Tour de France could start in Norway
Foreign starts at the Tour de France, and at Grand Tours in general, are becoming a much more regular occurrence and highly sought after. According to a report on Procycling.no, Norwegian oil company Statoil is looking to bring the Grand Tour to Stavanger, on the western coast of the country, to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.
Tour de France organiser ASO already has a foothold in Norway with the 2.HC Arctic Race of Norway.
This year's Road World Championships will also be held in Bergen – the second time that the country has held the road worlds after first hosting them in 1993.
The report also says that the local governments of Stavanger and the country capital Olso could see a new race brought to the region at the same time as the proposed Grand Depart.
Norway is home to 10 WorldTour riders, including Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff. It also hosts six UCI categorised races, including the Arctic Race of Norway, the Tour de Fjords and the Women's WorldTour event the Ladies Tour of Norway.
The Tour de France is due to start in the Vendee region of France next season, while Brussels will play host to the Grand Depart in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx's first Tour de France win.
Pinot and Demare plan post-Tour de France calendar
Thibaut Pinot and Arnaud Demare are both set to return to racing in the coming weeks after both FDJ riders failed to finish the Tour de France. Pinot will be back in action at the Clasica San Sebastian this Saturday, while Demare's return comes a little later at the BinckBank Tour on August 7.
Both Pinot and Demare left the Tour de France early in what ended up being a difficult Grand Boucle for the FDJ squad. It started well with Demare taking victory on stage 4, along with two second places, but he fell ill towards the end of the first week and missed the time cut with three other teammates on stage 9.
Pinot, who finished fourth overall at the Giro d'Italia, lasted a little longer than his teammate, saving energy in the opening week in the hope that he could add another Tour de France stage win to his name. However, he too fell ill and climbed off the bike just a few days away from Paris on stage 17 to Serre-Chevalier.
French newspaper L'Équipe reports that Pinot will be at San Sebastian on Saturday. It is not clear if or when he will race after that, following a busy opening to his season. FDJ confirmed Demare's next three events, which would be the multi-day BinckBank Tour (formerly Eneco Tour – August 7-13), the one-day EuroEyes Cyclassics (August 20), and Bretagne Classic-Ouest France (August 27).
Movistar names Vuelta a Espana longlist
With Nairo Quintana sitting it out after already racing two Grand Tours, and Alejandro Valverde side-lined following his stage 1 Tour de France crash, the team will go into the race with no clear general classification leader.
The Spanish team has packed its long-list with climbing talent, several of which could find themselves up the standings at the end of the race. There are also plenty of riders capable of taking a victory from a breakaway, including Giro d'Italia stage winner Gorka Izagirre.
Carlos Betancur is on the list after a decent showing at Tour de France, where he finished 18th overall. Grand Tour rookie and rising star Marc Soler is also among the 12 riders. Soler has hugely impressed this season with third at the Volta a Catalunya – which was won by Valverde – and eighth at the Tour de Suisse.
Winner Anacona, who rode the Giro d'Italia, Dani Moreno and Nelson Oliveira have also made the long-list, boosting the potential climbing talent. Completing the list of 12 are Jose Joaquin Rojas, Antonio Pedrero, Dayer Quintana, Richard Carapaz, Ruben Fernandes and Jorge Arcas.
Movistar long-list for the Vuelta a Espana: Winner Anacona, Jorge Arcas, Carlos Betancur, Richard Carapaz, Ruben Fernandes, Gorka Izagirre, Dani Moreno, Nelson Oliveira, Antonio Pedrero, Dayer Quintana, José Joaquín Rojas and Marc Soler.
AG2R-La Mondiale announces three extensions
AG2R-La Mondiale has confirmed three more riders for their 2018 line-up with Axel Domont and Francois Bidard penning new deals. Domont, who was part of the team's strong Tour de France line-up will remain with the team at least until the end of 2020, while neo-pro Bidard's deal keeps him with the squad until 2019. Ben Gastauer has also re-signed with the team through to 2020 after helping Romain Bardet to third place overall at the Tour de France.
With Domont, Bidard, and Gastauer on-board, that brings the number of riders confirmed for next season up to 23. It means that the team will remain largely unchanged for next season, with only a handful of riders without deals already secured and opportunities to join the team limited.
Tony Gallopin and Julien Vermote are among the riders rumoured to be joining next season ahead of the transfer window opening on August 1.
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