Setback for Garmin-Cervélo women’s team as Van Kessel goes to Pegasus Racing
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Setback for Garmin-Cervélo women’s team as Van Kessel goes to Pegasus Racing

by Shane Stokes at 6:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Unexpected move complicates things for US ProTour squad

Egon van KesselJonathan Vaughters’ plans to also field a top-flight women’s team next year has suffered a complication with the news that Egon van Kessel has decided not to travel across to Garmin-Cervélo, as had been expected.

The 54 year old Dutchman has instead opted to go to the new Australian Pegasus Racing team, which is yet to reveal who its main backer is. It is applying for ProTour status and is known to still be chasing big-name riders.

Van Kessel’s move was confirmed by De Telegraaf, which spoke with van Kessel about his plans to join up with Henrick Redant there. “The interest of Pegasus flatters me tremendously,” he said. “It is a great challenge to help build such a great team from the beginning. Over the past year I have had great fun working with the women. I learned a lot with Cervélo. With Pegasus I will work with Redant, with whom I have already worked with in the past on Domo-Farm Frites.

“Next week the manager Chris White will come to Europe and the contract will be signed.”

Van Kessel had been expected to play an important role with the Garmin team, especially as it had not previously fielded a women’s squad. Several of the world’s top female riders will compete with the US ProTour setup in 2010, having been part of the large exodus from the current Cervélo Test Team to Garmin.

Van Kessel was the Dutch national coach at the Olympics and world championships from 2001 to 2008, and worked with Cervélo’s female riders for the duration of the 2010 season. Vaughters now must recruit someone else to fill the slot of women’s directeur sportif.

Pegasus Racing was reported last week to be trying to sign world road race champion Thor Hushovd. Vaughters played down these suggestions, telling VeloNation that the Norwegian rider had said nothing to him about any offer, and wasn’t up for sale.

“Perhaps there’s a possibility that Chris White wants him on the team – many do – but Thor has a contract and it has already been filed with the UCI.”

The Australian squad is evolving from the current Fly V Australia continental setup, which has been racing in the US. It was due to lodge its ProTour application with the UCI at the beginning of the month but was not listed on the list of teams who had done so.

White said at the time that a small glitch had held things up, and that it would be rectified as quickly as possible. He had been expected to reveal the name of his title sponsor during the world road race championships, but this announcement was delayed. It is rumoured that the positive test by Alberto Contador and the resulting negative publicity for the sport had prompted the decision to hold off on the news. However other whispers had suggested that the sponsor may have withdrawn.

The news of Van Kessel’s signing indicates that the latter is not the case.

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