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The Vacansoleil team is presented on stage
Dutch team in danger of losing ProTour licence for next season
Vacansoleil-DCM needs a new team leader to get points to retain its ProTour licence in 2012. Unfortunately, team manager Daan Luijkx has a big problem: no money.
Luijkx is looking to get more money from his two title sponsors and hoping to add a third one as well, according to De Telegraaf.
He has some extra money since releasing Riccardo Riccò, but he needs that to hold on to his current riders. "Our first task is to maintain the young nucleus for the team. Riders like Thomas De Gendt, Wout Poels, Pim Ligthart and Rob Ruijgh perform fantastically, but because of that they have become more expensive. The money which was budgeted for Riccò I now need to keep these young people."
In order to maintain its ProTour licence, the team must have a certain number of points based on race results. At the moment, however, the team is dead last on that ranking, in 18th place with only 93 points. In comparison, the 17th ranked team, Quick Step, has 260 points while HTC-Highroad tops the ranking with 628 points.
The Dutch team started its first ProTour season with three leaders: Riccò, Ezequiel Mosqeura and Stijn Devolder. Riccò was released in February for "violating internal rules" and is now facing a lifetime ban for doping. Mosquera has been held out of competition pending the resolution of doping charges by the Spanish federation. Devolder has not ridden up to expectations this year.
Losing its top-ranked licence "would be a tragedy. Then we would not be sure of starting opportunities in all the major races," Luijkx said. "First we must have additional funding coming. Only then can I strengthen the team to continue in the WorldTour."