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News shorts: Etixx-Quick Step added to Saitama Criterium, Van der Poel looking for Koksijde return

Etixx-QuickStep added to Saitama Criterium

Maxime Bouet, Petr Vakoc, Julien Vermote and Yves Lampaert will represent Etixx-Quick Step at the end of season ASO Saitama Criterium race on October 24, having been added the start list as the seventh European team for 2015. Bouet will have leadership status with the team in his final race of the season in which he has 92 race days to his name.

Team Sky, Giant-Alpecin, Team Katusha, AG2R La Mondiale, Team Europcar and Trek Factory Racing have previously confirmed their appearances for the third edition of the race.

Chris Froome is set to make his third appearance at the race as he continues his comeback from the fractured foot he sustained at the Vuelta a Espana in August.

Van der Poel targeting Koksijde return

Mathieu van der Poel is hoping that he can finally get his cyclo-cross season under way at the third round of the World Cup in Koksijde in November. Van der Poel has been forced to the sidelines following a crash at the Tour de l’Avenir that resulted in a knee injury.

“I want to be at the World Cup race in Koksijde again,” he told Sporza at the annual Flandrien of the Year Awards where he was honoured with the Flandrien of the Field Award.

Van der Poel had thoughts he had passed through the worst of his knee injury but the pain returned during training. He underwent surgery two weeks ago to remove two upper facias in his knee. "I started the rehabilitation on Monday. It is difficult. Today, with the physiotherapist, I spent five minutes cycling on the exercise bike. I feel no more pain. I understand I will be able to make my comeback at the World Cup round on November 22 in Koksijde,” he said.

"I will certainly not force anything, though this is not easy. I have watched in recent weeks a few races, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do that. It's starting to itch."

Kiryienka to get first outing in rainbow stripes

Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) will get his first opportunity to show off the new rainbow jersey he earned at last month’s World Championships as he rides the Chrono des Nations this Sunday. The 51-kilometre time trial in Les Herbiers will pit him against Worlds silver medallist Adriano Malori of Italy.

Malori’s Movistar teammate Jonathan Castroviejo, who finished fourth at the Worlds, will also be present, as will Ruben Plaza, Marcin Bialoblocki, Gustav Larsson and Johan Le Bon. Defending champion Sylvain Chavanel will not be there, nor will former champions Tony Martin or Stef Clement.

Kiryienka will be the last of the 31 riders off the ramp at 14:45 local time.

In the women’s competition, there will be no Linda Villumsen, who won the world title but there is a strong line-up nonetheless with defending champion Hanna Solovey, Ann-Spohie Duyck and Amber Neben set to ride. Emma Pooley, who retired from professional racing last season, is also down to take the start. Pooley will ride for the British team.

Elite Men's Start List | Elite Women's Start List


Beppu ready for Japan Cup with Trek Factory Racing

Fumiyuki Beppu is looking to closing his season with two races in Japan, the Japan Cup and the Saitama Criterium, with Trek Factory Racing in front of home crowds.

"This is my fourth time racing the Japan Cup and every year it's just unbelievable spectators," said Beppu at a special press conference. "The entire lap everyone is calling my name, and the whole peloton is surprised to hear this all the time. But hey, this is my country, the people love cycling…that's Japan."

Fabian Cancellara and Bauke Mollema might be household names in cycling but in Japan it is Beppu who takes top billing as the sole Japanese rider at WorldTour level in 2015. The 32-year-old is aiming to please the fans and give them even more to cheer about with a good result in Sunday's race.

"I am motivated for Sunday and I hope to do well, but of course it always depends on the situation in the race and what happens," he said. "Bauke is here and he is in really good shape and I am happy to work for him, too, but it's no secret the fans want to see me do well, it's more exciting for them. I work all year for the team so why not in my home country shouldn't I have the chance? I will give my all, 100 percent, and then hope for the best."

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