Marianne Vos courted by Rabobank for Dutch women’s superteam
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Marianne Vos courted by Rabobank for Dutch women’s superteam

by Ben Atkins at 8:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships, Olympics
 
Dutch bank wants to build team around World silver medallist to ensure Olympic success

marianne vosThe big rumour around women’s cycling during last week’s World championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, was that Rabobank was about to announce the creation of a women’s team. These rumours appeared to be unfounded when the Dutch bank announced that it was to be the main sponsor of the 2012 Worlds in the Limburg region of the Netherlands. According to De Telegraaf though, Rabobank is still courting World number one Marianne Vos, who won an incredible fifth consecutive silver medal in the women’s road race on Saturday.

Telegraaf reports that Rabobank, which sponsors the top Dutch ProTeam as well as a Continental team of under-23 riders, is hoping to all-but guarantee a Dutch winner of the Olympic road race in London next summer. Vos would, as in virtually all races, be the outstanding favourite for victory, but Rabobank hopes that a Dutch superteam built around the 24-year-old all season would give her the best chance.

The main stumbling block for the creation of the new team though, appears to be Vos herself, who is reportedly remaining loyal to her current Nederland Bloeit team. The team, which began as DSB Bank, was created for, and remains built around the Dutch superstar, and she seems reluctant to leave. In 2009 Vos stuck behind the team when DSB Bank fell victim to the World financial crisis; then secondary sponsor Nederland Bloeit [‘Netherlands Blooms’ – a marketing platform for Dutch agriculture – ed] stepped up its commitment, and has increased its sponsorship each year.

Vos was reportedly courted by the AA Drink-Leontien.nl team this time last year, after the sports drink company rejoined the team, created by the Netherlands’ previous cycling superstar woman Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel. Despite the offer of a lucrative contract, Vos preferred to stay with her current team, which this year has been the number one team in the World, with Vos’ extraordinary list of victories complimented by the overall World Cup triumph of Annemiek van Vleuten.

Vos started the Olympic race in Beijing as the big favourite, but was not able to ride her best race in the torrential rain and cold conditions. The race was won by Great Britain’s Nicole Cooke, as the best of a five-woman breakaway group, with Vos taking the bunch sprint for sixth behind her. Vos made amends in the vélodrome a few days later, taking gold in the points race, in which she was already World champion, but weeks later was outsprinted by Cooke on the road in Varese, Italy, condemning her to the second of her five consecutive Worlds silvers.

A Dutch super team would theoretically be able to ensure Vos the best chance of taking victory in London next summer, thinks Rabobank. In normal circumstances Vos would also be an even hotter favourite than ever to take the World title in Limburg, which is set to finish atop the famous Cauberg on the outskirts of Valkenburg.

As well as its two men’s teams, Rabobank also sponsors the Netherlands national team, which Vos and many of her teammates race for in a number of races in the season if the cost of travelling to the race is beyond the budget of women’s trade teams. This has, in the past, given Vos the experience of riding with many of her usual rivals, including Martine Bras and Kirsten Wild, who worked so hard for her in Saturday’s race.

The bank also sponsors the offroad division of the Pro and Continental teams, of which US cyclocross champion Katie Compton is currently the only female member. Were Vos to join a specially created Rabobank women’s team, it would see the two longstanding rivals as teammates in the winter.

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