By Ben Atkins
Swedish Olympic silver medallist Emma Johansson has signed for the expanding RedSun Cycling Team. Registering as a UCI Trade Team for the first time in 2009, the team is sponsored by the Dutch RedSun garden products company as well as EBH-Elshof lawyers and Van Doorn Infra bv.
The team's expansion fills the gap in the Dutch women's elite peloton left by the withdrawal the AA-Drink team, where Johansson has been riding this season.
When we spoke to her before last weekend's World Championships – where she came fourth in the road race behind Great Britain's Nicole Cooke – Johansson hinted that she has been speaking to a number of teams. The Swede rode as a guest rider with RedSun in September's Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche, alongside AA-Drink teammates Inge Van Den Broeck and Maxime Groenewegen, and has now decided to make the move permanently.
The RedSun team has until now been mostly taking part in races in the Netherlands and Belgium, but also took part in stage races in France and the Czech Republic. With its increased status, stronger roster and bigger budget for 2009, the team is expecting to race a full international calendar. Team manager Jan Van Doorn has also managed to attract former Belgian champion Heidi Van De Vijver as team director; Van De Vijver also comes from the disbanding AA-Drink team where she has been a director for two years. More signings are expected to be announced in the near future.