Ambitious Boels-Dolmans team presented in the Netherlands
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ambitious Boels-Dolmans team presented in the Netherlands

by Ben Atkins at 8:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
Lizzie Armitstead and Adrie Visser lead a host of new signings in orange and black Dutch team

lizzie armitstead,emma trottThe Boels-Dolmans women’s cycling team was presented in Heerlen, in the southern Netherlands, yesterday with ambition in its much-changed line up for 2013. The Dutch team was known as Dolmans-Boels in 2012, but its two main sponsors have switched around thanks to an increased, multi-year commitment from car rental firm Boels - including the taking over of sponsorship of the Holland Ladies Tour - which has allowed the team to sign a number of high-profile riders.

“A great deal was invested in new riders this winter, who will be a major asset to the team, hopefully from the start to the end of the season,” said team manager Danny Stam, who is a new name himself as he joins from now-defunct AA “I am therefore hopeful of a strong start in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which could give the team a good push in the right direction.

“Our strength lies in the one-day races, and we’ve set our sights firmly on the World Cup races,” Stam explained. “I really believe we can be one of the leading teams in those kinds of competitions. And then it’s up to the riders – with my guidance of course – to bring it to a good conclusion. What’s most important is that we achieve our goals and earn spots on the stage by winning important one-day races. Apart from that, I hope to compete for a spot on the stage with these riders in the Team Time Trial World Championship.”

Of the 2012 team, only Nina Kessler, Martine Bras, Pauliena Rooijakkers and Emma Trott (pictured, right) remain; among the new names are Lizzie Armitstead (pictured, left) and Lucy Martin - who take the team’s British contingent up to three - and Belgian Jessie Daams, and Dutchwoman Marieke van Wanrooij, who all follow Stam from AA

Armitstead, the silver medallist from the London 2012 Olympic road race, has the women’s version of the Ronde van Vlaanderen as her main target for the spring; a race where she feels she can do well.

“I’ve already ridden this race once and was lacking the necessary route knowledge to compete directly for a place on the podium,” said the Yorkshirewoman. “The combination of cobblestones and hills makes this race a tough one, yet I’ve become charmed – you might say enamoured – by the ambience and challenge of this competition. I’d like to earn a spot on the stage this coming season, and winning would be absolutely fantastic.

“Other major goals this season are the British Championship and World Championship in Florence at the end of the year,” she added. “Other than that, I’m mostly hoping for a solid and stable season.”

German Romy Kasper joins the team, after a year at RusVelo, while Kim de Baat steps up to the top level from small Dutch team Specialized DPD SRAM.

The big Dutch name to join the team, however, is that of Adrie Visser; the former DSB Bank and HTC-Highroad rider comes over after one year at Skil-Argos.

“Most of the girls are used to professional cycling teams,” said Visser. “Personally, I’ve ridden for teams like AA Drink, DSB and High Road. In those kinds of teams, you learn that a team win is all-important and that everyone is expected to give it their all to make that happen.

“The one who gets to wave with the flowers is of secondary importance,” she explained. “It could be a team member who gets to do the honours the one time and the next time it might be my turn. It’s really important to discuss how you’re feeling during the race, whether you are able to complete it, and then together come up with a plan.

“With the experience of riders like Martine Bras and Lizzie Armitstead – as well as the other riders who have been part of a professional team for longer – I don’t think it’ll take us long to figure this out,” Visser concluded. “In fact, I think that one of our team’s strengths could be that we have more than one rider who can dominate a race, making it difficult for the competitors to tailor their tactics to us.”

Bras, de Baat and Rooijakkers have already seen action in 2013 at the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, as part of the Netherlands national team [Boels-Dolmans was reportedly not invited, only because there were already three Dutch teams on the start line - ed] but the team itself will start its season at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 23rd.

Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team 2013
Kim de Baat, Martine Bras, Nina Kessler, Pauliena Rooijakkers, Adrie Visser, Marieke van Wanrooij (all Ned), Elizabeth Armitstead, Lucy Martin, Emma Trott (all GBr), Jessie Daams (Bel) and Romy Kasper (Ger)

Click on the thumbnails for a short gallery of pictures from the Boels-Dolmans team presentation




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