Reus searching for a new team after UnitedHealthcare contract not extended
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reus searching for a new team after UnitedHealthcare contract not extended

by VeloNation Press at 8:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Tour of Portugal winner disappointed but believes there’s still time

Kai ReusAfter one season with the UnitedHealthcare team, and despite a victory on stage seven of the Tour of Portugal, former world junior champion Kai Reus is without a contract for next season.

The American team confirmed its complete lineup this week and has chosen not to retain the services of Reus. “This feels like a double blow,” he told AD.nl. “In mid-September my mother died and now I’m still without a team. I feel a bit let down.”

Reus’ season with the team got off to a slow start due to the effects of a training crash, and he missed several races as a result. However things picked up after that, with his victory in Portugal showing that he still has a lot of strength despite some setbacks during his career.

“At the end of the season the weather was very nice,” he explained to Radio TV Noord Holland. ‘I had a good race in the Tour of Portugal and the Tour of Britain.”

Reus’s junior worlds victory in 2003 and his under 23 Liège–Bastogne–Liège success three years later marked him out as a rider who could become one of the best in the world, but things haven’t gone smoothly since. In 2007, he crashed during his first pro season, suffered head injuries and ended up in a coma.

He fought back from that and went on to win a stage and finish fourth overall in the 2009 Tour of Britain, but then contracted mononucleosis and struggled to find his best form. He became frustrated and walked away from the sport the following summer.

However a return to his childhood sport of speed skating enabled him to physically and mentally recharge and, determined to give the sport another shot, he began training again early last year. He started racing again in the Dutch national time trial championships at the end of June and finished a very solid 13th out of 40 riders.

Then in August Reus won stage one of the Tour de Mi Aout en Bretagne with the small De Rijke team, showing that his comeback is progressing well. He joined his friend Marc de Maar in moving to UnitedHealthcare, and after taking his victory in Portugal, expected to remain on board in 2013.

However that assumption wasn’t correct. “I was suddenly told that they would not go with me. They will mainly deal with American riders,” he said.

He wants to remain in the sport and believes that it should be possible to find something. “It's a difficult time with all the doping affairs. Moreover, just about everyone as cycling is currently on vacation,” Reus explained. “But there are some contacts. I have faith.”

Reus intended doing more speed skating this winter to remain in shape, but will presumably also clock up kilometres on the bike to be ready to compete again if he gets a replacement team.

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