News shorts: Christina Watches officially ends, Caja Rural-RGA finalise roster

Time over for Christina Watches-Kuma

After months of speculation, the Danish team of Michael Rasmussen, Christina Watches-Kuma, has called it quits. Team owner Claus Hembo confirmed to the Danish publication Ekstra Bladet that the squad will disband.

The team aimed to build toward a participation in the 2016 Tour de France, but the outspoken Hembo, who was called "a Danish Oleg Tinkov" by fellow Dane Brian Holm clashed with the Danish Cycling Union.

Hembo blamed the team's demise on the DCU, which he said was deemed a pariah because of team co-owner Rasmussen's past doping case.

"The team has always been a pariah for the DCU," Hembo said. "The anger and resentment that had been focused solely on Michael Rasmussen, has been turned against me from day one."

Rasmussen famously was pulled out of the 2007 Tour de France while in the race lead over whereabouts issues. He later sued Rabobank for wrongful dismissal but in 2013 confessed to 12 years of doping.

Although the team had no trouble getting into races outside of Denmark, they were not invited to start at the country's biggest race, the Post Tour of Denmark. "At home we have only been met with an outstretched middle finger. It is completely outrageous," Hembo said.

Hembo said the DCU had been advising young Danish riders not to sigh with the team, which in part caused its death.

"You might as well give up going to war with sport organizations, it is a battle that is already lost," Holm said to Ekstra Bladet. "You can not win over them. You can not win over DCU or the UCI."

"It was impressive what Hembo got out of almost nothing," Holm said. "He got the maximum out of his team, just look at exposure he gets when he closes his team."

Caja Rural-RGA finalise 2015 roster

Spain's only Pro-Contiental team, Caja-Rural RGA, has announced its 2015 team roster which has been bolstered by the signing of Sergio Pardilla from MTN-Qhubeka. Also confirmed to have joined the team is José Gonçalves from La Pomme Marseille 13 as reported by Biciciclismo.

The two Spanish riders complete a 19 man roster that had previously been bolstered by the signings of Miguel Ángel Benito, Hugh Carthy, Eduard Prades and Ricardo Vilela .

Pardilla had spent the last two seasons with MTN-Qhubeka and will provide further GC options for the team. The 30-year-old recently finished 30th overall at the Vuelta a Espana.

Lampre-Merida hands Cimolai two year extension

Italian Davide Cimolai has extended with Lampre-Merida for the 2015-16 seasons and the 25-year-old is looking repay the team with a debut professional win. Cimolai has ridden the Tour de France on two occasions and the Vuelta a Espana once since joining the team in 2012.

"I'm very happy for the extension of my contract for the next two seasons: it's a huge satisfaction seeing the trust by the team management, by the Galbusera family from Lampre and by Merida," Cimolai said. "In the past three years I improved my skills a lot, I'm sure the next season will be important for my definitive full maturity."

Drapac renew with five riders

Australian Pro-Continental team Drapac have announced contract extensions with five of its riders for another season. 2014 signings Will Clarke, Travis Meyer and Lachlan Norris join Darren Lapthorne and Bernard Sulzberger in committing to the team for another year.

2007 Australian national champion Lapthorne explained it was an easy decision to agree to a seventh season with the team in 2015.

"I feel like I did most things right in 2014," said Lapthorne. "I think I gave myself every opportunity in most races to get results but just lacked a little luck this year which is why I had many top ten results but no wins for the season.  I still love racing my bike and believe we have a team that can achieve great things which I can contribute towards in 2015."

Meyer's 2014 season was severely hampered by a serious training ride crash in April when he was hit by a car in Barcelona. The 2010 Australian national champion suffered a a fractured jaw, a fractured right arm and significant bruising in the accident and as a result missed several months of racing only making his return at the Tour of China I in early-September.

"My decision to remain with Drapac was an easy one," Meyer said. "Drapac has been super supportive through my recovery after my accident in April and have given me the best opportunity to return in 2015 to full fitness. I never got to experience a full season with this great team, so I couldn't miss the chance next year."

Drapac have currently announced four signings to the team with more riders expected to join and re-sign for 2015.

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