Worlds Shorts: The rain in Spain, Ag2r extends sponsorship

Rain expected for Elite men's road race

Weather forecasts suggest the sun will shine on Ponferrada for the next few days but rain is expected during Sunday's Elite men's road race, adding an extra factor in deciding who will win the rainbow jersey.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency suggests there is a 45% chance of rain, with temperatures of between 11-16C, while the website predicts 6mm of rain will fall on Sunday, most likely in the afternoon.

Last year the rain played a huge factor in the road race in Florence. The riders started under a downpour in Lucca and were wet for all of the six-hour race. The tough conditions contributed to making a selective race, with a small group of riders going clear on the final climb. Vincenzo Nibali crashed on the wet roads and lost his nerve on the final wet descent, while Rigoberto Uran crashed spectacularly on the final descent losing any chance of medal.

Ag2r-La Mondiale extends sponsorship until 2018

Following on from the news that Alpecin has agreed to be a title sponsor of the Giant-Shimano team, Ag2r-La Mondiale has confirmed it will continue to sponsor the French team managed by Vincent Lavenu until 2018. This year the French team had an excellent tour de France with Jean-Christophe Peraud finishing second overall behind Vincenzo Nibali.

"As general manager of the team, it is with pride and honor that I can announce to all of my riders and members of staff the renewal of our partnership with Ag2r La Mondiale until 2018," Lavenu said in a statement.

"I thank them for their strong commitment at our side. We have a chance to be supported by a faithful partner and we are committed to defending its values. The excellent results we obtained this season, in particular on the Tour de France, reward this faithfulness. This good news allows us to look on the future serenely and to build a strong team for next years."

The team has retained Peraud, talent young French stage racer Romain Bardet and Colombia's Carlos Bentancur despite his problems with the team and long absence during the summer. New signings include Classics rider Jan Bakelants from Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

Nutella sponsors Italian national team

The riders in the Italian national road race team were given a special present before traveling to Ponferrada but they will not be allowed to taste it until after Sunday's road race.

Ferrero, the makers of the Nutella chocolate and hazelnut spread gave each rider a five kilogramme jar of their product, customised with the rider's name.

Th gift seemed to give Dario Cataldo a moral boost. He tweeted a photo of himself kissing the jar of Nutella on Twitter and wrote: #Ferrero can't choice a better way to give positive moral to Italians riders for world's championship in #ponferrada

French sprinter Bryan Coquard (Europcar) has announced that his season is over after a crash at the Grand Prix d'Isbergues left him with a damaged shoulder.

Coquard could have been a contender for Paris-Tours but announced by Twitter he needs a week of the bike and so said his season is over.

The 22-year-old French rider won five races in 2014 and made is debut at the Tour de France, finishing fourth in Harrogate and London. He was also third in the points classification won by Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Rowsell critical of British Cycling

Olympic track champion Joanna Rowsell has criticised British Cycling for not fielding a rider in the Elite Women's Time Trial at the World Championships on Tuesday.

Many of the best British riders are competing at this week's national track championships in Manchester and British Cycling claimed it did not select a rider because no athlete had a chance of winning a medal.

"If every country took that attitude there would only be three girls at the start," Rowsell told the BBC.

"I think it's disappointing. Of course the argument is the experience side of things. There could be someone who's not going to medal this year, but they could perhaps in the future."

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