Under the name Time for talent the Rabobank cycling team presented its riders for 2010 on Friday 8 January 2010.
In this article you can discover what happened at the team presentation in Ahoy in Rotterdam where the Rabobank Six Days of Rotterdam also took place at that time and where in July the Tour de France 2010 will start.
Looking back to 2009
The year 2009 is being summarised by Rabobank using the words capricious and nice, according to Harold Knebel (the general director of the Rabobank team) because of the big disappointments and the extaordinary results.
Indeed, the Rabobank team got 26 victories in 2009, including of course the Giro d'Italia 2009 (the 100-year old Giro) which was won by the Russian Rabobank rider Denis Menchov (in addition to a stage victory in the 5th stage).
Other important victories were the Tour of Belgium which was won by Lars Boom, the Tour of Murcia won by Denis Menchov, two stage victories in the Tour de Romandie by the Spanish rider Oscar Freire and the king of the mountain jersey in the same tour for Laurens ten Dam and of course the second Dutch Championship (after 2007) for Koos Moerenhout.
The disappointments were for example the different falls which had very important impacts:
- Oscar Freire who fell in the AMGEN Tour of California, broke two ribs and could thus not participate in the Classics
- Robert Gesink who fell in the Tirreno-Adriatico and thus missed out a good ranking, missed the Flèche Wallonne due to a tendon injury and fell again in the fifth stage of the Tour de France 2009 and left the Tour with a broken wrist
- the Tour which was generally not so good for the Rabobank but which was finally saved on the forelast day with the stage victory on top of the Mont Ventoux for Juan Manuel Garate
Another moment could have become fatal as well: when Menchov fell in the final individual time trial of the Giro d'Italia 2009. Fortunately the change of bikes didn't take too much time and he managed to win the Giro, 41 seconds ahead of Danilo di Luca (who was suspended for a positive doping test later on).
The Vuelta a España 2009 finished with some double feelings: it was positive since in this Tour of Spain, Tom Leezer and Lars Boom were ahead in the first stages on the Dutch roads and because Robert Gesink made a good performance in the mountain stages and of course because of Lars Boom's stage win (photo) but negative as well because Robert Gesink fell in the 17th stage and thus lost his good position in the general classification (at that time he was still able to compete with Alejandro Valverde for the final win) in the following days. He finally ended sixth at 6'40".
The Rabobank team in 2010: time for talent
In 2009 the Rabobank used the theme pure combativity for the team. This year it's time for talent.
The Rabobank team sees a lot of opportunities for talent development, according to Harold Knebel especially because we currently have a real flow of good talents in the team with Robert Gesink, Lars Boom and new upcoming talents.
Just like in 2009 Knebel wants the Rabobank riders to ride in a visible, surprising and combative way and have enough resilience in case of bad luck.
Below you can watch a short video Rabobank published after the 2010 team presentation (in Dutch only):
In this video they say that the first stage of the Tour de France 2010 finishes in Utrecht. That is of course not true, the first stage of the Giro d'Italia 2010 goes from Amsterdam to Utrecht (towards the Rabobank head office); this first stage of the Tour de France 2010 (after the prologue in Rotterdam) goes from Rotterdam to Brussels.
The most important changes in 2010 are the departures of Pedro Horillo (see below) and Bram de Groot who end their career as a professional rider and of Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky), Matthew Hayman (Team Sky as well) and Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis - formerly known as Ouch) who leave to pursue their career in another team.
The loss of these 5 riders is compensated by the arrival of two riders (new talent!) coming from the Rabobank Continental Team: Dennis van Winden and Steven Kruijswijk. They come to the pro team together with their directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven.
The 28 Rabobank riders in 2010
The Rabobank team has 28 riders in 2010:
Mauricio Ardila (Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano if I want to be really precise) (12 May 1979) is a Colombian rider who started his pro career in 2002 and had his best year so far in 2005 when he won a stage in the Tour of Niedersachsen, finished third in a stage of the Tour of Spain and in a stage of the Tour of Italy. In the Vuelta he ended 8th in the general classification that year.
In 2006 he moved to Rabobank, but since that time he didn't get any remarkable results anymore. Therefore, it's not that surprising that he says he wants to win a race in 2010, but will also be available for the team to help the leaders in the mountains.
Lars Boom (30 Dec 1985) has a quite impressive list of results for his 24 years: after having won several races in 2007 at the espoirs (including the Dutch Championship time trial and the World Championship time trial) he managed to become World Champion cyclo-cross in 2008 but also Dutch Champion on the road and in the time trial.
In 2009, his first year in the Rabobank pro team, he became Dutch champion cyclo-cross and showed a good performance in the Tour of Belgium by getting top 3 places in two stages and by winning the overall classification and in the Tour of Spain where he managed to win a stage and where he took over the king of the mountain jersey from his team mate Tom Leezer.
2010 already started good for Boom because on January 10 he again became Dutch champion cyclo-cross (see the video below).
Graeme Brown (09 Apr 1979) started his pro career in 2002 at Ceramica Panaria before moving to Rabobank in 2006.
In 2005 he had his best year so far: 5 stage wins and the overall ranking in the Tour of Langkawi. In 2010 this sprinter would like to become World Champion at the World Championships in Australia.
Stef Clement (24 Sept 1982) came from the French Bouygues Telecom team in 2009 -where he was wearing the Dutch Champion time trial jersey (2006 & 2007)- after having been part of the Rabobank espoirs team in 2004 and 2005 already.
In 2009 he won for Rabobank a stage in the Dauphiné Libéré and again became Dutch Champion time trial. This year he starts his season at the Tour Down Under and will continue with the Tour Méditerranéen (10-14 February), the Tour du Haut Var (20/21 February), the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia (3-7 March), the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (22-28 March), the Vuelta a Castilla y León (14-18 April) and the Tour de Romandie (27 April-2 May).
Laurens ten Dam (13 Nov 1980) is with Rabobank since 2008 and since than he won one stage in the Critérium International (2008) where he finished 5th in the overall ranking and in 2009 he was the king of the mountain in the Tour of Romandie. In 2010 he starts his 7th season as a pro rider.
Jos van Emden (18 Feb 1985) is a 24 year old rider who started his pro career in 2009 in the Rabobank team after having been with the Rabobank Continental Team since 2006.
Van Emden was part of the team who won the Giro with Denis Menchov in 2009.
For 2010 he has quite high ambitions because he simply says he wants to win Paris-Tours.
Rick Flens (11 Apr 1983) became a pro rider in 2007 with Rabobank. He showed good performances especially in short time trials and he for example won the time trial of the Tour of Denmark in 2007.
It is therefore not surprising that his personal goal for 2010 is to win a time trial.
Oscar Freire (15 Feb 1976) is with Rabobank since 2003 already.
Freire is three times World Champion (1999, 2001 and 2004), has -despite the fact that he never finished the tour of his own country- won 6 stages in the Vuelta, won 4 Tour stages and the green jersey of the ranking by points in the Tour 2008. In 2004 and 2007 he won Milan-San Remo and in 2009 he managed to win 2 stages in the Tour of Romandie.
Juan Manuel Garate (24 Apr 1976) saved in his first year for Rabobank (Garate came from Quick Step in 2009) the Tour de France 2009 by winning the stage on the top of the Mont Ventoux ahead of the German rider Tony Martin of Columbia-HTC.
For Quick Step he already won a stage in the Giro d'Italia 2006 where he also took the king of the mountain jersey. In 2005 Garate became the champion of Spain.
Robert Gesink (31 May 1986) is one of the talents for Rabobank with the theme Time for talent in 2010. Since the start of his pro career in 2007 he achieved many important goals: a stage in the Tour of Belgium in 2007, best young rider in the AMGEN Tour of California in 2007, 2008 and 2009, best young rider in Paris-Nice 2008 and the Tour of Emilia in 2009 to mention just a few.
In 2009 he had a lot of bad luck: first of all his season started with an injury, than he fell in the Tour de France and again in the Vuelta a España where he had a good spot in the general classification at that time. Finally he managed to get the 6th place in the Tour of Spain anyway and earlier in the season he took a third place in the Amstel Gold Race and a fourth place in the Dauphiné Libéré.
In 2010 Gesink's season starts in the Tour Méditerranéen and he will continue with the Tirreno-Adriatico, the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He will prepare his Tour de France by doing the Tour of Switzerland. In contrast to last year he will thus not participate in the Dauphiné Libéré.
Dmitriy Kozontchuk (05 Apr 1984) is with Rabobank since 2005: first in the Continental Team and since 2007 in the pro team.
His best performance was when he won Paris-Roubaix espoirs in 2005 and in 2010 he would like to win a stage in the Giro d'Italia.
Steven Kruijswijk (07 June 1987) comes from the Continental Team to the Rabobank pro team this year at 22 years old. His best performance in 2009 was at the Dutch Championship espoirs which he won.
In 2010 he will discover the pro cycling world and he wants to use this first year to continue to grow.
Sébastian Langeveld (17 Jan 1985) won two stages in the Sachsen-Tour in 2009 and finished second in the overall ranking. He also won the GP Jef Scherens.
In 2010 he'll do his 4th year at Rabobank and he'll try to show a good performance in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
Tom Leezer (26 Dec 1985) became a professional rider at Rabobank at 23 years old and he already spent 3 years in the Continental team before.
In 2009 Tom was the first to wear the king of the mountains jersey after the second stage of the Vuelta but he also finished third in the Three days of De Panne-Koksijde and second in the Trofeo Inca (part of the Volta Ciclista a Mallorca series).
His goal in 2010 is to finally win a race!
Paul Martens (26 Oct 1983) started his pro career in 2006 at Skil-Shimano and won a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg and in the Münsterland Giro that year. In 2007 he won a stage in the Ster Elektrotoer (which was won by his current team mate Sébastian Langeveld).
In 2008 he moved to Rabobank. Last year he finished 3rd in two stages of the Tour du Limousin and in the Grand Prix Ouest France de Plouay. This year he hopes to get a top 10 ranking in one of the Ardennes classics.
Denis Menchov (25 Jan 1978) rides for Rabobank since 2005 and his best performance is of course when he won the Giro d'Italia 2009.
In 2010 his goal is to win the Tour de France and to reach that goal he will not participate in the Giro this year: he'll go training in the French mountains instead to prepare the Tour.
Bauke Mollema (26 Nov 1986) is with Rabobank since 2007: first as an espoir and since 2008 in the pro team.
Koos Moerenhout (05 Nov 1973), who's part of the Rabobank team since 2007, became the Dutch Champion on the road for the second time in 2009.
In 2009 he also won a stage in the Tour of Austria and he finished second in the overall ranking of the Tour of Belgium.
Grischa Niermann (03 Nov 1975) is with Rabobank since 2000 already and it was also in that year that he got his best result in the Tour de France (24th). In 2010 he would again like to do the Tour.
Nick Nuyens (05 May 1980) started his career as a professional in 2003 with Quick Step where he stayed until 2006. After 2 years in the French Cofidis team he moved to Rabobank in 2009.
His most recent wins are those of the Etoile de Bessèges and a stage in the Eneco Tour in 2007 and the Grand Prix de Wallonie and the Omloop Mandel-Leie-Schelde in 2009.
Joost Posthuma (08 March 1981) is a former mountain biker, but since 2002 he's part of the Rabobank team: first with the espoirs and since half May 2004 with the pro team.
His best performances are a stage win in Paris-Nice 2005 and the overall win of the Ruta del Sol in 2009.
Kai Reus (11 March 1985) started in the Rabobank pro team when he was 20 years old (after 2 years in the Continental Team). In July 2007, a year after the start of his pro career, he made a bad fall during a training in France and he was in a coma for 11 days. A bit over a year later he came back in the Tour of Missouri and in 2009 he managed to win a stage in the Tour of Britain, where he finished 4th overall.
In 2010 his season starts with the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca on 7 February and he will also participate in the Tour du Haut Var from 20 February.
Tom Stamsnijder (15 Mayt 1985) left the Rabobank Continental team in 2007 to become a pro rider with Gerolsteiner. At that time the Rabobank pro time didn't propose him a contract, but end 2008 -when Gerolsteiner stopped- he got a contract anyway. In 2010 he thus starts his second year at the Rabobank after having been part of the team which won the Giro d'Italia in 2009.
For 2010 his goal is to perform well in spring so he'll probably be in the lead in the classics.
Bram Tankink (03 Dec 1978) moved from QuickStep to Rabobank in 2008.
Maarten Tjallingii (05 Nov 1977) discovered cycling on a mountain bike only when he was 19 and he rather quickly showed he was one of the best. Not good enough however and in 2004 he thus decides to see if he can perform better in cyclocross but also on the road and he rather quickly showed some good results there as well. In 2006 and 2007 he was with Skil-Shimano before coming to Rabobank in 2009 via Silence-Lotto (2008).
The main victory in his relatively short professional career was when he won the Tour of Belgium in 2006. That year he also won a stage and the overall ranking in the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China.
In 2010 he would like to do his first Tour de France and get a top 10 ranking in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Pieter Weening (05 Apr 1981) is with Rabobank since 1999 already and he started his pro career there in 2004.
His main results so far were in 2005 when he won a stage in the Tour de France and a stage in the Tour of Poland. In 2009 he won a stage in the Tour of Austria. In the new cycling season he would like to do the Tour again (last year he did the Tour of Spain instead of the Tour de France) and win one or more races.
Dennis van Winden (02 Dec 1987) was part of the Rabobank Continental Team since 3 years already and in 2010 he starts his pro career at Rabobank.
His best performances are a stage win in the Tour de l'Avenir 2009 and when he won the Dutch Championships time trial for espoirs. According to the Rabobank website his goal for 2010 is to continue to improve.
Pedro Horillo ends his career
In the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia 2009 Pedro Horillo made a 60 meter deep fall in the descent of the Col de San Pietro. He was taken to the hospital by helicopter and had head and chest injuries, perforated lungs and several other injuries. His doctor already said at that time that he would normally be able to lead a normal life and most probably can even ride a bike again, but no longer as a professional rider.
After having been in a coma for several days, Horillo woke up and started working hard on his rehabilitation. About the day of his fall, 16 May 2009, he said: That was the day I got a second chance. It will be my second day of birth for the rest of my life. It's a miracle that I survived this.
In October, on the day the team photo for 2010 was taken, Horillo told Rabosport TV that he was doing fine, still working hard on improving his condition (especially on the musculation of his left leg) and that he hoped being able to come back in the Rabobank team and that he was working hard to make that happen.
Recent discussions with his doctors however made him decide to refuse the contract Rabobank offered him for 2010 since his doctors unanimously said he can never recover 100% as a pro rider. Horillo said: In July I dreamt of being able to ride a bike again and in September I was already back on my bike. That was a lovely feeling. But until than I never thought I would be able to come back as a professional rider. Later that seemed to become possible, because my recovery went really well. I started thinking about it, but I've always thought that I want to come back at the same level. I wouldn't do it for less. My doctors have convinced me that that will never be possible.
He'll now become a columnist for the Spanish newspaper El País which recently was the first to announce that the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré becomes part of A.S.O. and as a book writer. Earlier in his career he already started writing a book about his life as a professional rider, but as far as I know that book has never been published so far. This is thus the perfect occasion to continue that work as well.
In the short video below you can see how Pedro Horillo announced the end of his cycling career himself:
by Thomas Vergouwen
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De wielerploeg Rabobank is zeer sympathiek, maar als kleine spaarders (wij spaarden toch zo lang voor een nieuwe fiets)door de financiële crisis en door de belachelijk kleine intrestvoeten kwam tijdens de voorbije jaren het woord 'bank' toch dichter bij het woord 'bandiet' in de woordenschat van ons klein verstand. Vanwege een gepensioneerde Fortis-Paribas technische klerk.