Emma Pooley confirmed with AA Drink-Leontien.nl, other Garmin-Cervelo women also linked
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Emma Pooley confirmed with AA Drink-Leontien.nl, other Garmin-Cervelo women also linked

by Ben Atkins at 6:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Dutch team reported as stepping in to save Olympic hopefuls’ 2012 seasons

emma pooleyEmma Pooley has confirmed to VeloNation that she is to join the AA Drink-Leontien.nl team, while the New Year could also bring good news for the rest of the effectively disbanded Garmin-Cervélo women’s team. According to wielerland.nl, five of Pooley’s teammates will be following the Olympic silver medallist and former World time trial champion to the Dutch team, while the other has been signed by new Australian team GreenEDGE-AIS.

"I'm happy to be able to confirm that I'll be riding for the Dutch team AA Drink in 2012," Pooley confirmed to VeloNation via email.

Pooley has long been linked with a possible move to the team, which is headed by retired Dutch legend Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel; VeloNation has since been told by good sources that the deal was likely to happen, and that Cervélo would supply bikes to the Dutch squad.

The US Garmin-Cervélo team, which is linked to the men’s WorldTour team of the same name, has effectively ended after it emerged last month that there was no budget available to run the racing programme; although the women’s salaries were protected by contract.

With the news that there would only be a small racing programme, if at all, the nine members of the ten-woman team that were contracted for 2012 were advised that they could seek alternative teams. Dutch woman Iris Slappendel was almost immediately snapped up by the new women’s Rabobank team, while Italian champion Noemi Cantele has since gone to new team BePink; until now though, there had been no definite news as to the prospects of the other six.

Wielerland.nl now claims that, in addition to Pooley, British champion Lizzie Armitstead, fellow Britons Sharon Laws and Lucy Martin, Belgian Jessie Daams, and former Australian champion Carla Ryan will be joining the Dutch team.

When VeloNation contacted Armitstead last month she denied that this would be the case – there would be an obvious overlap between the British champion and both emerging Dutch talent Chantal Blaak and Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild, as well as new signing Shelley Olds – but circumstances may well have changed; Armitstead and the other riders have been contacted again, but have yet to respond.

Separate reports, including the Twitter page of former Australian time trial champion Bridie O’Donnell, report that the last remaining 2012 Garmin-Cervélo rider, current Australian champion Alex Rhodes, has been signed by the new GreenEDGE-AIS team.

With a number of riders departing AA Drink-Leontien.nl this year, including World time trial silver medallist Linda Villimsen (GreenEDGE-AIS), German Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) and Irene van den Broek (Dolmans Landscaping) there is certainly room in the team’s roster for the six new faces.

With the quality of the riders, the Dutch team would be transformed from a strong team to one of the strongest super-teams in the sport.


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