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News Shorts: Giant-Alpecin ready for anything in Qatar

Giant-Alpecin ready for anything in Qatar

Giant-Alpecin's Marcel Kittel will continue his early season preparation in Qatar following his season-opener at the Tour Down Under, where he won the warm-up criterium.

Kittel's team is sending a strong line-up to Qatar, with a solid leadout for the German sprinter and others who the team believes are capable of getting a strong result if the race splits up, including Nikias Arndt and Ramon Sinkeldam. The rest of the roster includes Bert De Backer, Georg Preidler, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer and Tom Veelers.

“For this race we have five flat, open stages and one time trial, and we have a team that can perform well here,” said director Marc Reef.

“If the weather conditions are relatively calm we can aim for the sprints with Marcel, but if the race splits up in the crosswinds then we will need to adapt and be ready for this,” Reef said. “We have lots of guys here who can do something though, so we have options. It is also an important race for us to focus on teamwork and to get the sprint formation back up to speed, finding our autonomy once again.”

For most of the roster, Qatar will mark the start of the 2015 season, but ti will be the second race for Kittel and Timmer.

“Marcel and Albert come to the race off the back of the Tour Down Under so they already have a week's racing in their legs,” Reef said. “The rest have been working hard at training camps and are ready to race. For the GC we will look to see what is possible with day-by-day as anything can happen in this race.”

Novo Nordisk earns first-ever win

Scott Ambrose notched the first-ever victory this week for Novo Nordisk, the 3-year-old US Pro Continental team that fields an all-diabetic roster. The win came following a solo attack during stage 2 at the Tour de Filipinas, a UCI 2.2 race in the Philippines.

Ambrose attacked from a daylong breakaway in the closing kilometers and held off the peloton to cross the finish line alone.

“This is a great day for our team,” Ambrose said. “We’ve fought so hard for this moment and words can’t express how important this win is to us. I feel so proud to be able to give something back to this incredible team and all those affected by diabetes.”

Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Ambrose won the Junior Tour of Canberra in 2011, Australia’s Premier Junior Tour. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years later after seeking medical advice because his performance had begun to deteriorate.

Ambrose joined the team’s development squad in 2014 and was invited to stagiaire for the men’s professional team in August of that year. The Tour de Filipinas marks his first official race with the men’s professional team, which has received invitations this year to Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo.

Farrar on the move at Herald Sun Tour

Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka) continued his Australian adventures in the breakaway of stage 2 at the Herald Sun Tour Friday, infiltrating a daylong breakaway during the 123km stage from Bendigo to Nagambie.

Farrar was joined in the break by Will Clarke (Drapac) and Michael Cumming (JLT Condor) after 40km of racing. Despite all three riders being at least 20 minutes down in the general classification, the bunch held the escapees' advantage around three minutes before starting the chase.

Cumming eventually dropped of the pace, leaving Clarke and Farrar alone off the front, but the duo fell prey to the chase inside 10km to go. Farrar would collected the points on offer at both the KOM and Sprint primes along the route and picked up the most aggressive rider prize for his effort.

“It was pretty normal heading to the finish and looking good for our team, but then United Healthcare started chasing,” said MTN Qhubeka director Michel Cornelisse. “I don't know why. Tyler was brought back with 6km to go and then for the sprint Gossy (Matthew Goss) was alone and out of position in the last corner.”

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge) won the bunch sprint, followed by Steele van Hoff (Australia) and Samuel Witmitz (Budget Forklifts). Cameron Meyer (Orica-Greenedge) held onto the yellow jersey.

Morkov becomes most winning Danish rider at Copenhagen SixDay

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Mørkøv made history this week when he won the Copenhagen Six for the fifth time, becoming the most winning Danish rider of all time in the track event.

The powerful Dane, who’s been on Tinkoff-Saxo for seven seasons, is perhaps best known for his performances on the road, where he has claimed a stage win at the Vuelta a España as well as a national championship.

But the 29-year-old started his career in track cycling more than 10 years ago and earned a rainbow jersey on the track before moving to Tinkoff-Saxo and the World Tour. Mørkøv has continued to pursue his track ambitions during the winter months, however.

“It was an amazing feeling to become the most winning Dane at the Copenhagen SixDay’s, especially in front of a home audience that has supported me for many years,” he said. “My partner, Alex Rasmussen, and I started out the last day in second place. But we knew that we were able to increase the tempo in the long 70km pursuit – and so we did.”

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