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Eneco chair Nijpels steps down

Ed Nijpels, chairman of the ENECO Tour of Holland for the last five years, has stepped down as head of the race organization, citing timetable clashes between the race's new incarnation as the Tour of the Benelux and his duties as Royal Commissioner for the Netherlands province of Friesland.

"I am giving up this position with great sadness because cycle sport will always be one of my great passions," Nijpels told Raymond Kerckhoffs of De Telegraaf.

Nijpels was recently responsible for the Tour of Holland's transition from a Netherlands-only race to a ProTour event taking in Belgium and Luxembourg as the Tour of the Benelux. In February he convinced Eneco to continue its support of the race and two weeks ago Eneco signed a four-year deal as title sponsor.

"When I came on board as chairman of the Tour of the Netherlands five years ago… the future was in doubt because of the lack of a title sponsor," said Nijpels. "I set myself three goals. Firstly I had to make the race bigger; it had to become an international event, and it had to become more highly rated by the UCI. Those objectives have been achieved."

Nijpels explained that he was stepping down from the race organisation because the new date in early August clashed with water sport events in Friesland, and a visit to the area by the Queen of the Netherlands on August 3, making it impossible for him to be at the race's start in Antwerp that day.

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