Bobbie Traksel’s plan to establish a new Continental team for Belgian and Dutch riders left without a contract for 2014 will not come to fruition as he was unable to find the budget necessary to set up the squad.
President of the Dutch riders’ union, the VVBW, Traksel was one of many riders left without a team for 2014 following the disbandment of his Champion System squad at the end of the season. With Vacansoleil-DCM, Crelan-Euphony, Sojasun and Euskaltel-Euskadi also pulling out of the sport, Traksel devised the plan to put together a team that would employ 12 Dutch and Belgian riders for 2014.
Traksel estimated that a budget of €600,000 was necessary in order to get the team off the ground and provided riders with what he termed a “dignified” wage. Although the team had attracted some backing, Traksel was unable to find additional sponsors and was forced to abandon the project.
“I absolutely wanted to put the whole budget together before starting so that we would have the certainty of lasting the entire season,” Traksel said, according to La Dernière Heure. “I wanted to be honest with the riders. We tried everything but we didn’t have enough time. It’s a very difficult decision to take. If it had worked out, I’m certain we would have had a fine season.”
Former Crelan-Euphony directeur sportif Gino Verhasselt was also set to be part of the new team, and he explained just how close they came to successfully launching it. “We’re only €75,000 short, it’s a real pity,” Verhasselt said.
Reinier Honig, who raced for Crelan-Euphony in 2013, was among the riders who was set to ride for the new Continental squad next season. “This is very disappointing, I was really hopeful for this opportunity,” Honig told L1.nl. “I have no plan B. I hope there’s something else happening.”
Other riders linked with the project include Kenny van Hummel, Wouter Mol, Maurits Lammertink, and Bert-Jan Lindemen. Earlier this week, it was announced that van Hummel had signed for Androni-Venezuela for 2014.