News shorts: Tour de San Luis confirms 26 teams

The Tour de San Luis confirmed the participation of 26 teams in the 2015 race, which will take place on January 19-25. The race attracted seven WorldTour teams, including the Etixx-Quickstep squad of World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Mark Cavendish, and the Movistar team, which will decide in December whether or not it will bring the race's 2014 champion Nairo Quintana.

Also signed on for the race is Team Europcar, which will bring Thomas Voeckler, AG2R-La Mondiale which will field Carlos Betancur, Lampre-Farnese Vini with Filippo Pozzato, Cannondale-Garmin and Katusha.

Six Pro Continental teams will take part, including UnitedHealthcare, with new signing Janez Brajkovic and Vini Fantini-Nippo with its new rider Damiano Cunego. Androni Giocattoli, Bretagne-Séché Environnement, Team Colombia; Vini Fantini-Nippo and Team Novo Nordisk will also take part.

Of the seven Continental teams, only one US squad will attend, the Jamis-Hagens Berman team, with Argentinean teams San Luis Somos Todos, Buenos Aires Province and SEP San Juan, plus the Brazilian Funvic team, the Spanish Murias Taldea team and Inteja-MMR from the Dominican Republic rounding out the list.

There will also be six national teams: Argentina, Italy, Cuba, Chile, Uruguay and Panama.

The race expands outside of the borders of San Luis in 2015, with the start of stage 4 and 6 beginning in Córdoba. There are three mountain finishes, the Mirador de Potrero on stage 2, the Alto El Amago on stage 4 and the stage 6 finish to Filo Comechingone Sierras, a longer ascent than the traditional finish at Mirador del Sol in Merlo.

2015 Tour de San Luis:
Stage 1: San Luis - Villa Mercedes (186.8 km)
Stage 2: La Punta - Mirador de Potrero (185.3 km)
Stage 3: Concarán - Juana Koslay (176.3 km)
Stage 4: Villa Dolores (Córdoba) - Alto El Amago (142.5 km)
Stage 5: San Luis (17.4 km) ITT
Stage 6: Achiras (Córdoba) - Filo Sierras Comechingone (117.5km)
Stage 7: San Luis - San Luis (122.4 km)

Grivko, Taaramäe support charities

Astana riders Andriy Grivko and Rein Taaramäe are both hoping to give back what cycling has given to them this winter by raising money for charity. Grivko has announced that he will auction off the bike that he rode at this year's Tour de France to help injured soldiers fighting in Ukraine, while Taaramäe is hoping to raise money to give bikes to disadvantaged children in Estonia.

Grivko told Ukrainian website Sportonline that it was a difficult to give away his bike, which was also used at the World Championships in September. "Of course, I'm sorry to give it. But I had this idea a long time ago. I want to make a contribution to help soldiers in this difficult time for the country. I have seen the example of Yaroslav Popovych, who auctioned his trophies."

Grivko was born in Bilohirsk Raion in the Crimea and is a former national time trial and road race champion. He supported Vincenzo Nibali in his ride for the yellow jersey at this year's Tour de France and spoke of his anguish at his family being caught up in the war that began earlier this year. Grivko has been unable to return to his home country since the Crimea was annexed in March of this year.

His soon to be teammate Taaramäe has starting an online fundraising campaign to raise enough money for four bicycles to give to disadvantaged children. In return for donations, Taarmae is giving away a number of his jerseys, including his Estonian national championships jersey. The campaign is being run through his own club, the Rein Taaramäe Rattaklubi, which was created three years ago.

"I have created my own named cycling club which is directed to children whose family does not have enough resources to buy a bicycle," a statement reads on the fundraising page. "With your help we can put a smile on a child's face with a new bicycle! We need 4 (more the better of course) bicycles."

Taaramäe is looking to raise around €2,500. If you wish, you can find Taaramäe's fundraising page hereäe-s-charity-program.

Ride with MTN-Qhubkea

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung has invited the public to join them in a ride in the Western Cape of South Africa on November 29.

The team will be holding its first training camp ahead of the 2015 season from November 23-30 at the Spier Wine Farm, the provincial partner of the Wildlands Conservation Trust and the Qhubeka foundation. 

The public can sign up to join them on Saturday 29 Novembe, with an option for a post ride brunch and Q&A with the riders.

More details can be found on the event website.

UCI Africa Tour to be decided in Rwanda

A close-fought classification in the UCI Africa Tour will be decided on the roads of Rwanda next week. The top three riders in the individual classification, Mouhissine Lahsaini (Morocco), Azzedine Lagab (Algeria) and Mekseb Debesay (Eritrea) are separated by only 15 points and will battle in the UCI 2.2-ranked stage race that takes place from November 16-23.

Debesay moved himself up in the rankings by winning the Grand prix Chantal Biya earlier this month.

The Tour of Rwanda will pay tribute this year to its former national champion John Njoroge Muya, who died in a crash with a car while leading the Tour of Matabungkay in the Philippines in October.

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