Iris Slappendel attends Rabobank training camp as Garmin-Cervélo women still unsure of future
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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Iris Slappendel attends Rabobank training camp as Garmin-Cervélo women still unsure of future

by Ben Atkins at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
No transfer confirmed for Dutch rider as some of the World’s top riders flounder for new teams

The new Rabobank women’s team held its first get together in the Limburg town of Valkenberg, in the south of the Netherlands, this week, and the team has posted two videos to its website. All of the expected names were in attendance, including World number one Marianne Vos, World Cup winner Annemiek van Vleuten, and miraculously recovered para-athlete Monique van der Vorst. One unexpected face that can be seen in both videos though, is that of Garmin-Cervélo rider Iris Slappendel.

Since it emerged last week that the Garmin-Cervélo women’s team was under threat, due to a lack of available funding, the riders have been told that they may seek alternative teams elsewhere.

“I could cut the schedule down to like 15 race days but it’s an Olympic year and that’s not really fair to these riders,” Jonathan Vaughters has said, according to Bicycling magazine columnist Joe Lindsey. “I am confident they’ll find other teams.”

Whether or not Slappendel has managed to secure a spot on Vos’ new team though – and it is a sign that the exodus has begun from what was once one of the biggest teams in the women’s sport – the Dutchwoman wouldn’t be drawn.

“Very clever of you!” Slappendel joked to VeloNation when we told her that we’d seen her in the Rabobank videos. “Unfortunately I can't say anything about it, there is nothing official yet. We are all still waiting on an official something from [Jonathan Vaughters].

“But I can say I am also very disappointed about the way things go,” she added. “If Garmin really stops the women's team it's a big loss for womens cycling and a great team gone.

“I let you know more when I know more!”

VeloNation contacted the Rabobank team, but it too declined to comment.

With 2012 fast approaching, most of the team also still seem to be in the dark about their immediate future and that of the team. VeloNation has been in contact with a number of riders, but most are still unwilling, or unable, to comment on the situation.

“We still have not had 100 percent confirmation that the team will be folding,” one rider told us, “so really I can't tell you much except that really none of us really have much of a clue as to what is going on.”

Some, or all of the team’s nine riders contracted for 2012 – which include former World time trial champion Emma Pooley, and reigning British, Australian and Italian champions Lizzie Armitstead, Alex Rhodes and Noemi Cantele – are actively seeking new teams but, with the new year approaching are finding that most of the best ones are already full.

Armitstead and Pooley, at least, are contenders for medals at the Olympic Games in London next summer; it seems inconceivable that they might be without a team as they prepare for the event.

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