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Bobbie Traksel (Champion System)
Dutch union reportedly starting Continental team for unemployed pros
There are so many Dutch and Belgian riders looking for contracts for the 2014 season that the Dutch rider's union is working on creating a Continental team to bridge the gap in the job market in hopes new teams will be created in 2015.
Bobbie Traksel, currently with the Champion System team which will fold at the end of this season, and president of the Vereniging voor Beroepswielrenners (VVBW), told Cyclingonline.nl that the organisation is considering creating the team because of the large number of riders left out in the cold since the demise of Vacansoleil-DCM, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Champion System, Crelan-Euphony and Sojasun.
"In my 13 years as a professional I've never seen it this bad," Traksel said. "There are a total of five teams stopping, so there are 135 riders on the street."
In addition to Traksel, sprinter Kenny van Hummel, Wouter Mol, Maurits Lammertink, Bert-Jan Lindeman, and Reinier Honig are still looking for contracts, as well as a number of Belgian professionals.
Some riders may retire, some will end up with minimum salaries, and others will play a waiting game in hopes they will find a team, he said, but for 2015 the situation may improve with Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso and Oleg Tiknov both said to be creating new teams.
"It would be nice if the union can help to bridge this gap year," Traksel said. "And yes, I also would help myself with it."
"I hope that companies with a heart for cycling will make a gesture. They can always contact us, but respond quickly because as the saying goes, time is running out."
"We have a financier, but we still need more sponsors because we're professionals, and we can't race for food. Everyone is willing to make sacrifices but we also have mortgages to pay and families to support."