Vacansoleil-DCM presents its 2013 team with “pure, pride and passion”
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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Vacansoleil-DCM presents its 2013 team with “pure, pride and passion”

by Ben Atkins at 11:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“We want to at least equal the highest peaks [of 2012],” says Dutch team boss Daan Luijkx

vacansoleil-dcmThe Vacansoleil-DCM team was presented today at the EYE, a film museum and theatre in the Netherlands capital, Amsterdam, with the key words of “pure, pride and passion.” 2013 will be the fifth year of existence for the Dutch WorldTour team, and its third at the top level of the sport; 2012 saw its biggest results to date, with Thomas De Gendt’s Stelvio stage victory and third place overall in the Giro d’Italia the highlight.

“We want to at least equal the highest peaks,” said general manager Daan Luijkx as he introduced the team, while explaining that the Dutch squad is also looking for more consistency in its results.

Along with a number of riders, Vacansoleil-DCM also welcomes a new directeur sportif, in the shape of former rider Aart Vierhouten. The 42-year-old Dutchman spent the final year of his career, in 2009, at what was then the brand new Vacansoleil team; since retirement - as well as working as a summariser for Dutch radio station NOS at the Tour de France - has been coaching juniors and espoirs with the Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU).

“I started work on 1 December”, Vierhouten said. “That meant talking a lot straight away, in order to coordinate our visions.

“Long term planning is at the heart of my strategy”, he says. “If I look at the individual qualities within Vacansoleil-DCM, I can see it has the potential to be a top team. Last season, the forward momentum of the team halted somewhat. It has to be rediscovered in 2013. It is my job to increase the return. Road cycling is an individual team sport.  At the moment that matters, you have to function as a team. Sometimes something doesn't matter to an individual, but he’ll be the piece of the puzzle that will lead the team to victory. I want to see this kind of well-oiled machine.”

Vierhouten appeared on the stage alongside the team’s three youngest riders in Danny van Poppel, Maurits Lammertink and Wesley Kreder to emphasise the youthful character of the squad. Special attention, however, was given to new signing Juan Antonio Flecha who, at 35 years old, becomes the team’s second oldest, and is one of only three riders in the team over the age of 30. The Spanish rider joins after three years at Team Sky, where he will hope to find more opportunities to work towards his own goals.

Luijkx was keen not to avoid the big issues currently facing cycling - particularly with Lance Armstrong appearing in the mainstream news once again - but spoke with optimism about the team of riders and staff that Vacansoleil-DCM has put together.

“The sport is being damaged,” he said. “There only is attention for the bad things and hardly for the performances.

“This season, in our fifth year as a professional team and our third year in the World Tour, we’ll be more professional organised than ever before. We have invested hugely in our staff, but in the same time we are in a difficult era. We fight for credibility and I hope that our sponsors won’t let our beloved sport down.”

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