The 23 riders of the 2010 Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team were presented to the press and sponsors at a former convent on the border of Holland and Belgium on Tuesday. The Pro continental team has signed seven new riders, who are all eager to start the season.
Thirteen victories, 42 top three places and many attacks put Vacansoleil on the cycling map last year when the team also finished second in the European Tour rankings and won a stage in the Tour of Spain. After a successful debut in 2009, the team is aiming higher for 2010. To help its efforts, the team has added the riders like the Feuillu brothers Brice and Romain and Alberto Ongarato, Gorik Gardeyn, Stephané Rossetto, Rob Ruygh and Joost van Leijen.
"When the team was training in Benidorm, I saw a motivated bunch of riders that want to make their mark and others who want to achieve a result on the world calendar in 2010," said Sports Director Michel Cornelisse.
The team is aiming for a top three result in a Monument or Classic on the World Calendar, wants to participate in a Grand Tour and gain a top 17 spot in the world rankings. In particular, the squad has hopes of being called to the starting line of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.
"Good results in the spring and the general development of our team and its good reputation may help us achieve places in Rotterdam, Amsterdam or even in Sevilla for the start of Vuelta a Espana," said Sports Director Hilaire Van Der Schueren, naming the start cities of the three Grand Tours for 2010.
"As an international pro continental team, we are aware of our reliance upon a wild card and we have to prove we deserve this. At first, the team and sponsors will focus on the initial races, keeping a Grand Tour in mind."
"It's vital our riders and team participate in at least one Grand Tour in order to develop. It's never easy for race organisers of the Grand Tours to hand out the wild cards. This shows cycling is increasing in popularity, which is great news."
Expectations are high for the team. "The budget and the number of staff members has increased since last winter. I am confident in our riders and staff and expect 100 percent effort," said Team Manager Daan Luijkx. "It will be difficult to achieve all of our goals, but we are challenging ourselves as cycling is a professional sport."
The team will display the logo of the Kika foundation on the sleeves of its jerseys for 2010. The Kika foundation is a Dutch charity which finances research for children with cancer and provides support for their families. The word "Kika" stands for Children Cancer Free in Dutch.
The team decided to support the foundation in the spring of 2009. In addition of providing Kika with the opportunity of greater brand awareness, the team will raise money for the charity. Team manager Daan Luijkx said in Wernhout that the bike on which the team gets its biggest 2010 victory will be auctioned, with all proceeds going to Kika.
2010 Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
Matteo Carrara (Italy)
Brice Feillu (France)
Romain Feillu (France)
Gorik Gardeyn (Belgium)
Michal Golas (Poland)
Johnny Hoogerland (The Netherlands)
Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan)
Björn Leukemans (Belgium)
Marco Marcato (Italy)
Wouter Mol (The Netherlands)
Martin Mortensen (Denmark)
Jens Mouris (The Netherlands)
Alberto Ongarato (Italy)
Wout Poels (The Netherlands)
Matthé Pronk (The Netherlands)
Stephané Rossetto (France)
Rob Ruygh (The Netherlands)
Bobbie Traksel (The Netherlands)
Arnoud van Groen (The Netherlands)
Joost van Leijen (The Netherlands)
Frederik Veuchelen (Belgium)
Lieuwe Westra (The Netherlands)
Sport directors: Hilaire Van Der Schueren (Belgium) and Michel Cornelisse (The Netherlands)
Team Manager: Daan Luijkx (The Netherlands)
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.