News shorts: Boom eyeing 'cross Worlds, Bonnet back on the bike

Lars Boom could race 'cross Worlds

Astana's Lars Boom is hoping to compete in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder on January 31. The former world champion will start his road season at the Tour Down Under, but changed his flight back to Europe so he could get home in time to prepare for Worlds.

"Normally I would come home on Wednesday," Boom said according to the Telegraaf. "After changing the ticket I will be back Monday evening and can prepare for the 31st nicely."

Boom still has one hurdle to overcome before he can qualify to represent the Netherlands: coach Johan Lammerts explained the federation requires a rider to finish in the top 16 of a World Cup twice. Boom will take part in the Namur and Zolder World Cup races later this month, but Lammerts said, "We still have a clause that I may designate anyone, even if he does not meet that criterion."

Boom was the cyclo-cross world champion in 2008 before switching his focus to road racing.

Bonnet resumes training

William Bonnet (FDJ) has resumed training following several months of recuperation from a fracture to his cervical vertebrae. Bonnet was the worst affected of a massive crash in the Tour de France on July 3, and had to spend months with his neck braced to allow the injury to heal. Fabian Cancellara and Simon Gerrans also suffered fractures in the same crash.

"For my first day back, I rode for two hours, about 75 km," Bonnet told L'Equipe from the FDJ training camp in Calpe yesterday. "I went with a group and I turned around after an hour and a half. I returned with Sébastien Joly, one of the coaches. It had been raining and the road was wet. So I paid attention. I can say that I was careful in the turns and descents. I left a safe distance."

Bonnet was free from pain during the ride, thanks to work he had done in advance to build up the strength in his neck muscles. It was not the first time he had been on a bike, however. He had spent time on his home trainer, but with a more upright position.

He was given the green light to go out on the open road on Monday after a visit to the doctor. "The surgeon was happy with the healing," Bonnet said. "He said that for him everything was OK, there was no need for further action and that it was up to me to see if I wanted to race again, provided I'm ready psychologically."

After consulting with his wife, Bonnet was reassured, and decided to take it slowly. He is still not sure when he will return to racing.

Marc Madiot, the FDJ manager, said he will give Bonnet plenty of time to readapt to training and gave him a contract for 2016 despite his long absence. 

2016 Tour de Romandie includes double climb Queen stage

The Tour de Romandie will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2016, with race organisers revealing a tough route that includes a hilly time trial around Sion and a double accent up to the finish in Villars-sur-Ollon, on Saturday’s Queen stage.

The Swiss WorldTour race will be held between Tuesday April 26 and Sunday May 1 and covers 700km during the six days of racing, starting in La Chaux-de-Fonds with an evening 3.95km prologue. It finishes in Geneva with a 172km stage suited to the sprinters.

With WorldTour points up for grabs, the Tour de Romandie is again expected to attract riders who have competed in the Ardennes Classics or are about to start the Giro d’Italia. Chris Froome (Team Sky) won in 2013 and 2014 and finished third in 2015, behind Ilnur Zakarin and Katusha teammate Simon Spilak. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) finished fourth overall and has already listed the Swiss race as a goal for 2016.

The 2016 Tour de Romandie 2016 stages:

Prologue: Tuesday 26 April Prologue, La Chaux-de-Fonds 3.95 km
1st stage: Wednesday 27 April La Chaux-de-Fonds - Moudon 166.9 km
2nd stage: Thursday 28 April Moudon - Morgins 173.9 km
3rd stage: Friday 29 April Individual time trial, Sion 15.11 km
4th stage: Saturday 30 April Conthey - Villars-sur-Ollon 173.2 km
5th stage: Sunday 1st May Ollon - Geneva 172.0 km

Nys, Van Aert and Van der Poel back in action in Belgium at the weekend

After a week of warm weather training in Spain, Belgian cyclo-cross stars such as Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) and Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) have returned home and will be in action in two important races at the weekend. World champion Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) and Lars Van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) will also be in action and are expected to challenge for victory.

All four are scheduled to ride in the sandy Zilvermeercross race in Mol on Saturday and then clash again on Sunday at the fifth round of the Superprestige series on centred around the Spa-Francorchamps motor racing circuit. The Spa-Francorchamps race is known for its long uphill section that forces riders to shoulder their bikes and run to the top.

Van Aert won the Zilvermeercross in 2014, when it was held under artificial lights in the evening, while Kevin Pauwels won in Spa-Francorchamps.

Werner as DS to Leopard Continental Team

Jörg Werner will join the Leopard Continental Team as sports director in 2016, the team has announced.

Werner was manager of the EON – Thüringer Energie continental team from 1999 to 2013. He is now manager for amongst others, John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Tony Martin, all of whom are alumni of that team. His new role will not affect his managerial duties, though. “Yes, I will still be the guy’s manager,” he told Cyclingnews.

Leopard is looking forward to the experience he will bring to the team, and Werner said that he is happy to be able to “being able to work with young riders again after a two-year break.”

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