25 years on from Dutch legend Gerrie Knetemann's Amstel Gold victory, his name will be carried on with the same sponsor that graced his jersey that year by his daughter Roxane, who will ride with the new Skil-Koga women's team. The elder Knetemann rode for Skil-Sem in 1985 when he won his home country's biggest race.
23-year-old Roxane said on the team's web site that she failed to recognize the significance of the team's sponsor until she was reminded by a teammate. "I was just happy we could take a step up as a team. It’s great to be able to benefit from the same support and equipment facilities as the Skil-Shimano team. It only really sank in when my teammate Hannah Welter asked me how it was to ride for the same sponsor my father used to ride for.”
While she had yet to be born that year, Knetemann said the Amstel Gold win is one of the few they have on video. "He had already won the Amstel Gold Race, but that victory was very special because he’d fallen badly two years earlier in the Dwars door Vlaanderen and there was a question mark over whether he would ever get back to his best. So him winning was very emotional, for the whole family really. I get goose pimples when I see the pictures.”
After her father's death in 2004, Knetemann said she struggled to get back to the top level of the sport, but hopes she is back on track. "I am really looking forward to the new season and riding in a Skil jersey in 2011 is certainly an extra boost. It would be nice to secure a great win like that in that jersey.”
The Skil-Koga team consists of eight women, and will be run under the same umbrella as the Professional Continental men's team Skil-Shimano.
Other riders are Regina Bruins, Suzanne de Goede, Amy Pieters, Marte Lenferink, Hannah Welter and Roxane Knetemann, Christina Becker and Alison Terstroete.
The team is scheduled to debut at the women's Tour of Qatar. Regina Bruins suffered a broken ankle in training, it was reported today, and with three weeks off from training her participation in the race is uncertain.