De Maar changes from Netherlands to Netherlands Antilles

UnitedHealthcare rider hopes to develop Antillean cycling in new homeland

Marc de Maar has changed his citizenship from the Netherlands to the Netherlands Antilles. The 26-year-old will ride in the national championships races this weekend.

De Maar rode for Rabobank from 2004 to 2009 before changing to the US-based team UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis. He won two stages of the recent Tour de Beauce and finished third overall, after having worn the leader's jersey for one day.

His father, Ewald, owns a house on the Netherlands Antilles island of Curaçao, and the 26-year-old will ride under a Curaçao licence.

"Officially I'm an Antillean (Curaçao) citizen now," he told Cyclingnews. "So I have changed my UCI license as well. According to the UCI, I will have to keep this license for eight years."

De Maar was already on the island, training. "I just came back from my first training ride. It's warm, but nice to be ‘home'," he said. He will ride the time trial on Saturday and the road race on Sunday for the Antillean Island national championships.

"If I win the nationals I'll get a national jersey , and I have to wear it for the rest of the season," he continued. "Hopefully I will qualify for the Worlds and the Olympics in 2012, although that's not the only reason why we made this happen."

De Maar has plans to help develop cycling on the islands. "My dad and I are creating a plan to move the Antillean cycling on to a higher level. It is getting more and more popular over here.

"So I'm going to give a couple of clinics this season to teach the local cyclists some skills and of course I want to try to help them out with training and prepare them for a couple of trips to Europe in Belgium and Netherlands to take part in some races."

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