The two women's teams Flexpoint and Vrienden van het Platteland will merge together for the 2009 season. This will make it the biggest women's team in the Netherlands. The agreement is supposed to run at least until the Olympic Games in 2012.
Captain of the team will be Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel. Confirmed riders are also Loes Markerink, Loes Gunnewijk and Belgian Liesbet de Vocht.
The name of the team will be announced next week. It will be a combination of the two, with the Vrienden van het Platteland name being shortened.
Team public relations officer Geert Broekhuizen told Cyclingnews that currently 12 riders have a contract for next season. Ten are from Flexpoint and two from Vrienden van het Platteland. Two more open spots are available and negotiations are currently going on. One of the riders in talks with the team would be serving as the second captain, behind Melchers-van Poppel, but the name has not been released yet. Cyclingnews diarist Rochelle Gilmore - who joined the Flexpoint team in mid-summer - and Martine Bras, currently of Vrienden van het Platteland, will not be part of the new set up.
Jean-Paul van Poppel, the husband of Mirjam Melchers- van Poppel, will function as the technical manager. It won't be a full time role, as van Poppel is part of the new Cervélo team.
Flexpoint is an international service provider of human resources in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Vrienden van het Platteland is an organisation that informs the citizens and consumers about matters of the Dutch agricultural sector.