Alberda looking forward to Cervélo challenge
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alberda looking forward to Cervélo challenge

by Conal Andrews at 2:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Yesterday brought the news that Joop Alberda has been signed as the new general manager of the Cervélo Test Team. Apart from the sudden departure of Thomas Campana, the announcement was a surprising one for another reason.

Alberda has got a highly successful background in sport, and has led a group of competitor to an Olympic medal. However, that achievement was actually in volleyball and, by his own admission, he doesn’t have a huge amount of experience in cycling.

Rather than being intimidated, though, he’s up for the challenge. He knows that the directeurs sportif will be making the actual sporting decisions, and his role is more as an administrator and overseer.

“I always had an interest in every Olympic sport, including cycling'', he told Sportwereld. “It is a beautiful sport that is close to people and where a high degree of effort required to succeed.''

The Dutchman played soccer, volleyball and gymnastics and is one of the most famous sports managers in the Netherlands. After guiding the men’s volleyball team to Olympic gold in 1996, he took up a post as technical director for the Dutch Olympic Committee and worked there until 2004. During that time the country took a record 25 medals in Sydney 2000.

More recently he worked as general manager for the Russian national soccer team, helping them to qualify for last year’s European championships and reach the semi-final. He’s currently the chairman of the national organisation for coaches in the Netherlands, Nlcoach.

He confirmed that he won’t have to direct the riders when they are in the heat of competition. "I'm not going to interfere with the race strategy'', he explained, “because I’m not from this background. But I must make sure that we have cyclists who want to make the bikes better, as that is a major spearhead of the team.''

He’ll be in charge of general organisation, managing the sports directors, ensuring the riders remain approachable to the fans and other tasks. He’ll hope to build on the superb first season the men had in 2009, where they won stages in the three Grand Tours and took high placings in several Classics.

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