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Rabo-Giant Offroad Team to debut in January

Boy van Poppel (Rabobank)

Boy van Poppel (Rabobank) (Image credit: Bert Geerts/

Rabobank has restructured its cyclo-cross team for the coming year, bringing in mountain bike riders and sharing the sponsorship for the Rabo-Giant Offroad Team. The new squad, which will start as of January 1, 2010, will concentrate on supporting and promoting mainly Dutch riders, also focusing on young riders. The majority of the 16 riders is less than 23 years old.

The new team will be managed by Jan ten Tusscher, and have two team directors, one for each discipline: Leo van Zeeland for the mountain bikers and Richard Groenendaal for the 'cross riders.

"The creation of this offroad team is a logical step,” said Rabobank general manager Harold Knebel. “It perfectly fits into the Rabobank philosophy of supporting all branches of cycling, and it gives the young riders the time and homeland environment to work on their talents. We want to keep our options open to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”

The new team will not be a part of the Rabo Cycling Teams BV, and unlike the ProTour and Continental teams, has a name co-sponsor with Giant. “Despite the slightly different funding, we are supplying the guidelines on communications, ethics and medical policy,” added Knebel.

The Rabo-Giant Offroad Team extends the co-operation between the cycling organisation and the Japanese bike manufacturer. Both of Rabobank's road teams ride Giant bikes.