News shorts: Paolini signs new contract with Katusha

Luca Paolini has signed a contract extension with Katusha for the 2016 season

Luca Paolini, 38, took the win at Gent-Wevelgem in March and has carved out a reputation as one of the most respected and knowledgeable riders in the professional peloton. He has been an integral road captain for Katusha and leader Alexander Kristoff in recent seasons.

“Remembering the last spring classics season, I feel like I still have forces to remain in this sport. I feel I can be useful for the team and our leader Alexander Kristoff, I can get my own results, and I can help the young riders in the team with their professional development. This is the reason I immediately said “yes” when team management proposed a new contract to me. I am very happy with the fact that I will continue my career in the peloton,” Paolini said in a team press release.

Paolini turned professional with Mapei in 2000 and has ridden for Katusha since 2011. In a joint statement the team recognized the Italian rider’s influence within the team. Paolini is currently racing the Giro d’Italia.

“Without any doubt, Luca Paolini is a great rider, and one of the most respected and popular riders in the professional peloton and with his many fans worldwide. Many times Paolini became that decisive factor that tipped the scales in our favor. I am very happy that Luca stays with our team. I know he has not voiced his last word in cycling,” said general manager Viacheslav Ekimov.

Team Katusha heads to Belgium and Norway

Team Katusha will field two teams this week at the 2.HC Baloise Belgium Tour and the 2.1 Tour des Fjords in Norway, both held from May 27-31.

Alexander Kristoff, who recently took two stage wins and placed eighth overall at the Tour of Norway, will lead the team at the Tour des Fjords along with Sven Erik Bystrøm, Jacopo Guarnieri, Marco Haller, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, and Simon Špilak. While the team in Belgium will include Viatcheslav Kuznetsov, Rudi Selig, Egor Silin, Gatis Smukulis, Alexey Tsatevich, Angel Vcioso, Eduard Vorganov & Anton Vorobyev.

Cort to lead Orica in Norway; Yates and Tuft back from injury

Magnus Cort will lead the Orica-GreenEdge team at the upcoming Tour des Fjords. The young neo-pro will be looking for stage wins in the five-day race that starts on Wednesday.

“For sure we will be looking for a stage win,” sport director Matt Wilson said.  “Magnus will go there as our leader and depending on how the stages are looking and how it plays out, possibly for the general classification as well.”

The team will include Damien Howson, Cristian Meier, Daryl Impey, and both Adam Yates and Svein Tuft, who are returning to the peloton after being sidelined from injuries. Tuft crashed at the Tour de Romandie and sustained a broken wrist and possibly fractured thorax, while Yates broke his finger at Pais Vasco.

“Adam and Svein’s focus for this tour is preparation for races to come,” Wilson said. “They are coming back from injury, Adam with his hand and Svein with his sternum, and trying to get back into good form.”

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