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Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) clears the hurdles of the junior men's race
Five young riders signed
Five riders have joined the Rabobank Giant Off Road Team to complete its 14-person roster: Gert-Jan Bosman, Lars van der Haar, Mike Teunissen, Emiel Dolfsma and Michiel van der Heijden.
Richard Groenendaal, director of the cyclo-cross division of the team, welcomed the arrival of the young racers. "We want a good future for these riders," said the former cyclo-cross World Champion, who will use his experience to help guide their fledgling careers.
Current Rabobank racers Gerben de Knegt and Bart Aernouts will have four new, young teammates for the next cyclo-cross season. The 17-year-old Emiel Dolfsma and 18-year-old Lars van der Haar,will bolster the team's cyclo-cross squad along with Mike Teunissen and Gert-Jan Bosman, both 17, who also have ambitions on the road.
The 18-year-old Michiel van der Heijden, who finished second at the 2009 European mountain bike championships and is a multi-time Dutch national champion, will begin racing with the team in October.
"The advantage of our team is that the riders can move to the Rabobank (road) Continental Team," said Groenendaal. "They are all young and have yet to find their way as cyclists. Cycling is primarily for fun and gaining experience. The first or second years, riders do not have to opt for a certain discipline. The (Rabobank) programs offer young riders the chance to combine disciplines."
Groenendaal worked all last winter during 'cross season with van der Haar. "Such cooperation was good for me. I learned a lot from Richard," said van der Haar. "He knows all the courses and techniques and knows what choices I should make. I've also found that my base is not good enough. This summer will be for working hard."
"It has always been a dream of mine to ride for Rabobank. In a good team you can encourage each other and then it works very motivating," he said.
The new signings are joining existing Rabobank-Giant Off Road team members including cyclo-crossers Gerben de Knegt and Bart Aernouts and mountain bikers Emil Lindgren, Fabian Giger, Adam Craig, Erik Groen, Tim Lemmers, Marco Minnaard and Jelmer Jubbega.