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USA Cycling creates Steve Tilford Memorial Fund - News shorts

USA Cycling has created the Steve Tilford Memorial Fund to support the federation's anti-doping efforts. The fund was set up at the request of Tilford's family.

Tilford, the first US mountain bike national champion in 1983 and hall of fame inductee, died April 5 after he was struck by a vehicle while waiting at the scene of a prior accident that involved a van in which he was riding.

New race added to La Course by Tour de France

Organisers of La Course by Tour de France have added a new challenge to this year's event: a unique pursuit race that will take the top riders into the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 22 and will coincide with the penultimate stage of the Tour de France, a 23km time trial in Marseille.

The participants for the women's race will be limited to either the top 20 in the originally La Course race up the Col d'Izoard, or all of the riders who reached the top of the climb within five minutes of the winner.

Riders will have staggered starts based upon their gap to the winner up the Izoard, who starts first. Rather than race individually against the clock on time trial bikes, riders will race on regular road bikes, and can collaborate to try to chase down the leader. The first rider into the Velodrome wins.

Frankiny has heart procedure

BMC's Kilian Frankiny will be out of action for a couple weeks to undergo a procedure to correct a heart condition detected while he was racing the Tour of the Alps.

The Swiss rider first felt odd sensations during the Vuelta a Catalunya, and was diagnosed with supra-ventricular tachycardia (SVT), which causes short episodes of extremely high heart rates.

"I can't really explain the feeling, it's a special feeling, but you can feel that something is not quite right. We checked my files and saw that my heart rate would go up to around 220-230 beats per minute for 10-20 seconds," Frankiny said.

"When I've had the episodes recently I've been worried and when you have something like this you always think about it, so it will be good to get it fixed so that I can concentrate on racing again."

The team's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said the condition did not hamper Frankiny's performance and his heart is healthy, but the continued episodes led to a recommendation to have radio frequency ablation to prevent future issues. 

"The recovery time for an athlete after this procedure is around one week to ten days," Testa said. "However, we will follow the recommendations of the specialists at the University Hospital of Bern, where the procedure will be performed, to determine the exact recovery required. We will take every precaution necessary with Kilian's recovery and won't rush to have him back at the start line before he is fit to do so."

Rivera loses Women's WorldTour lead

After Team Sunweb opted to field a team for the inaugural women's Liège-Bastogne-Liège without its UCI Women's World Tour leader, Coryn Rivera, the American dropped out of the series lead after Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) swept the Ardennes classics, and the ever-consistent Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) took over the magenta jersey.

Rivera, who won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Tour of Flanders, was prepared to concede the magenta jersey of series leader before the race.

"It's been one hell of a ride and it's only getting started," Rivera wrote on Instagram. "I could have never imagined even getting close to the UCI Women's World Tour magenta leader's jersey this season, I owe it to the girls and staff of Team Sunweb and all my people that are always in my corner. This is one of the hardest sports in the world and it truly takes a team effort to get to the top. I may lose the lead after tomorrow's race but - it ain't over till it's over! Best of luck to the Team Sunweb girls racing Liege-Bastogne-Liege tomorrow. I will be cheering! On deck for me: Tour of Yorkshire!"

The Women's Tour de Yorkshire takes place on April 29, coinciding with stage 2 of the men's Tour, from Tadcaster to Harrogate.

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