Rabobank-Liv/Giant presented with ambition to improve on an incredible 2012
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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Rabobank-Liv/Giant presented with ambition to improve on an incredible 2012

by Ben Atkins at 6:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Marianne Vos and Annemiek van Vleuten lead a team of young talent and new names

rabobank-liv/giantThe Rabobank-Liv/Giant women’s team was presented to the media yesterday, at the Rabobank Marquisate in the city of Bergen op Zoom, in the south of the Netherlands, with the stated ambition of improving on what was an incredible 2012 season. Team leader Marianne Vos won almost everything possible last year, including the World and Olympic titles, the women’s Giro d’Italia, and the overall World Cup, and will be backed up by Netherlands champion Annemiek van Vleuten once again, as well as a host of young talents and new signings.

Although it pulled its name [although not all of its cash - ed] from supporting the men’s WorldTour team, a desire to continuing sponsorship of Vos means that Rabobank as stayed in the women’s sport. The team also has increased investment from bike sponsor Giant, who is using the team to promote its women’s range, Liv/GIant.

Present at the presentation was Heleen Crielaard, representing Rabobank, Harold Knebel, the former general manager of the Rabobank teams, and Tom Davies from Giant, who sit on the team’s three-member foundation board.

“This is a team where lots of beautiful things happen,” said Crielaard. “The great thing is, that what happens at this women’s team, actually really fits the way Rabobank has always supported the cycle sport. Marianne and Annemiek are, of course, the top ones, but they are also looking after the younger talents within their team. Such a system guarantees success; now and in the future.”

Vos herself has, of course, already seen action in 2013, and took an unprecedented sixth cyclocross World title in Louisville, Kentucky, last weekend. The 25-year-old will be looking to match many of her 2012 results, but will also be competing in mountainbike races to add some variety to her season.

“After the Olympic Games and the World championships, I had to recharge again of course,” Vos explained. “I didn't know what to expect from myself in the ‘cross season, but it was so fantastic that it has motivated me tremendously for this year. The way I became world champion last week, has also surprised me. It's the perfect start to this year. World champion when you do not know what to expect before the onset of winter, is fantastic.

“I have ridden my mountain bike sinc eI was a junior, but hardly ever in competition,” she added. “It is an exploration in that area this season. I will combine a number of mountain bike races with the road programme. Initially only in national competitions, but then we'll see.”

Tatiana Antoshina, Sarah Düster and Lauren Kitchen have all left the team, but Dutch climber Lucinda Brand, Swiss mountainbiker Jolanda Neff and US national champion Megan Guarnier are the new signings for 2013. Along with these three new names, cyclocross specialists Sanne van Paassen and Sabrina Stultiëns - who joined in mid-2012 as the Brainwash wielerploeg was absorbed into the team - will ride in the road team this year.

“We have a lot of young talent in the squad, but I think there is an especially good mix of veterans and young people,” said directeur sportif Koos Moerenhout, who replaces Jeroen Blijlevens as the former sprinter moves to the Blanco men’s team. “In addition, our experienced cyclists are fantastic with the young talents.

"I can only go off after all these successes of my predecessor,” he said of the team’s ambitions for 2013. “However, the ambitions are there and, although it sounds crazy, I still see points that can be better. We will also work hard on the team time trial, because that was a bit lacking last year.”

The Rabobank-Liv/Giant begin its road season at the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, where Belgian Liesbet De Vocht unfortunately fractured two bones in her back in a stage three crash. The team will now travel to Spain for a training camp, before riding the European opener, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, on February 23rd.

Rabobank-Liv/Giant team 2013
Lucinda Brand, Thalita de Jong, Liesbet De Vocht, Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Megan Guarnier, Roxane Knetemann, Jolanda Neff, Iris Slappendel, Sabrina Stultiëns, Rebecca Talen, Sanne van Paassen, Annemiek van Vleuten and Marianne Vos

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