News shorts: New Canadian Continental team, Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour gets UCI status

Norco Bicycles M1 Sports Management to create Canadian UCI Continental H&R Block Pro Cycling Team
A partnership between Bicycle company Norco and M1 Sports Management has seen the development of an all new Canadian UCI Continental cycling team, H&R Block Pro Cycling

The team has received endorsement from Cycling Canada while M1 Pro Cycling Project CEO Mark Ernstin has created an advisory board of experienced business leaders and cycling advocates to oversee the growth and development of the team.

"Our primary goal for 2015 is to establish a UCI Continental team and to build awareness of Canadian cycling, both at home and abroad," said Ernsting. "With the support of amazing sponsors like H&R Block and Norco Bicycles, I am confident that we will achieve our goals on and off the podium as a Canadian UCI Continental road cycling team."

H&R Block Pro Cycling will compete in UCI races across North America and will look to make a debut at the UCA 2.1 Tour of Alberta later in the season.

The team will race aboard the Norco Tactic road bike and team-specific time trial frames next season with the Canadian bicycle company looking to expand beyond its focus on mountain bikes.

"We're proud to join the M1 Pro Cycling Project, and together we can continue to learn and compete at the elite level with our Tactic race platform," said Norco Marketing Manager Chris Cook. "For us, this is the next step in proving the Tactic, and in continuing our growth as a road bike brand."

UCI status and broadcaster confirmed for 2015 Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour
USA Cycling have announced all five stages of the Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) have been awarded C2 UCI status for next year. The national cycling body has also partnered with Mountain Bike Mania to film the races which will then be aired in July and August on local ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates.

The five-event 2015 Pro GRT calendar features the April 24-26 NW Cup in Port Angeles, Wash., the May 17 Mountain Creek Spring Classic in Vernon, N.J., the June 19-21 Chile Challenge in Angel Fire, N.M., the June 26 Snowshoe Wild Hare in Snowshoe, W. Va., and the Sept. 26 Kamikaze Bike Games in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

"This raises the bar of international competition here at home and provides an arena for U.S. riders to gain UCI points toward valuable World Cup and World Championship starts," said USA Cycling Vice President of national events Micah Rice. "It means less travel for our riders, which provides more opportunity for American international success."

UCI points will be awarded to both professional and select amateur and juniors in an attempt to grow the sport.

"I really think that 2015 will be the catalyst to give America a competitive edge and develop riders into world-class competitors," said Olympic bronze medallist and three-time World Champion Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./ Team Norco International). "Building from the ground up, the changes to the series have occurred because of everyone striving to make the series better.

"Taking in lots of rider feedback, selecting good venues who want to work together and USA Cycling stepping up to get UCI points across the whole Pro GRT series will be amazing! I will be there, and it's up to everyone to attend and show support so American racing becomes what we all know it can be."

Australia sends 19-riders to London Track World Cup round
Cycling Australia has announced a 19-rider team for the second round of the Track World Cup Series in London from December 5-7. Australia topped the medal tally at the first round of the World Cup in Mexico this month but in a sign of depth, several medal winning riders missed were not selected.

Despite winning the gold medal in the team pursuit, Australia will field an entirely new team with three of the reigning world champions in Alex Edmondson, Mitchell Mulhern and Luke Davison taking their places.

"I am really pleased with what we achieved in Mexico, especially given the two days of travel required for the Aussies, before we even had a chance to ride the boards," said Kevin Tabotta, National Performance Director of Cycling Australia. "However, it wasn't just the medals, there were a number of great times and personal performances across the team, and particularly in the men's team pursuit where we debuted three juniors to win gold.

"We have exceptional depth in the men's endurance area right now, which will allow us to start a whole different combination of riders in team pursuit for the London World Cup."

The Australian team of the second round of the UCI Track World Cup
Endurance Men: Scott Law, Alex Edmondson, Mitchell Mulhern, Luke Davison, Scott Sunderland and Callum Scotson.
Endurance Women: Ashlee Ankudinoff, Melissa Hoskins, Amy Cure, Isabella King and Rebecca Wiasak.
Sprint Men: Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins, Peter Lewis, Nathan Hart, Jacob Schmid and Mitchell Bullen.
Sprint Women: Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton

Boels-Dolmans announce partnership with Sportmedisch Centrum Zuid-Limburg
Boels-Dolmans will partner with the Ortho-vison sports medical centre Sportmedisch Centrum Zuid-Limburg from 2015 as it looks to get an advantage over its rivals. Sports physician Dr. Milou Beelen will focus on ensuring the team's riders are healthy and in peak fitness during the season while Kenneth Hanzen, owner of Ortho-vison, anticipates a fruitful relationship having had success during previous work with the Trivio Long Distance Triathlon Team.

"We will focus mainly on the new young riders, who can make significant progress," Hanzen explained. "We do so by testing and coaching these women extensively so they can get on their bikes in the best possible shape.

"In addition, in consultation with union physicians we will also be monitoring the other riders, so the management of the Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team knows at all times whether everyone is 100% available for certain races. We will also take care of adequate assistance during injuries. Our aim is to arrange a constant and full insight into the health and fitness of the riders thanks to the expertise of Dr. Beelen."

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