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The Vacansoleil team
Dutch team still unsure about Grand Tours participation
Vacansoleil-DCM has said that its ProTeam licence for the next three years is the logical conclusion for its two years of hard work. The Dutch team is now looking forward to bigger races, even if it is not sure whether it will be invited to all three Grand Tours.
"From day one we have had a very close group, and the hard work of the staff, riders and sponsors have made this step possible,” said team manager Daan Luijkx on the team's website.
“In 2009 we were good, in 2010 we were better and in 2011 the team has an enormous potential in many areas. Our always-eager group will show in the Tour Down Under what we are capable of at this level. After the Spring Classics we will then take stock of where we are.”
The three-year licence coincides with the three-year contracts with sponsors Vacansoleil, DCM and Ridley, and that, “brings calm and confidence for the future. Last season we missed the big tours despite excellent performances and some great rides. We want to avoid this in the future by taking the step up to the first division, maintaining our core and by attracting a number of top riders.
It is however, not entirely clear as to whether all of the ProTeams will be automatically invited to all three of the Grand Tours. “We must wait and see,” Luijkx told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
"There are other advantages though. “It is a security for us for races like the Dauphine. And for some of the Classics this year where we had to wait for a wildcard. We are now automatically invited.”
The move also involves the need for more sponsors. “I consciously left a few spots on the jersey for sponsors,“ Luijkx said. “They can now be filled, so we can sign some more riders. If you are a ProTour team, you need to have some 30 riders.”
Returning to the team are Riccardo Ricco, Borut Bozic, with three wins in 2009, and Romain Feillu, also with three wins. New signings for 2011 include Stijn Devolder and Ezequiel Mosquera, who is currently suspended on doping charges.