The Rabo Liv Women's team launched its 2014 team at the headquarters of Rabobank in Utrecht this week, and while the team starts its training camp in Calpe to prepare for the 2014 road season, its star, Marianne Vos, is ramping up for the cyclo-cross world championships.
According to team manager Koos Moerenhout, the team has three goals: "To at least maintain the position of Marianne Vos [winner of the World Cup and world championship road race], let each individual in the team develop further, and to promote women's cycling."
The team is fortified by the addition of Anna van der Breggen from the Sengers team. Van der Breggen was the last lieutenant on the road for Vos's successful rainbow jersey defense in Florence.
Also new to the team are two young riders, German omnium champion Anna Knauer (18) and Katarzyna Niewiadoma (19). Returning with Vos are Lucinda Brand, Annemiek van Vleuten, Iris Slappendel, Roxane Knetemann, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Sabrina Stultiens and Thalita de Jong.
"I'm looking forward to the new team," Moerenhout said. "Anna van der Breggen is our biggest 'acquisition '. She's a top rider. They will take some getting used to, but we'll have a lot of fun with her. I also expect Annemiek van Vleuten, she is fit now, to be back to her old self, and our road captain Lucinda Brand is going to make a new step. It looks like the team will continue to grow."
The one title which has eluded the team is that of the team time trial world champions. Specialized-lululemon has gotten the better of the Dutch team over the past two years, but Moerenhout says now that Ellen van Dijk has moved to Boels-Dolmans, the dynamic should change.
"[The TTT] Was our big goal last year, and the silver medal at the world championship was a reward for all the hard work. We halved our deficit to Specialized, which was satisfying. I expect it will be even closer this year."
Vos is continuing to put some focus into the mountain bike, with an eye towards the 2016 Olympic games, but is waiting to make decisions about her season until after the cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide at the start of February.