Marianne Vos dominated the women's cycling scene in 2012, yet she finds herself in a team desperate for sponsors.
Rabobank, who was involved in cycling for 17 years, decided to leave the sport in the wake of the Lance Armstrong USADA case. The Dutch bank had decided to branch into women's cycling for 2012, but their departure meant their ProTeam and Continental teams were left without a main sponsor.
Despite the troubles in the men's peloton spilling into the women's Vos remains pragmatic about the situation. "It doesn't annoy me because it is cycling in general. There are young riders in the male Rabobank team who are also paying for the past," she said in an exclusive interview with Cycling News HD.
"For us it was great to have one year with Rabobank. It was our first year in a big team and we were really happy they could give us that. We were getting more professional and we got recognition for our sport and for our results."
Vos became only the second rider to win Olympic and Worlds gold in the same year. To that she added the Giro Donne (the Women's Giro d'Italia), GP Plouay and the Holland Ladies tour. The 25-year-old knew Rabobank were on the edge of leaving the sport but had remained hopeful, "it took Rabobank two weeks to make the decision. I thought they could see that things were getting better and that they would continue."
"After two weeks they said that we're too far in and it is hard to see a brighter future, for cycling. I have a different view." Vos still remains positive that the sport has seen the worst and can begin to rebuild. "I think it will survive, but we are at the low point. Once you get to the lowest point you can climb up again."
• For more of this interview download the latest issue of Cycling News HD. This week's issue takes a look back at the Olympics in London, including in-depth analysis and stunning photography from all of the road and track events.
Time trial bronze medallist Chris Froome returns to talk about his debut Games on home soil and his ambitions for 2013. "That was unreal. The only thing I could remotely equate it to was riding into the Champs Élysées at the Tour de France where the streets are just lined with people."
Elsewhere, Olympic track champion Peter Kennaugh discusses returning to the road and being recognised in the street. The Manxman also ponders the possibility of being joined by his compatriot Mark Cavendish for the team pursuit in Rio. "It's awesome. I think it will be amazing. The more people going for the team pursuit will only help everyone go faster."
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