News shorts: Dwars door Vlaanderen starts with minute's silence, Sagan rides a fat bike

Dwars door Vlaanderen starts with minutes silence

Belgian semi-classic Dwars door Vlaanderen will start with a minutes' silence following the plane crash in the French alps yesterday. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) is the defending champion, after his breakaway victory in 2014.

AG2R-La Mondiale name Clasica Corsica and Criterium International teams

Jean-Christophe Péraud will lead AG2R-La Mondiale at the inaugural Clasica Corsica on March 26 before he begins the defence of his Critérium International title two days later. Péraud won the 2014 race, beating Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) by a single second.

"Since I turned professional in 2010, I love this race. This year, in spite of the bib number one, I have less pressure and my goal is to continue to improve my form. I will benefit from the numerous climbs of Corsica. Last stage finish at the top Col de l’Ospedale and it is a good opportunity to evaluate what I am able to do before Vuelta a Pais Vasco."

Supporting Péraud at both races will be his new teammate Jan Bakelants, Julien Berard, Patrick Gretsch, Alexis Vuillermoz, while Christophe Riblon will ride just Critérium International.

Sagan riding a fat bike

Two days before Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) rode Milan-San Remo he paid a visit to the Specialized Italia offices in Milan where they unveiled the new paint job on the Venge that he would be riding in the race on Sunday. During the visit, Sagan took one of Specialized fat bike for a spin through the offices. Watch the below video for a short clip of Sagan at the Specialized Italia offices.

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Kittel can come back as strong says De Backer

Marcel Kittel’s Giant-Alpecin teammate Bert De Backer is confident that the German come back as strong as ever. Kittel has been out of action since the Tour of Qatar in February, pulling out of Tirreno-Adriatico two days before it started after citing illness. "At the start of the Tour of Qatar must have been something sitting there in his body," De Backer told Sporza.

"He has gone very deep in the first two races and has asked too much of his body. Therefore, the recovery has lasted much longer than expected,” continued De Backer. "Tall trees catch of course a lot of win in the outside world, and Marcel is a tree of a guy. But we need not have worried.

“Marcel still has fast legs. If he is fit, that's always a pleasure for us and for the fans."

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