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Ten Dam looking for a US team and with offers on the table

Although LottoNL Jumbo have yet to offer veteran rider Laurens ten Dam a new contract the Dutch rider has several options for next year, including the possibility of riding for a US team next season.

Ten Dam, 34, has had a long and passionate attachment to the US racing season and his agent Joao Correia is currently discussing contract options with at least three European WorldTour teams, as well US squads. Correia would not confirm or deny if Cannondale-Garmin were one of the team's he is currently discussing options with on ten Dam's behalf. The American team were interested in signing ten Dam several seasons ago but the Dutch rider decided to remain with the team he signed for in 2007.

Having been hit by a car in training last week ten Dam has been forced to evaluate his future. The plan was to compete at the Vuelta a España but with a six-week lay off as he recovers from broken vertebrae the rider may choose to race predominantly in the US next season.

"We're going to review a couple of opportunities for him but with the accident it really changed a lot of his priorities. We're trying to figure out what he'll do next year but he might not return to Europe and he may race with a team in the US for a year," his agent Joao Correia told Cyclingnews.

"It's still early days in that process and the accident really changed things and we're evaluating what he wants to do. Racing in the US is something that he's always wanted to do. Our plan for the last year or two of his career was to go to the US and he's got this thing about wanting to travel. He'd like to do the major US races but also some like Redlands and Gila. We're looking at that right now."

LottoNL-Jumbo have yet to offer the 34-year-old a new team, Correia confirmed.

"We've not had an offer from Lotto so as of right now returning is not an option. We have three offers from three European WorldTour teams that we're considering but Lotto isn't one of them.

"The US angle is a leftfield idea but we need to find the right programme. There are a limited number of teams that he could do that with but it's a possibility."

One might think salary would be an issue. Historically LottoNL, when they were branded under the Rabobank name, paid riders extremely well but the US market has less cash floating around. Correia acknowledges that a move to a US team, whether it be WorldTour on Pro Continental would mean a potential drop in ten Dam's salary. A move to the US though would not be centered around finance.

"Laurens, if he comes to the US, his salary expectations need to completely change. He needs to be in line with the market and this would be about a new challenge while he's also still motivated and creating something that hasn't been done before. He doesn't just want an easy ride, he wants to achieve some goals and keep things fresh.

"He has an incredible following too. If you go to the LottoNL Jumbo team bus at the Tour of California, people are there for him. He has a lot of equity in the US. He could race the major races in the US and connect with American fans and then do the races in the states that nobody has ever heard of and help raise their profile."

If a move to the US were to play out ten Dam would still hope to race a handful of European races. One programme could see him line up early-season events in the US, such as the Tour of California and Redlands, before a tune-up in Europe at the Tour de Suisse with the aim of competing at the Tour de France. Ten Dam could then return to the US and race out Utah, the US Pro Challenge and the rest of the national calendar in between.

"One other thing could be for him to do the big US races with a US WorldTour team and then also do a few preparation races in Europe before riding the Tour de France. We want to give him what he needs but also creating something in the sport that isn't already there. We want connections between fans and riders like Laurens."

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Daniel Benson
Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.