Belga has reported that following the demise of continental squad Cinelli-OPD, former professional Nico Mattan has been in charge of finding a team for riders left without a job. One of these riders is Frank Vandenbroucke.
The Belgian, who has experienced his fair share of peaks and troughs over the last four years, will make an Australian connection when he turns out for the Cinelli - Down Under team this season.
The Continental squad is a combination of the Fuga - Down Under team and the Cinelli-OPD outfit. Riders include Australian track stalwart Mark Jamieson, Nic Walker (brother of Fuji-Servetto rider Will) and fellow Belgians Jérôme Baugnies, Sven De Weerdt, Fabio Polazzi and Bert Roesems.
"I did it," said a relieved Mattan. "All the administrative work is now over and on Friday everything will probably be in order and it will be official."
Mattan explained that, "These have been difficult times. After mid-November Thierry Floreal was willing to support the Cinelli team with an additional input of funds; it seemed to him, in accordance with his professional activities, appropriate to carry out an audit of companies and budgets behind the team. It showed that there were serious risks relating to [obtaining a] license, and so on.
"From Thierry Floreal and the Cinelli bicycle manufacturer – not to be confused with the same team – communication was set up and I was supported in that. Eventually there were no safeguards for the 2009 season, and no license was obtained by the previous management team. They then threw in the towel.
"Meanwhile, thanks to Thierry Floreal new negotiations started with D & D Promotion, which holds an Australian continental license and last year I was sports director there on a freelance basis. I had just finished as a Cyclingnews.com rider, and that team falls under the same management.
"The start-up phase included a few hectic weeks like none we've ever known – in a very short time we had to being together two structures. The most important thing is that now there is a team. The start of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne [March 1] seems to be more of a feasible objective, while the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, Nokere Koerse and Dwars door Vlaanderen are also already on our programme."
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