News shorts: Kittel returns to racing at Tour de Yorkshire

Kittel returns to racing at Tour de Yorkshire

Giant-Alpecin's Marcel Kittel will return to racing at the UCI 2.1 Tour de Yorkshire held from May 1-3. The sprinter has not raced since the Tour of Qatar, pulling out of his early-season races because of illness.

"It will be Kittel's first race back, so we need to give him the opportunity to find his race rhythm again," said coach Marc Reef.

Kittel won the opening stage of the Tour de France in Harrogate last year and wore the early leader's jersey, so he knows the Yorkshire area well. He will be surrounded by a strong team that includes Bert De Backer, Tom Stamsnijder, Ramon Sinkeldam, Lawson Craddock, Caleb Fairly, Fredrik Ludvigsson and Lars van der Haar.

"At first glance the stages seem relatively flat, but from last year's Tour we know that they include some difficult categorized as well as uncategorized hills. We will start with a diverse team and aim for good stage results."

Majka leads Tinkoff-Saxo at Tour de Romandie

Rafal Majka will lead Tinkoff-Saxo at the upcoming Tour de Romandie set to begin on Tuesday with a 9.2km team time trial from La Vallée de Joux to Juraparc. The team has high hopes for their Polish rider to deliver a strong overall performance.

"Rafal Majka is our leader and we will work around him but we will have to adapt our strategy to the prevailing situation. We will see after the first team time trial how the other strong teams do and we will act according to that," said Bruno Cenghialta.

"Our aim in this race is for Majka to finish at the top 5 and we need a clever strategy to do that since the absence of very long or very steep climbs isn't the best-case scenario for him."

Tinkoff-Saxo will also field Robert Kiserlovski, Chris Anker Sorensen, Bruno Pires, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Jesper Hansen, Ivan Rovny and Pawel Poljanski.

The Tour de Romandie will be held from April 28 to May 3 in Switzerland.

Etixx-QuickStep aim to defend top WorldTour placing at Tour de Romandie

Etixx-QuickStep head into the Tour de Romandie with two main goals; to prepare for the upcoming Giro d'Italia and to defend their top placing in the overall team standings on the WorldTour. The team is currently has a total of 779 points, ahead of Team Sky with 673 points and Movistar with 663.

Their roster will include Julian Alaphilippe, Maxime Bouet, David De La Cruz Melgarejo, Michal Golas, Tony Martin, Gianni Meersman, Pieter Serry and Rigoberto Uran Uran, who has placed second overall twice at the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and 2014.

"This is an important race for us," said Sport Director Davide Bramati. "Not only in function of the Giro d'Italia, but also because it is a WorldTour race. We are #1 in the UCI WorldTour team ranking, so we want to do well at Tour de Romandie and defend our top placing. We have a good team at the start with a few guys preparing for the Giro.

"Rigoberto Uran comes back after Volta Ciclista a Catalunya where he finished in fifth place. Last year Rigo found a good rhythm and sensations before the Giro with a good finishing time trial, and we hope he can have the same situation this year. We will see what we can do in the 2015 edition of Tour de Romandie. We have the mission to do well as usual, with an eye specifically on the final time trial with Tony Martin, who already won the time trial at this race in the past."

Hip fracture for SmartStop's Shane Kline

The Joe Martin Stage Race ended on a low note for Shane Kline as a touch of wheels three quarters into the fourth and final stage caused him to fall heavily on his left side. Kline was taken to the nearby Washington Regional Medical Centre where it was confirmed he had suffered an intertrochanteric hip fracture and received treatment for his injuries.

According to a release from the team, the inury is not career ending for Kline who was in good sprits one day after the crash. 

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