News shorts: Tour de France back on German TV? Orica extend sponsorship

Tour de France back on German TV in 2015?

Lutz Marmor, the chairman of German TV broadcaster ARD, will decide next month whether the station will return to providing a live broadcast of the Tour de France for the first time since 2011. The Tour was pulled from German TV screens after numerous doping scandals but the recent success of German riders at the race and attempts to clean up the sport has seen the national broadcaster reconsider its position.

In 2014, Marcel Kittel won four stages and wore the yellow jersey, Tony Martin won two stages and André Greipel won a stage while the Pro-Continental NetApp-Endura team made its debut at the Tour .

Orica commit to two-year sponsorship extension

Australian WorldTour team Orica-GreenEdge have announced that first naming rights sponsor Orica will extend its commitment for a further two years. The mining compnay have also extended its sponsorship of the women's Orica-AIS team.

"We're delighted to be extending our naming sponsor agreement with Orica," team owner Gerry Ryan said. "The company has been the ideal partner, helping put the team on the map in professional cycling. We have come a long way thanks to the support of Orica.

"Everyone at Orica-GreenEdge, from our riders to members of the support staff who work tirelessly to keep the team on the road are very proud of our association with Orica. We are all looking forward to sharing our future success with them."

Simon Gerrans, who signed a three-year contract extension this season with the team, also welcomed the news.

"It is fantastic news that we have prolonged the contract with Orica," Gerrans said. They're a great partner for the team and we have taken some major steps together with them these last years. The support of a global company like Orica is fundamental to us and we all look forward to developing even further with them over the next two years."

Henk Vogels steps down as Drapac's director sportif, replaced by Tom Southam

Henk Vogels has announced that he will leave Australian Pro-Continental team Drapac after one season as its director sportif in order to spend more time with his young family with former Drapac rider Tom Southam to replace him. Vogels, a former Australian national champion, isn't ruling out a return to the team in the future after his sabbatical.

"I have been privileged to be a part of the growth of the Drapac Professional Cycling team in 2014," Vogels said. "The professionalism of the team structure and the culture of the riders in the team has been inspiring. In 2015 I have decided to take a break from the rigours of travelling as a sports director and to focus instead on the growth of my own young family.

"I still possess the passion to be involved with professional cycling at the highest level, and I look forward to coming back to this level of the sport in 2016. Drapac Professional Cycling will continue on its path towards the highest echelons of the sport next year. I look forward to following the team’s progress next year, and hope that I can be involved again after then."

Jonathan Breekveldt, Drapac's general manager, expressed his gratitude to Vogels for his work throughout the year.

"It is a shame to not have Henk leading the team in 2015 as I believe we were only beginning to see the results of his hard work at the recent Tour of Hainan," Breekveldt said. "However the decision for his resignation is completely understandable and fully supported by the team. We all wish him and his family the best and thank Henk for his efforts in the 2014 season.

Southam retired from professional racing in 2011, going on to work with the Rapha Condor JTL  team as a press-officer and assistant manager.

"Often the best things that come along just feel like a very natural fit," Southam said of re-joining Drapac. "As soon as the opportunity came up with Drapac, it made complete sense to me. Not only in terms of where I am in my own career, but also the fact that my own ambitions are mirrored in the goals of this team, and it’s an organisation that I’ve known for a number of years.

Bookwalter's broken toe

A broken big toe for BMC's Brent Bookwalter isn't stopping the American from his training schedule thanks to a few nifty alterations to his cycling shoes. Bookwalter's toe was broken in a "non-exercise related accident at his home last week in Asheville, North Carolina" according to team doctor Max Testa.

"I am riding outside now with a modified shoe," Bookwalter said. "I have cut out the toe box and put a really thin insole in it and put my cleat back all the way. So I am doing all kinds of things to stay moving and pedaling."

The injury isn't expected to cause significant delays to the start of the season for Bookwalter.

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