White label/Rabobank team misses out on Qatar, looking for replacement race
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

White label/Rabobank team misses out on Qatar, looking for replacement race

by Shane Stokes at 6:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar, Tour de Langkawi
 
Team confirms it will make its Tour de Langkawi debut at end of February

Robert GesinkThe team previously known as Rabobank is currently working to pinpoint another race to compete in February after learning that it will not be given a place in the Tour of Qatar.

“We didn't get an invitation as the ASO told us they wanted to have Vacansoleil this time …they had to chose out of three Dutch teams. Argos will apparently also go there,” team spokesman Richard Plugge told VeloNation today.

“We will try to find other races in February. There are some races in southern Europe which have problems as well, so that makes things a little uncertain. We will be sending a team to Langkawi but are looking for a race for a second team of riders after learning that Qatar won’t happen.”

The Tour of Langkawi will take place between February 21st and March 2nd. The Tour of Qatar will run earlier, from February 3rd until 8th.

Plugge said that he was not sure what chances the team had of getting into the Tour of Oman. Robert Gesink won that race two years ago.

Race schedules aside, the Dutch outfit was affected by different type of uncertainty on October 19th when Rabobank announced that it was walking away after many years of supporting pro cycling. It referred to the doping by Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team, saying that it was ‘no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport.’

This decision led to criticism from a range of people, including pro rider David Millar, plus other sponsors who said that they would remain in the sport and push for a better future.

Plugge told VeloNation on November 2nd that the if the team did not find a new backer, that under Dutch law Rabobank would be compelled to honour the agreements in place. This means that the riders’ contracts must be honoured in the event of no replacement sponsor being found.

However in order to guarantee the long-term future of the squad, team management have been working hard to secure a new backer.

Plugge said today that those talks were still ongoing and that the team was negotiating with several companies. “Things are not finished, but everything is going on schedule,” he said. “We still have a lot of talks and things like that with potential sponsors, but we are happy with how things are going.

“However there is nothing concrete to report as yet.”

He confirmed that a temporary team name will be revealed next week at its training camp. This will be along the lines of the 1t4i title used by the old Skil team prior to it revealing Argos Shimano as its backers.

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