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Laurens Ten Dam (Netherlands) at the head of the peloton.
No contract extension for former pro rider
The Dutch Cycling Federation has announced that Leo van Vliet's contract as national coach will not be extended at the end of this year. The 57-year-old had been national coach since 2009 but the federation said that it was looking for a new approach, preferring a full-time coach. Van Vliet only worked part-time, combining the role with his work as a race organiser of the Amstel Gold Race.
The men's national team did not win any World Championship or Olympic medals during van Vliet's tenure, including the Championships this year in Valkenburg, the Netherlands. He openly criticised some of the Dutch professionals, especially those from the Rabobank team and admitted he had struggled to motivate some of the riders. Van Vliet rode as a professional between 1978 and 1986, winning Gent-Wevelgem and a stage in the 1979 Tour de France.
"I can look back on a beautiful period in which I have given 200% but I didn't always find the setting and motivation for some riders,” van Vliet admitted.
The chairman of the Netherlands Cycling Federation, Marcel Wintels, said: "The National Federation looks back with satisfaction on the past 4 years that Leo van Vliet in his own way and very passionate about being the national coach of the pro men.”
Dutch cycling is still in shock after Rabobank announced its sudden withdrawl of sponsorship in late October. The teams will continue in 2013, with the WorldTour team set to race without a main sponsor.