Dutchman Michael Boogerd is returning to professional cycling. The former cyclist announced yesterday that he will form his own Continental-ranked team.
Bike manufacturer Specialized asked Boogerd to establish a new Dutch team. He will become sports manager and talent scout for the team.
"This is a huge challenge. I will start from scratch to put together a proper organisation,” he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “We want to have a good programme for the young talents to ride, so that they can develop and move up to the big teams.”
The team will have a budget of about €500,000 for its first years. “Ultimately our ambition is to become a ProTour team, but I realise that the development of such a team must go step by step,” Boogerd said.
His Continental, or third division, team should race most of The Netherlands' smaller races and rely invites the bigger races.
Boogerd, 37, turned pro in 1993 and rode for Rabobank from 1996 to 2007. His biggest career wins include the 1999 Paris-Nice and Amstel Gold, two Tour de France stages and three national titles. He retired after the 2007 season.