France beats the Rest of the World
As riders begin to enjoy the off-season, some have headed to the football pitch for friendly matches.
On Friday a squad of French riders beat a Rest of the World team 5-4 in Nice, with the likes of Thibaut Pinot and Nacer Bouhanni showing their balls skills are almost as good as their bike riding ability.
The Rest of the World team included Greg van Avermaet, Rinaldo Nocentini and Nick Nuyens but were unable to stop Pinot scoring two goals.
On Saturday afternoon a team of Italian players took on team staff near Lake Garda in Italy, with Katusha providing the backbone to both teams. Despite fielding riders such as Joaquim Rodriguez and Luca Paolini, the players were beaten 8-6.
Gallopin and Stybar tie the knot
With some riders had their eye on the ball or were still racing in Japan, others were busy getting married.
Frenchman Tony Gallopin of Lotto Belisol got married to Marion Rousse, who rides for the women's Lotto Belisol team.
Zdenek Stybar was unfortunate to crash out of the recent Ardooie cyclo-cross and needed surgery after suffering a Grade 3 AC-joint dislocation on the right shoulder. However he was able to marry Ine Vanden Bergh on Saturday.
Yannick Eijssen joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
The Wanty-Groupe Gobert Professional Cotinental team has announced it has signed Belgium's Yannick Eijssen who rode with BMC this season.
Eijssen completed the Vuelta a España twice and started the Tour de France this year in support of Tejay van Garderen.
"I have ridden in support of big champions like Cadel Evans. Van Garderen and Philippe Gilbert in recent years. I learned a great deal there and improved every year," Eijssen explained in a press release from the team.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert already announced the signing of Marco Marcato, while key riders like Bjôrn Leukemans, Roy Jans, Jérome Baugnies and Kévin Van Melsen have extended their contracts.
Willems goes out with a win
Belgium's Frderik Willems brought the curtain down on his long career by winning a final farewell race in Sint-Jan-in-Eremo, Belgium.
The 35iyear-old Belgian beat Stijn Devolder and Italy's Manuel Quinziato in the event that celebrated his 13-year career. Willems will quickly make the switch to being a directuer sportif with Lotto-Soudal for the 2015 season.
"Last winter I asked myself the question: 'How long will I be cycling and what will I do afterwards?'. When the team offered to become sports director in 2015, it didn't take long to decide," he explained on the Belgian team's website.
"Becoming sports director was kind of logic in a way, because the team saw me as a road captain. It's a big honour that the team thought of me and that the news is well received in the team. My crash in August ended my season abruptly. The race of Saturday will be a nice goodbye, because we already had a lot of preparations towards the race. I will be able to thank everyone."
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