News shorts: Contador and Sagan take to paddle boards, no surgery for Vanotti

Contador and Sagan swap their bikes for paddle boards

Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan enjoyed their first rest day of the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp in Gran Canaria on Wednesday, swapping their bikes for paddle boards.

The Tinkoff-Saxo team is staying at the Anfi resort in Gran Canaria and took advantage of the warm weather near the African coast to do some thing different. However they were back on the bike on Thursday for a five-hour ride in their new black and white patterned training kit. The 27 riders will stay in Gran Canaria until December 18.

Betancur doesn't see Movistar move as a "second chance"

Carlos Betancur's move to Movistar has been one the most intriguing of this transfer season after he and Ag2r-La Mondiale parted ways in August. Much has been made of the Colombian having a second chance at the Spanish team although the 25-year-old has told Spanish daily AS that it's not how he sees it.

"I do not think my move supposes a second chance for me. I see is as a continuation on the same trajectory," Betancur said. "I face this new stage eagerly, there are many reasons to find the best team in the world. Now it only remains to try. My goal is to do well wherever I go. I am a young man who has sacrificed so much, and the last two years I have suffered will not become an impediment to achieve great things in the future."

Betancur hasn't tasted victory since he grabbed two stage wins on the way to overall victory at the 2014 Paris-Nice with this year's Giro d'Italia the only race in which he cracked the top-10. The Colombian was fifth overall and best young rider at the Giro in 2013, the same year he placed third at La Flèche Wallonne and fourth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué is looking for the recently married Betancur to move to Pamplona with his family to focus on his career having suffered with lack of motivation and weight issues the last two years. Betancur is set to debut at the Tour de San Luis before turning his attention for playing the role of domestique for Dani Moreno and Alejandro Valverde in the Ardennes with his results to determine whether he starts the Giro in May.

"Although, I think it's my favourite event world, now I do not care where to raise his arms again," he said of the Giro and desire to win. "The next victory will signify a turning point in my career."

Valls set to race Tour Down Under with Lotto Soudal

New Lotto Soudal recruit Rafa Valls will make his 2016 debut with the team at the Tour Down Under next month according to Spanish site Biciclismo. Valls, the 2015 Tour of Oman winner, joined the Belgian team from Lampre-Merida after two seasons.

The 28-year-old has made one previous appearance at the Australian race, in 2013, when he finished in 12th place. This season, Valls also finished eighth on GC at both the Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya, 11th at the Critérium du Dauphiné before heading to the Tour de France where he finished 78th overall. Illness then saw Valls miss the Vuelta a Espana before announcing his move to Lotto Soudal.

Lotto Soudal have enjoyed a successful history at the Tour Down Under with Andre Greipel a serial stage winner at the race although the German sprinter opted to skip the race this season and subsequently won four stages at the Tour Down Under.  

No surgery for Vanotti

Alessandro Vanotti was also the victim of a training crash in Spain, fracturing his shin while riding with his Astana teammates.

Fortunately doctors have told the Italian domestique he does not need surgery after a check-up and a scan and his ligaments are not damaged. He will be able to ride again in a couple of months and start training for a return to racing in the spring.


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