Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team roster for 2010 presented
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vacansoleil team for 2010 presented

by Steve Jones at 11:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

The Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team was presented today at a former convent situated on the Dutch/Belgium border. For 2010 the Pro Continental team will have 23 riders, with a total of seven new recruits for what will be its second year. Last year's debut saw the team rise in popularity with an attacking style netting thirteen wins, including a stage at the Vuelta a Espana, and more than forty podium appearances.

Vacansoleil finished off their first year second in the European Tour rankings and, as the start to their season approaches, the riders are eager to get the racing underway.

There was much speculation in the off-season as to whether team captain Johnny Hoogerland would remain with the team, but with team sponsors increasing their investment, Hoogerland along with the addition of the brothers Brice and Romain Feillu and Italian Alberto Ongarato mean the team will have even more depth on the roads this year.

Hoogerland was clear about the team's expectations saying, “We are challenging ourselves as we had massive success in 2009 but I believe 2010 will even be better.”

Team manager Daan Luijkx agrees with Hoogerland adding, “The budget and the number of staff members has increased since last winter and I sometimes have to think about the previous goals we have set since the end of 2008 to house the incredible growth. I am confident with our riders and staff and expect 100% effort.  If they achieve all new goals these will be reviewed in October. It will be difficult to achieve everything but we are challenging ourselves as cycling is a professional sport.”

So far everything has gone according to plan. Sports director Michel Cornelisse says he's excited about the first races. “When the team were training in Benidorm I saw a motivated bunch of riders that want to make their mark and others who want to achieve a result on the World Calendar in 2010.”

With lofty goals, including a podium finish in one of cycling's monuments, the team is also looking to again ride with success in at least one Grand Tour. Last year's breakthrough came in the Vuelta, but this time around Vacansoleil is eyeing the Tour de France's Grand Départ in Holland, and perhaps a start in the Giro d'Italia.

“Good results in the spring, the general development of our team with a good reputation may help us achieve places in Rotterdam, Amsterdam or Sevilla for the start of Vuelta a Espana. As an international Pro Continental team we are aware of the reliance of a wildcard and we have to prove we deserve this," explained Hilaire Van Der Schueren.

The team has put themselves in a good position for a Tour de France wildcard with the strategic aquisition of the Feillu brothers. The Frenchmen have both had success in the Tour and, as two of the country's biggest talents, are extremely popular at home. Their absence in la Grande Boucle could cause consternation in France, a situation that race organizers, the Amaury Sports Organaziation, aren't likely to ignore without some serious thought.

The management is prepared to make sure the squad doesn't to lose its way in the early season, and will look to take advantage of every possible opportunity to shine. "At first the team and sponsors focus on the first races and keep a big tour in mind while taking in our performance. Although, it's vital our riders and team can participate in at least one big tour in order to develop," said Van Der Schueren.

Expectations are realistic for the team, and they know the competition for Grand Tour wildcards will be fierce this year with new teams like RadioShack and Team Sky arriving on the scene. "It's never easy for race organisers of the big tours to hand out the wildcards. This shows cycling is increasing in popularity, which is great news."

The Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team for 2010:
Borut Bozic (Slovenia), Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan), Björn Leukemans, Frederik Veuchelen (Belgium), Matteo Carrara, Marco Marcato (Italy), Michał Gołaś (Poland), Martin Mortensen (Denmark), Wouter Mol, Arnoud van Groen, Bobbie Traksel, Johnny Hoogerland, Lieuwe Westra, Jens Mouris, Matthé Pronk and Wout Poels (The Netherlands).

New riders: Alberto Ongarato (Italy), Gorik Gardeyn (Belgium), Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Stephané Rossetto (France), Rob Ruygh and Joost van Leijen (The Netherlands)

Sports directors:
Hilaire Van Der Schueren (Belgium) and Michel Cornelisse (The Netherlands)

Team Manager:
Daan Luijkx (The Netherlands)

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