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Updated: Dutch Bank confirms sponsorship deal
According to the De Telegraaf newspaper, Rabobank had been working in secret to build a team around Vos, and is willing to make significant funds available. The bank confirmed the news in a statement on its website, with the sponsorship lasting at least two years.
“After sixteen year of cycling sponsorship by Rabobank in the Netherlands, from 2012 the support will be extended to sponsoring a women's team. The team will be part of the Rabobank Cycling Teams and will be built around multiple world champion Marianne Vos,” the statement said.
Bert Bruggink, a member of the Executive Board of Rabobank in the Netherlands, said: "Starting a women's team is a logical step, given the width of our support for cycling. Of course we are already involved in women's cycling through our partnership with the KNWU (Netherlands Cycling Federation). Now, with our own team built around Marianne Vos, we’ve completed the picture."
Rabobank will take over Vos’ current Nederland Bloeit team.
"We hope our experience and expertise will help strengthen women's cycling,” said Harold Knebel, the general manager of the Rabobank Cycling Teams. "This sponsorship is not entirely unexpected. It’s the right time to support Marianne and her team given the uncertainty about its survival."
The Nederland Bloeit team is managed by the former TVM sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens. He welcomed the arrival of Rabobank as the team’s new sponsor.
"We’re grateful for the opportunity that the Rabobank Cycling Teams has offered us," he said.
Marianne Vos is also happy with Rabobank as a partner. "They’ve been a leading team sponsor for years and their professionalism will help further women's cycling," she said.
Interpolis and Giant will also be sponsors of the team, with further details announced in the coming weeks.