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Plugge to take over from Knebel as team director
It has been confirmed that Rabobank will be known as Blanco Pro Cycling Team in 2013, and the Dutch squad will have one year in which to find a title sponsor in order to remain in the sport. Rabobank announced its withdrawal from sponsorship in October but has guaranteed funding for the team through to the end of 2013.
Giant will continue as bicycle supplier and as a sub-sponsor, and will also continue to support the women’s, continental and off-road teams.
Blanco Pro Cycling Team’s new kit will be unveiled in Fuerteventura on Thursday evening, but ahead of that presentation, the squad has released details of a number of changes to its management structure.
Harold Knebel of Rabobank, who took over as team director in 2008, will step down from his position on December 31, coinciding with Rabobank’s formal withdrawal from sponsorship. Richard Plugge, who is currently communication manager, will take over Knebel’s position as director.
Rabobank will retain a representative (Rob Boumans) on the two-man board of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team management company, albeit “to ensure only the financial settlement of the contractual obligations of Rabobank.”
The women’s team, led by Marianne Vos, will continue as Rabobank Liv / Giant Team, but will now be managed by its own independent foundation, established by Vos herself. Rabobank will initially have two members on the board (Knebel and Heleen Crielaard) “to achieve a smooth transition.” Tom Davies of Giant will be the third board member.
Rabobank will continue to support the Continental team until at least 2016, but it will be managed by a new foundation established by the Dutch Cycling Federation. The squad will be known as Rabobank Development Team.
The mountain bike team will also continue in 2013 under the Giant Offroad Team banner, with its erstwhile title sponsor noting that “although Rabobank has no contractual obligation to the mountain bike team, the bank will provide financial support to this team in 2013.”