News shorts: Former Tour de France leader Nocentini looking for 2016 contract

Orica-AIS have secured the services of Rachel Neylan and Katrin Garfoot for the 2016 season the Australian team has announced. Garfoot joined Orica-AIS in June of 2014 while Neylan joined the squad from March this season and sport director Gene Bates is looking forward to having a full off-season and year ahead with the duo in 2016.

"We signed Rachel late, off the back of the national championships. She fitted in with the group straight away and was really important in some of the victories we had during that June/July period," Bates said. "Kat is just getting more and more dependable in that time trial area. She made a few errors in time trials throughout the year that we thought had she not, then she would have been at the pointy end of the field."

Neylan won the Trophée d'Or Féminin in August while racing the national team and that stage race result was evidence of why the 33-year-old was signed added Bates.

"Obviously winning the Trophee d’Or over in France with the national team was a highlight of her season. Then she backed that up with a really strong ride at the GP Pluoay with us before a really active role in the world championships," he said.

With a team secured for next season, Neylan explained she is looking to start 2016 by winning the Australian national title before focusing on the Rio Olympic Games in August.

"I'd love to start by winning the green and gold jersey if the opportunity arose after being so close this year," Neylan said. "The other big goal for the early season is selection for Rio Olympics, it's been a dream since I was ten, I believe it’s a tough course which would suit my abilities well."

Garfoot, who finished fourth in the World Championships time trial, is also looking ahead to next season and putting in strong performances at the Worlds and Olympics.

"I want to improve and develop my power and skills and I would love to represent Australia at the Olympics and the world championships in the coming year as well," Garfoot said of her 2016 goals. 

Petacchi content with decision to retire

Alessandro Petacchi called time on his career earlier this season with stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia his last day as a professional cyclist. Petacchi moved to the South east team after two seasons with Omega Pharma-Quickstep but rode just half the season with the Italian Pro-Continental squad, a decision he is glad he made.

"I am not nostalgic. I stopped at the right time," Petacchi toldTutobiciweb. "A couple of months ago [former manager Giancarlo Ferretti] "Ferron" called me to see how I was. He asked questions and at some point I realised where he was going and I said: ‘Ferron, it’s clear, I made the right choice at the right time. I am not depressed.'

"But that phone call made me enormously pleased, because "Ferron" is the sports director that I appreciated most in my heart. He knows what I want because he is the one that better than anyone else has been able to understand me and get me in the right direction. He understood my feelings and he never attacked me. I can only say that Giancarlo is an epitome of knowledge and common sense, combined with a feeling like no other."

The Italian added he is enjoying being a full time father, spending time with his family and helping his wife's animal rescue association although he has thoughts of becoming a sports director in the future.

"I do what I have done for so long. I enjoy my wife Anna Chiara and my Alessandro who is seven and a half years and for the first time I can take him to school in the mornings," he said. "Then I have time to eat with him and spend leisure time. Then I run our non-profit association with Anna Chiara, ARA - Association to respect animals – of which I am the president and Anna Chiara is the real engine together with a veterinarian. We save lots of dogs and cats, especially in southern Italy, and once saved we facilitate adoptions. For the rest I'm thinking about what to do in the future. I'd like to do the second level course in January to become a sports director and coach.

"I could imagine myself having see well in the role that Michele [Bartoli] has built with intelligence, passion and expertise," he said of future plans. "I'm a quiet guy who despite having spent a lifetime to go fast, likes to do things at my own pace and in peace. I am sure that I get to do what I like. But now my priority is to spend time with my family: this is what I was missing and now I enjoy it deeply."

Petacchi turned professional in 1997 with the Scrigno-Gaerne team and during his 21 year long career won 22 stages of the Giro d'Italia, 20 at the Vuelta and six stages at the Tour de France along with the points classification at all three grand tours. The 41-year-old also won Milan-San Remo, Paris–Tours and Scheldeprijs

Rinaldo Nocentini looking for a new team in 2016

Former yellow jersey wearer at the Tour de France Rinaldo Nocentini is leaving Ag2r-La Mondiale after eight seasons with the French team and the 38-year-old is considering offers from Lampre-Merida, IAM Cycling and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA reports Italian newspaper Arrezzo Notizie.

Nocentini wore the Tour's yellow jersey for eight days in 2009, finishing in 12th overall. The Italian hasn't won a race since stage 1 of the 2010 Tour du Haut Var but has recorded top-ten's at the one-day races Flèche Wallonne, Amstel Gold Race, Il Lombardi and Strade Bianchi since then. Nocentini also posted top-tens overall at Tirreno–Adriatico, Tour de Pologne and the Tour of Oman in the last three years.

Tour of Southland confirms 2015 teams

14-teams have been confirmed for the 2015 2.2 Tour of Southland including Avanti who return with defending champion Mitchell Lovelock-Fay. The seven-day race which takes place on New Zealand's South Island will cover 800km with Invercargill hosting the start and finish of the event.

Joining Lovelock-Fay on Avanti is New Zealand national champion Joe Cooper while Travis McCabe and Eric Marcotte will guest for the Kia-Ascot Park team which also includes former winner Mike Northey.

"Riders from the United States, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Spain, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia are embedded in the field and, while not a lot was known about some of the riders, it is great that they have heard about the Tour of Southland and have chosen to come here to compete," race organiser Bruce Ross said.

Teams for the 2015 Tour of Southland;

Avanti Racing Team
Kia Motors - Ascot Park
Barry Stewart Builders
Olivers Real Food Racing
Chesters Racing Team
Creation Signs L & M Group Ricoh
Team Cromwell
Champion Systems Team Dallas
Mike Greer Homes
Team Skoda Racing
Adair Craik
Team Talbot Forest Cheese

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