The planned Orange Cycling team has secured a two-year sponsorship deal with Roompot and is set to make its debut in the peloton in 2015.
The Dutch holiday company was set to choose between Orange Cycling and Belkin, but has opted to sponsor the fledgling Pro Continental team created by former riders Michael Boogerd, Erik Breukink, Jean-Paul van Poppel and agent and event manager Michael Zijlaard.
After making their application to the UCI for a Pro Continental licence for the 2015 season, securing sponsorship is a major step in the creation of the team. "Founding a team was a dream of all of us: Dutch mentality and no-nonsense attitude. And now this dream comes true," said Zijlaard, during a press conference to announce the deal. "We have asked a ProContinental license at the UCI and our official name will be Roompot Orange Cycling Team. We are not going to say anything about the team colours but it might be orange."
At the press conference, held ahead of stage three of the Eneco Tour, it was also confirmed that the team would be given a wildcard for next year's edition of the race.
The new team has yet to announce any rider signings but a number of names have been linked to the team, including former Dutch national champion Johnny Hoogerland. The 31-year-old moved to Androni Giocattoli this season after the Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM team folded at the end of 2014. Belkin’s Maarten Tjallingii is also on the team's radar. The plan will be to have a roster solely consisting of Dutch riders.
"We want young motivated riders where money isn't the main objective. There is room for a ProContinental team in the Netherlands. There is enough talent. Cycling is doing well in the country so this is very important for Dutch Cycling. We want to give Dutch riders room to grow. There isn't always room at WorldTour and those teams are also internationally focused," said Boogerd, who will act as a directeur sportif for the team. "We didn't want to give false promises, so we haven't signed any riders yet. Now it's time to start talking to riders."
Currently there are no Dutch teams at Pro Continental level. The creation of the Orange Cycling team will fill the gap between the WorldTour Belkin and Giant-Shimano teams and the numerous Continental teams in the Netherlands and Belgium.
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