier, Michael Schär and Jean-Pierre Drucker completed four laps of a circuit near Carrefour de l'Arbre that included four sections of cobbles used in Paris-Roubaix. Van Avermaert tweeted a photo of himself with his new bike for the cobbles.

"It was the perfect opportunity to start thinking to next season," he told Sporza, despite the riders getting wet due to rain on the last lap.
Sporting Manager Allan Peiper drove the BMC team car behind the riders. "The test went perfectly and the change in weather was good too. It was the perfect opportunity to see the boys again," he said.

New Cannondale team heads to Virgin Islands for sailing and team building

Following several days of meetings near the headquarters of title sponsor Cannondale in Wilton, Connecticut, the 27 riders and staff that will make up the 2015 Cannondale-Garmin team will head to the British Virgin Islands for four days of sailing and team building activities to bolster team skills and leadership. The riders will also go hiking and swimming as they live together on boats for several days.

"Like cycling, sailing is a team sport. The idea with sailing and living on the boats is to take these guys totally out of their comfort zone and get to know each other and work together under difficult circumstances," team manager Jonathan Vaughters said.

"For many if not most, this will be a totally foreign activity – so they will need to support each other just as they will all season during races.

Cannondale-Garmin announced its full roster for the 2015 season on Friday. The new-look team is a fusion of the Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale teams, with the Slipstream Sports management company and Vaughters taking charge of the squad. Cannondale has taken an ownership stake in Slipstream Sports.

The majority of the roster is built around the existing squad at Slipstream with Ryder Hesjedal, Dan Martin, Andrew Talansky and Tom Danielson in the team. They are joined by Ted King, Kristjian Koren, Matej Mohoric, Moreno Moser, Alan Marangoni and Davide Formolo from the Italian managed Cannondale team of 2014.

Deirdre Murphy Bader remembered in New York

Deirdre Murphy Bader, an Olympian and masters world and US champion was remembered today at a memorial service in New York City. Bader lost her battle with cancer on November 11. She is survived by her husband Larry and son Ethan.

Bader represented Ireland in the 2000 Olympic Games road race, but more recently was executive director of Star Track, a non-profit track development programme for children held at the Kessina velodrome in Queens, New York. The organisation was founded in conjunction with New York City's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, and grew to include 300 young riders this year.

Contributions in her memory can be made to Star Track at "Bike New York/Star Track", 12 East 87th Street, New York, N.Y. 10128.

Thomas Löfkvist to manage Team Tre Berg-Bianchi Continental team

Bianchi has confirmed it will sponsor the Swedish Continental Tre Berg-Bianchi squad, with recently retired Thomas Löfkvist becoming the team manager.

The team will include a 10-rider roster as Swedish cycling continues to develop and tries to emulate the success of neighbouring country Norway. The project started from an idea of Kristian Wejshag, a music and concert promoter who decided to enter the world of cycling.

"I asked myself this question: why can't we have a major, professional racing team in Sweden with all the talent and expertise we have? I can't pretend I know a great deal about competitive cycling. That's why I am working with Thomas Löfkvist, who decided to retire this fall after a long and successful professional career" Wejshag explained in a statement from Bianchi.

Team Tre Berg-Bianchi aims to become a natural springboard for Swedish cyclists hoping to move up to the Pro Continental and the WorldTour teams. The team will be based in Skara and Falköping.

The team roster includes Alexander Wetterhall, Niklas Gustafsson, Sebastian Balck, Alexander Gingsjö, Marcus Fåglum, Alexander Fåglum Karlsson, Gustav Höög, Lucas Eriksson, Kim Magnusson and Ludvig Bengtsson.

Verschueren to Telenet-Fidea

24-year-old cyclo-cross racer Jolien Verschueren has signed a three-year contract with the Young Telenet Fidea squad, starting on January 1.

The young Belgian impressed this season with a second place finish in the Koppenbergcross, and a third place in the BPost Bank Trofee in Ronse.

Vos headlines Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge

Former world champion Marianne Vos is in Johannesburg, South Africa, preparing to take part in Sunday's Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, the second largest cycling event in the country that attracts over 32,000 riders.

Vos joined South African champion Ashleigh Moolman Pasio on a ride this morning, and later tweeted, "Looking forward to race here in Johannesburg! Race number on in November, so even a little bit nervous."

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