By Marcel Slagman
The Dutch mountain bike team Leo Combee picked up a new sponsor and will race under the new name Merida-Combee in 2009. The team also signed Bas Peters, Laura Turpijn and Niels Wubben, all of whom used to ride for the now-defunct Herbalife-Merida team.
Peters is the current Dutch marathon champion, and he also finished third at the World Championship in 2003. Turpijn is also a Dutch marathon champion, and she won the cross country national title in 2007. Wubbens is a talented young racer who finished third at the University World Championships this year.
Team manager and sponsor Leo Combee is a former motorcross rider interested in developing new talent since his entry into the sport seven years ago. "With our partnership from 2009 'til 2012, we can focus this squad on the Olympic Games in London 2012," said Merida's Peter Koperdraad.
Beside the three new elite Dutch mountain bikers, Combee's team features juniors Rozanne Slik and Michiel van der Heijden as well as Dennis Ebert, Gerwin van Drunen, Ivar Slik, Julia Schrooder, Koen Verstijnen, Leo Combee Junior, Lisa Schrooder and Thijs Zuurbier.