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Retired rider visits Right to Play charity in Mozambique before taking up PR duties
Koos Moerenhout has retired as a rider, but is still active with Rabobank. The Dutchman will take up duties as a press and communications officer next month. However before he begins his new career path the former pro visited Mozambique on behalf of the Right to Play charity.
"I was a pro for 15 years and in my opinion this was the best moment to retire. I’m in my best condition so I can say goodbye with good morale,” the 37-year-old said. “I am looking forward to my new job. It's going to be exciting and strange to not be a cyclist anymore, but I will stay in cycling so I hope that will make the transition to the working life easier.”
Another important part of his Rabobank involvement is with a charity the team supports, Right to Play. Moerenhout recently returned from a trip to Mozambique to visit four projects sponsored by the group, which uses games and sports to help children and create social change in communities affected by war, poverty and disease.
The trip provided an opportunity for Moerenhout and the rest of the Rabobank delegation to observe how the programme works. “It's not always clear what charity organisations can get done, but when seeing the projects with your own eyes, you can only be happy they are there to help. The way for improvement is education. The more projects Right To Play and other organisations can carry out, the more success there will be.”
He shared his experiences with the children, telling them “about life in the peloton and what it’s like being a professional cyclist. They taught me some kind of warrior dance and I made a total fool of myself dancing it! The best thing was to see the smiles on the kids’ faces, but it was also great when they laughed about my cyclist tan lines and my ridiculous dance performance.”
Nor was the local cycling community forgotten, as the group visited the recently-formed Mozambican Cycling Federation. “Next year Mozambique are hosting the All African Games, and the cycling federation is working hard to get there” he said. “The cycling scene is in its early years, and it’s very basic and not organised. They don’t have a history of cycling, but they’re passionate about making progress and have things ready for the games”.
Moerenhout turned pro in 1996 with Rabobank, but didn't spend his entire career with the Dutch team. He also rode for Lotto and Phonak before returning to Rabobank in 2007.
He was national road champion in 2007 and 2009. This season he won a stage at the Eneco Tour, and in 2009 he won the time trial at the Tour of Austria.