After talks with Aqua Blue Sport fell through, Veranda’s Willems-Crelan boss Nick Nuyens is now in discussions with Dutch team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij about a potential merger between the two outfits.
Roompot manager Michael Zijlaard told Dutch publication De Telegraaf that the two Pro Continental teams had been in discussions for two days. A spokesperson for Veranda’s Willems-Crelan confirmed the talks to Cyclingnews, saying that the two teams were looking for a ‘win-win’ situation for both.
After two seasons, the Dutch lottery is set to pull their sponsorship from the Roompot team, while Veranda’s Willems is due to pull the plug after six years of sponsorship of Nuyens' team.
The Belgian outfit already attempted a merger with the Irish Pro Continental team Aqua Blue Sport. A deal was announced by Aqua Blue at the start of August but a few hours later it was denied by Sniper Cycling – the owner of the Veranda’s Willems team – and the press release was pulled from the Aqua Blue website.
Aqua Blue Sport owner Rick Delaney remained adamant that the deal would come to fruition and told Cyclingnews on August 4 that a new announcement would happen in the coming days. However, the problems could not be resolved and the team announced on Monday morning that they would disband at the end of the season.
Home to cyclo-cross world champion and rising Classics star Wout van Aert, the Veranda’s Willems-Crelan team denied that there were serious financial issues and told Cyclingnews that they would definitely be a Pro Continental team in 2019. Van Aert, who is preparing for the cyclo-cross season, has already expressed his frustration with his future playing out in the public eye. Following the reports of the discussions between Sniper Cycling and Roompot, Van Aert had a jab, saying that he was being left in the dark.
"Communication is the essence of good cooperation. Everything is up in the air and I am always the one who speaks without knowing anything. They expect performance from me, but next year this way," he wrote on Twitter, adding a hashtag with the word 'sabbatical' and a winking emoji.
Van Aert still has a year to run on his contract with the Veranda’s Willems-Crelan team before making a move to the WorldTour with LottoNL-Jumbo for the 2020 season, having reportedly agreed a three-year deal with the Dutch squad.