Dutch cyclo-crosser Richard Groenendaal is leaving the Rabobank squad and will ride the 2007-08 'cross season for a new team, to be announced at a press conference on June 8. "After 11 fantastic years with Rabobank, it's time for a new beginning," the 35 year-old told Sportwereld.
Groenendaal, who became world cyclo-cross champion in 2000, has requested privacy until the announcement is made on Friday as he will undergo an operation this week for an old injury, while his wife Evelien has recently given birth to their second child. "In the run up to the press conference I would like to ask everyone to please not contact me or my family regarding the planning for the up coming season," he stated.
Groenendaal turned professional in 1994 and has ridden with the Rabobank squad since its inception in 1996. In January this year he hinted that a new sponsor was on the cards after receiving a new offer from Rabobank that was considerably below his expectations. The Dutchman may also have been expecting to follow the path of other Rabobank riders into team management positions, but that didn't materialise either.
"I will ride for two more seasons," he said. "Afterwards, I would have liked to work within the team as an adviser for the cyclo-cross team, but that was not offered. That hurts more than the low offer. With my know-how and experience, I have lots to offer. Oh well, I can use this somewhere else now."