News shorts: Tony Gallopin outlines early season racing schedule

Tony Gallopin's 2016 season will begin with the Grand Prix La Marseillaise for the third year in a row, the Lotto Soudal rider confirmed to French website cycling-pro. The 27-year-old's first five races of the season also repeats his 2015 program as he lines up at Etoile de Bessèges, Volta ao Algarve, Paris Nice and Milan-San Remo.

"Later I will do the Tour of the Basque Country to prepare for the Ardennes classics. I considered doing the Volta a Catalunya but finally I will stick to the idea of the Basque Country. Last year, it was a good experience so I keep this program to try try to improve," Gallopin said. 

Gallopin didn't reach the heights of his 2014 season this year when he was a stage winner and yellow jersey wearer at the 2014 Tour de France, with his 2015 highlights including wins at Paris-Nice at Etoile de Bessèges, and numerous top-ten results  including ninth at Milan-San Remo and seventh at both the Worlds and Il Lombardia.

The Frenchman is aiming to add the Olympics to his schedule next season and could also race the Vuelta a Espana over the Canadian WorldTour races for the first time since 2010.

"I could do the Tour-Vuelta double but at the same time I also like the Canadian classics. It is not yet defined, I'll see in the second part of the season," added Gallopin who will also race the Critérium du Dauphiné and French nationals.

Tony Gallopin on the podium at Paris-Nice (Getty Images Sport)

IAM Cycling to test disc brakes in select stage races 

Swiss WorldTour team IAM Cycling have told Cyclingnews the team will only use disc brakes at specific races next season following the announcement from the UCI that disc brakes will be allowed at all professional races from January 1. The team, who ride Scott bikes, first used disc brake equipped bicycles this season at the GP Isbergues and Tour de l'Eurométropole.

"There is no clear yet [sic] but certainly not in the classic race or during one-day races. It's quite possible that we will again test the brakes disc in some smaller races stages," read a statement from the team.

There have been mixed responses so far to the UCI's decision with Alex Dowsett one of the riders to raise questions regarding the safety of the braking system.

Click here to read Cyclingnews guide to disc brakes in the peloton.

Orica profits hit hard by Australian Tax office

Orica, the minerals explosion company who sponsor the Orica-GreenEdge and Orica-AIS team, have taken a AU$36 million hit to its profits following a ruling by the Australian Federal Court found it had avoided tax by using "round robin" financing arrangement it put in place a decade ago to boost its profit and ward off takeover bids, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Orica's annual report noted the company was asked for revised tax assessments for 2004, 2005 and 2006 from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Federal Court judge Tony Pagone reportedly found the company used three schemes that included "Orica Finance, borrow $US265 million from its low-income-producing United States subsidiary to provide the entity with interest payments while assuming some of the entity's losses." Orica Finance also provided loans to the New Zealand and Canadian businesses which earned interest.

"The cumulative effect of the transactions in question over Orica's 2002 to 2006 income years was a cumulative increase in the consolidated profit of the Orica group of A$33.8m," Justice Pagone said.

Orica is reported to be reviewing the decision and seeking legal advice.

The announcement from Orica saw its share price fall to $15.02 at the end of trading on Tuesday. The company's share price has fallen from a high of $22.52 in June before a short rise in October. In November last year Orica announced it was extending its sponsorship for a further two years although Gerry Ryan, the Orica-GreenEdge team owner, has been searching for a co-sponsor this season.

The Orica logo features prominently on the front of the team jersey.

Shane Perkins in training mode to ensure 2016 Rio Olympics selection

Track sprinter Shane Perkins has been hitting the gym up to six times a week in Adelaide since October's Oceania Championships in a bid to regain his position on Cycling Australia's high performance program. Perkins, a bronze medallist from the 2012 London Olympic games, explained to The Advertiser he was disappointed by the decision but is looking to do his best at the upcoming national championships to prove he is worthy of a place in the team at next year's Games.

"It was their call and I’m just running with it,” Perkins said. “It’s a bit confusing to some extent but at the same time they’ve got their reasons and direction they want to go, I’m not going to argue with them because I don’t want to be that kind of rider.

"I’ve got to move on and keep doing what I love which is riding my bike, and in the short term leading up to nationals I’ll be coaching myself with the help of SASI (South Australian Sports Institute) and (coach) Jason Niblett."

Mitch Bullen and Perkins were initially informed at the Paris World Championships in February that their results over the next six months would be crucial to their Rio aspirations with the final decision then made post-Oceanias to cut the duo from the program explained CA high performance director Kevin Tabotta.

"And that is that we’re not going to head forward from a scholarship point of view but they are still fully eligible to make a national team," Tabotta said. It’s not unusual for athletes to go out of the high performance program and come back in, Kaarle McCulloch did it after working with her state system. "And we’re having ongoing discussions with Shane about what are the next steps ... like any de-selection, change is difficult."

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