Australian Rochelle Gilmore has explained her unusual decision to switch teams mid-season, leaving Italian team Menikini Selle Italia to join the Dutch Flexpoint outfit. Gilmore has enjoyed a successful 2008 season so far, with eight podium finishes in UCI events, including three wins, plus fourth and fifth placings at World Cup races.
"After long, concentrated discussions with the Australian National Team coach we have decided that this is not an opportunity we can decline," Gilmore told Cyclingnews. "Team Flexpoint have a reputation of being one of the most professionally run organisations in women's cycling."
One of the key draws for Gilmore is the experience of Flexpoint team manager Jean Paul Van Poppel, a former professional cyclist who has won nine stages of the Tour de France along with stage wins in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to work under such an accomplished cyclist," added Gilmore. "Over time I believe I'll benefit from Van Poppel's knowledge and experience as a sprinter.
"Flexpoint have a strong roster of riders including Mirjam Melchers Van Poppel and Amber Neben. Mirjam has achieved many major results including a number of World Cup wins. Amber Neben is a stage race specialist – she won Tour de l'Aude twice in 2005 and 2006."
Gilmore's first race with Team Flexpoint will be the Rabobank Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden tour starting next Thursday, June 19, followed by the Giro d'Italia Femminile from July 4-13.