Rabobank will continue its presence in professional cycling for another four years after the Rabobank Group announced it has extended its agreement to sponsor the team through 2016.
At the team's presentation on Wednesday at the Efteling amusement park, Bert Bruggink, CEO of Rabobank Group said that the contract, which was due to run through the end of 2012, had been extended.
"As Rabobank we have full confidence in the future of cycling, and in the quality of our teams. With this in mind we present the riders today in their new Rabobank outfit. Along with the contract extension, I expect that we will once again have another six years of beautiful and inspiring cycling ahead of us,” Bruggink said.
There were not only sporting reasons but also economic considerations for the decision. “Studies show that many Dutch people and especially our customers appreciate it. Cycling really fits with Rabobank. This year we again made a mid-term review and concluded it's good to have them continue. Also, with this extension, we express our confidence in the squad. There is now a solid structure, the future is solid.”
A new jersey and a departing Russian
Dutch cyclist of the year and team leader Robert Gesink helped to present the new jersey that the riders will wear in 2011. It continues the traditional orange, blue and white design: the body is orange, with a blue stripe bearing the sponsor's name across the chest. One shoulder is blue with a white sleeve; the other is white with a blue sleeve.
One rider who won't be wearing that kit in 2011 is former captain Denis Menchov, who is going to ride for Geox-TMC. The Russian has been with the Dutch team since 2005, and in that time he won the Vuelta a Espana twice and the Giro d'Italia once.
The team said goodbye with a look back at his “most beautiful victories” and presented him with a work of art to celebrate his victory at the Giro d’Italia.
“I think these six years were the most important part of my sporting career and I am really proud of things we achieved together,” Menchov said. “I just want to again say thanks to all the members of the team who spent so much time and energy for me.”
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