News shorts: Hondo to coach Swiss Cycling U23 squad, Landa struck by cytomegalovirus

Hondo to coach Swiss Cycling U23 team

Danilo Hondo has retired from a 16-year-long career in professional cycling and will take on a new role coaching Swiss Cycling’s under-23 team.

“I am looking forward to the new task and see it as a challenge for me personally, to work with the young riders. I am convinced that we will build on the great developments of recent years," Hondo said in a press release.

Hondo, 40, spent this season racing with Trek Factory Racing and a year with RadioShack in 2013. Before that, he raced with Lampre, PSK Whirlpool-Author, Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli, Tinkoff Credit Systems, Team Lamonta, Gerolsteiner and Team Telekom.

During his career, he won two stages of the Giro d’Italia and had a series of second-place finishes at Milan-San Remo, Paris-Tours and second overall at Tirreno-Adriatico. “Danilo has a strong sense of tactics and can read a race very well,” said Thomas Peter from Swiss Cycling. “This strength will help our young riders and train them to make the leap into the professional circuit. We are trying to build long-term cooperation with Danilo.”

Swiss Cycling stated in a press release that they have a zero tolerance for doping in the sport. Although Hondo was handed a two-year suspension after producing a positive test at the 2005 Vuelta a Murcia, he won an appeal in civil court, which ended his suspension early. Hondo added, “For me too, it is important to take preventive action with young people to avoid bad decisions or negligence.”

Landa struck by cytomegalovirus

Mikel Landa was absent from Astana’s training camp in Calpe this week – and the impromptu celebration of its WorldTour registration – as he is suffering from cytomegalovirus.

“The first symptoms started during our first gathering in Montecatini a couple of weeks ago,” Landa told Biciciclismo. “When I got home, I went for tests which uncovered the virus.”

Astana ultimately decided that the Spaniard would be better served by staying at home than by travelling to the 10-day training camp in Calpe. “I was a maybe up to the last minute, but with [Giuseppe] Martinelli we decided that it would be better for me to stay at home because I wouldn’t have been able to train with my teammates. I’m just focused on recovering.”

Ag2r-La Mondiale name Tour Down Under and Tour de San Luis teams

Currently at a training camp in Calpe, Spain, the Ag2r-La Mondiale team has revealed their line-ups for the opening races of the year in January. Domenico Pozzovivo will begin his Giro d’Italia build-up by riding the Tour Down Under (January 20-25), where he will be joined by Blel Kadri, Christophe Riblon, Alexis Gougeard, Julien Berard, Alex Domont and Samuel Dumoulin.

Carlos Betancur kicks off his campaign at the Tour de San Luis (January 19-25), alongside Guillaume Bonnafond, Ben Gastauer, Hugo Houle, Rinaldo Nocentini and Alexis Vuillermoz. New signings Johan Vansummeren and Jan Bakelants will debut at the Dubai Tour in February.

The two stars of Ag2r’s 2014 Tour will begin the new campaign in Europe. Romain Bardet is pencilled in for the GP de la Marseillaise on February 2 before heading to the Ruta del Sol (February 18-22), where Tour podium finisher Jean-Christophe Péraud gets his 2015 season underway.

Bardiani riders unite at pre-season training camp

Bardiani-CSF will come together for a pre-season training camp from December 16-20 in Fiuggi, Italy. Team manager Roberto Reverberi and director Mirko Rossato have prioritized meetings for the 16-man roster with the team’s new coach Claudio Cucinotta, along with medical check-ups with Doctor Giampaolo Benini, who will explain health internal regulations, ADAMs and MCCP rules. They will also be at the official presentation of 2015 Giro d’Italia stage 7, which will start in Grosseto and finish in Fiuggi.

“We’re close to a new season and as happened last year we come back in Fiuggi to plan all for the first part of 2015,” Reverberi said. “In this nice city we have found since the first time a beautiful atmosphere and safe roads for training. So we can’t wait to arrive there and start to work for 2015 that we expect again to be full of success.”


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