The Curaçao national champion Marc de Maar will join Quick Step in 2011 and hopes to show his special jersey at the Tour de France.
De Maar rode for UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis team this year after six years with Rabobank. He adopted Antillean citizenship in June, but when the Antilles was dissolved as a nation in October, he became a citizen of Curaçao. His father lives on Curaçao, and de Maar won both the national road and time trial titles this year. He is expected to ride in Saturday’s Amstel Curaçao Race alongside Andy and Frank Schleck, Alessandro Petacchi, Tony Martin, Jurgen Vandenbroeck and Jacob Fuglsang.
De Maar rode for Rabobank from 2004 to 2009 but does not look back happily on his spell with the Dutch squad, describing it as time of “injuries, misunderstandings and resentment by the team management.”
In his first year on the Dutch ProTour team he had “the bad luck that I immediately finished 15th and 21st in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. They thought they had discovered the new top rider for the coming years.” It was a role with which he was not comfortable and eventually he rebelled, he told Sportwereld.be.
“I just could not accept decisions made by the team leaders. I asked why I had to do a certain task. When I was told it was because they said so, I had problems with that. But it was partly my fault.”
De Maar considered retiring at the end of 2009 when his contract with Rabobank ended, but instead “I talked to my ex-teammate Rory Sutherland at UnitedHealthcare. The deal was immediately done.”
After a year in the US, he has now returned to Europe to join Quick Step, although it is still unsure if the Belgian team will have ProTeam status. However De Maar insists it is “still really a top team.”
He added, “I feel reborn. I’ve discovered over the last 12 months that I still love to race but that I need the right environment to be happy. In life you sometimes have to go one step back so that you can take another step forward.”
De Maar admitted he has a big dream for 2011: “To ride the Tour de France wearing the Curacao national jersey. That is definitely something. For me personally, but also for this island where cycling really is on the rise.”