Marianne Vos' WM3 Pro Cycling team will be riding Ridley in 2017, the Belgian bike manufacturer has announced. The deal will begin in January and will run for five seasons, helping to secure the long-term future of the squad.
Ridley, which is based in Paal-Beringen, Belgium, already supplies the Lotto-Soudal men's and women's squads. Linking up with Ridley, says the team, will help to develop the brand's women's range.
"Ridley Bikes as a bicycle manufacturer, is already a leading brand," said team manager Eric van den Boom. "By joining forces, we want to further strengthen the position of Ridley Bikes in the cycling world. We are a multidisciplinary team. The road campaign has the highest priority, but we are also active in cyclo-cross. Ridley Bikes can support us in all disciplines with the best materials which we provide them with feedback. Thus we contribute to innovation on all fronts."
The WM3 Pro Cycling team has come from the remnants of the Rabo-Liv squad after Rabobank chose to leave the sport once and for all. The team had been riding Liv bikes - Giant's women's only brand. Many of the team’s top riders, such as Anna van der Breggen and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, chose to leave at the end of this season but Vos stayed put. Along with Van den Boom, she has helped to create the squad.
Anouska Koster, Kasia Niewiadoma and Valentina Scandolara will all be on the 2017 team roster. They also made the controversial decision to bring on Jeroen Blijlevens as a directeur sportif. Originally known as Fortitude Pro Cycling, the team secured the sponsorship of WM3 Energie for five years. Vos recently paid a visit to the Ridley offices, who were keen to have the Dutch rider on as an ambassador.
"Marianne Vos was with us in Paal-Beringen and thoroughly tested our ladies range. She was very excited and saw it right down here to ride the coming years," said CEO of Ridley Bikes, Jochim Aerts. "It is more than just a partnership. Marianne Vos and all other top riders will be ambassadors of our all-new women's range. The number of women cycling is growing rapidly worldwide. Along with WM3 Pro Cycling, we want this community even better known and more familiar with Ridley."