News shorts: Ulissi leads Lampre in Japan, Bazzana left off UnitedHealthcare's reduced roster for 2016

Ulissi leads Lampre-Merida at Japan Cup 

Diego Ulissi will lead the Lampre-Merida team at the upcoming Japan Cup held on October 18.

Ulissi has shown good form this fall having recently placed fifth overall at the Abu Dhabi Tour and he won the Memorial Marco Pantani. The Italian will have support from Jan Polanc, also capable of a top result, Chun Kai Feng, newcomer Edward Ravasi and Manuele Mori, who won the race in 2007.

"Our team has always been protagonist in the Japan Cup, even if we've missed some victories for some years," said sport director Bruno Vicino explained. "Our cyclists are going to participate in the Japanese race at the end of a long season, during which they spent many energies, but the motivations will be higher than the tiredness: there are many Asian fans who’ll support us and we'll receive as usual the war welcome from the sponsors."

Bazzana left off UntiedHealthcare's reduced roster for 2016

Alessandro Bazzana is hoping to bring his sprinting and breakaway skills to a new team after being left off the UnitedHealthcare's reduced roster for the 2016 season. The Italian recently competed in the Abu Dhabi Tour where he won the sprint classification.

UnitedHealthcare announced their 16-man roster for next season, which was reduced from this year's 22-man line-up. Not renewing with team were Italians Bazzana, Federico Zurlo and Daniele Ratto. The latter has signed with Androni Giocattoli, while Kiel Reijnen leaves for Trek Factory Racing. Isaac Bolivar, Hilton Clarke, Lucas Euser, Ken Hanson and Robert Forster also depart, while Davide Frattini retired.

"After competing in my third season with UnitedHealthcare I can pretty much put it out loud and say that I am on the market. UnitedHealthcare opted for a more American heart of their squad and so it's a different situation for me being a European rider that after nine years of racing as professional, and always on American teams, is forced to get connections with other organisations in order to continue doing the job I am doing," Bazzana told Cyclingnews.

Bazzana has raced for teams Fly V Australia, Team Type 1, and UnitedHealthcare for three seasons. This year he started out with a sixth overall at the Dubai Tour, where he also won the sprint classification, and he was on the podium in a stage of the World Ports Classic.

"Quite often my task of the day consists in catching the early breakaways before it's gone. It's a smaller battle within the larger battle for the final result. I may not be a champion but I fight for what I can achieve, that's what makes the game worth it and that's why I hope I'll find someone willing to give me a chance to continue doing it."

Cyclo-cross World Cup heads to the Netherlands

The best cyclo-cross racers in the world will travel to the Netherlands for the second round of the World Cup held on October 18 in Valkenburg.

The series kicked off for the first time in the US at CrossVegas in Nevada in mid-September. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) took wins in their respective elite events. Their victories pushed them into the early lead of the World Cup standings.

Van Aert is leading the men's rankings ahead of Sven Nys (Crelan) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb - Napoleon Games). Nash leads the women's standings ahead of Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol) and Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP), who is leading the new Superprestige women's rankings after winning the opening round in Gieten.

Van Paassen aims for top five in Valkenburg World Cup

Dutch rider Sanne Van Paassen (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) is hoping to pull off a top-five performance at the second World Cup held on home soil in Valkenburg.

She returns to cyclo-cross after sustaining an injury last season, but her recent sixth-place performance in the first round at CrossVegas, shows that she is on track to achieving her goals this coming season, which is to be in the top five during two World Cups.

"My sixth place in the cross of Las Vegas has given me the confidence at the beginning of this season, I have made another step toward this winter and my targets well be very realistic," she told

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