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News Shorts: Valls out of Vuelta a España with suspected virus

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Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) distances Tejay van Garderen (BMC)

Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) distances Tejay van Garderen (BMC) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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2015 Tour of Oman champion Rafael Valls Ferri (Lampre-Merida)

2015 Tour of Oman champion Rafael Valls Ferri (Lampre-Merida) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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The Bora-Argon 18 riders at the front of the peloton

The Bora-Argon 18 riders at the front of the peloton (Image credit: ASO)
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The new Bora-Argon 18 jersey

The new Bora-Argon 18 jersey (Image credit: Bora-Argon 18)
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Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) won the 2015 World Ports Classic

Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) won the 2015 World Ports Classic (Image credit: ASO)

Rafa Valls (Lampre-Merida) was looking forward to racing on familiar training roads at the Vuelta a España but will instead be watching from home. The Spaniard has been suffering from an illness since the last stages of the Tour de France,  although a diagnosis remains forthcoming.

"We’ve been talking with the team and decided it was best not to take the departure," Valls told Marca. "I could barely prepare for the race since the end of the Tour. When I got home, I decided to rest a few days, and that’s when I got the hump. I was just dead and haven’t been able to train normally."

The 28-year-old is suffering from swollen glands and fatigue, as he described. He had been focusing on the stage in the Cumbre del Sol when the Vuelta returns to Valencia. "That stage has been a special dream for me, and I wanted to fight for it. Now I will have to watch on television."

The team announced their nine-man squad but admitted with Valls out, they have concerns for a general classification rider, choosing now to focus on each stage as they come. Lampre's other GC hopeful, Przemyslaw Niemiec, crashed during a training ride last week but is expected to start. Other riders in the squad are Mattia Cattaneo, Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Tsgabu Grmay Gebremaryam, Ilia Koshevoy, Nelson Oliveira, Ruben Plaza Molina, and Maximiliano Richeze.

Bora-Argon signs young German despite WorldTour offers

Bora-Argon 18 has announced the signing of Silvio Herklotz on a two-year contract. The young German will be making the jump to the professional ranks after riding for the last two years with German Continental outfit Team Stölting. Herklotz reportedly turned down offers from the WorldTour to join the Pro-Continental team.

"We are delighted that Silvio makes the step to the pro level with us," team manager Ralph Denk said. "Our team has shown that we are developing young riders extremely well by combining a demanding racing program with specific phases of regeneration. Respectively, we’ll also plan the first professional year for Silvio."

The German had begun racing both cyclo-cross and road at the age of nine, but has since chosen to focus his efforts completely on road. This year Herklotz has consistently finished in the top five at U23 races in Europe, with time trials and the mountains both strong points for the rider. The transition should be a smooth one with several other young German teammates on the squad.

End of the road for World Ports Classic?

Created in 2012 to continue the legacy of the 2010 Tour de France grand depart in Rotterdam, the future of the 2.1 World Ports Classics is uncertain as Het Nieuwsblad reports that the two-day race has run out of money. The ASO owned race had four year contract with Rotterdam and the funds from initial deal have now run out according to  Hans den Oudendammer of Rotterdam Topsport.

"The money has finished," den Oudendammer told the newspaper. "The city in any case, has no new money for investing. They have two months in which to seek resources from companies and organisations. Failing that, it's over. The stage race just never gave us what we had in mind. Both cities are not really satisfied with the return."

Complicating matter is the fact that Antwerp, the other host of the race, has a contract with ASO in 2016.

"There was never any question of a concept that Antwerp would be only organiser," said the city's sport coordinator Geert Bruynseels. "For us, two things are important. Firstly, what is going to happen with Rotterdam? Will they find resources? Do they continue? I hear little positive things  but maybe there's still a chance for a new start. Second, imagine that Rotterdam has no money, what will ASO do? I have asked them that question and is now waiting for an answer."

The 2015 edition of the race was won by Lotto Soudal Kris Boeckmans.

Robert Power out of upcoming Tour de l'Avenir due to knee injury

Runner-up in the 2014 Tour de l'Avenir, Robert Power will be forced to sit out of the upcoming 2015 edition due to a recent knee injury that has ended his season prematurely. The 20-year-old became the first Australian to win the Tour Valle d'Aosta, a six-stage U23 race in Italy, and would have been a strong favourite in France on Sunday.

"While it certainly is a disappointing outcome for Rob to have to finish his season this way, it also provides a clear opportunity for him to reset his preparations and arrive at Orica GreenEdge healthy and determined to make a smooth transition into his WorldTour debut season," Australia’s men’s U23 road couch James Victor said of the 20-year-old who will join the Australian WorldTour team next season.

Jayco-AIS has several riders recovering from injury and is now forced to shift their strategies ahead of the Tour de l'Avenir and later the World Championships. Jack Haig will pick up the general classification lead for the squad heading to France. Haig himself has had a mixed season punctuated with crashes.

Power will remain in Italy to focus on his recovery in order to arrive healthy for his debut on the WorldTour.

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