Friday 15 August 2008 at 00h07

Friends for once, friends forever ... that's what one could think after reading that Michael Boogerd announces on August 13th that he will stop working for Rabobank and that Thomas Dekker announces today (August 14th) that his contract with the Rabobank cycling team has been terminated with immediate effect.

The two riders, Michael Boogerd as former captain of the Dutch cycling team and Thomas Dekker as promising future leader, have always been good friends and in 2007 they were never far from each other at the hotel, before the start and after the race and on the road during the race ... They also always shared the same hotel room and were OK to pose together for my picture of Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd before the Tour de France 2007 prologue in London.


Thomas Dekker: divergence of views

Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd before the start of the Tour de France 2007 in LondonAfter a strong start of the season, Thomas Dekker abandoned early May in the final stage of the Tour de Romandie and in the Tour of Switzerland - which should have been his preparation for the Tour de France 2008 - he couldn't really follow either and stopped before the finish. At that time it was said a touch of the flu and that he only started training in January (because of a hip injury) were the reasons for not being in a good condition. His training early June didn't work out either since snow made him reduce a 4 day training to only one day ...

On May 16th Dekker said winning the white jersey for the best young rider was his big goal for the Tour de France, but since the Tour of Switzerland showed he didn't have the right condition the Rabobank team did not select him for the Tour de France, just like in 2006 when his place was taken by Bram de Groot.

At the end of June, an article in the Dutch newspaper NRC explained there was a divergence of views between the team management and the 23 year old rider. The Rabobank team wants to have a better visibility of what riders do and any bad behavior is punished with a fine. Apparently Thomas Dekker was not able to adapt to these new rules and the team management didn't like that.

On July 24th Thomas Dekker announced he would not go to Beijing either for the Olympic Games where he planned to do both the road race and the individual time trial. Robert Gesink replaced him for the time trial and Niki Terpstra took his place for the road race.

While Thomas indicated on July 5th in a column in the Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf that he would finish his contract - a contract for two years which he signed during the Tour de France 2007 - until the end of 2009, today it turned out that the divergence of views was too big and the bank and the rider announced the contract would be ended as per August 15th (tomorrow).

The site explained:

The Rabo cycling teams' direction and Thomas Dekker have decided through a mutual agreement to split up. The divergence of views have led to a definitive split between Rabo Cycling Teams and Thomas Dekker. That's why we decided to split up as per August 15th, 2008.

This means Thomas Dekker is free to ride for another team with immediate effect. Currently it has not been announced for which team Thomas Dekker will ride in 2009. It has been agreed that both parties will not provide any further comments. Thomas Dekker started his career at the Rabobank junior team in 2002 and continued via the future pro team to the Rabobank Pro Team in 2005.

Several Dutch media recently indicated that his blood values in the Tour of Switzerland were out of the ordinary, but the UCI indicated at that time that Thomas Dekker could continue riding.

Rumours about a possible transfer to Garmin Chipotle have been contested by his manager Martijn Berkhout.

Michael Boogerd knocks off

Michael BoogerIn January this year Michael Boogerd announced he would keep a role in the Rabobank Cycling Teams after the end of his active cycling career.

He would have preferred a sports technical role in the team, but it turned out that wasn't possible and together with the bank it was decided he would work on commercials and communication.

About his departure says:

In a mutual agreement Rabobank and Michael Boogerd have decided to stop their collaboration earlier than planned. (...) Recently Michael told Rabobank the current collaboration is not interesting enough for him and asked us to end this collaboration.

Boogerd: I appreciated that Rabobank offered me a way to continue working with them after my sports career. Since sports technical activities for the team turned out not to be possible, I focused on a communications role for the bank. In this period I realised I didn't really like this work. I think it's best for both parties to stop such a collaboration in that case. I now want to find out what would be the next step in my career.

Heleen Crielaard, head of sponsoring at Rabobank: Michael has been the team captain for several years. As a former rider he could continue being the face of the team in his new role. But we respect Michael's decision.

It remains unknown whether there's a link between both departures of the friends from the Rabobank Cycling Team, but this might indicate that the ideas of the new team management - which doesn't have any cycling experience - are not appreciated by everyone ...

door Thomas Vergouwen
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1 comment | 12825 views

this publication is published in: Marketing | Tour de France | Tour de France 2007 | Tour de France 2008 | Cycling general (except Tour de France) | Olympic Games


There are 1 comments!
  1. Voor beiden een wijs besluit denk ik...
    Ben benieuwd waar m.n. Thomas Dekker nu heen gaat, maar als je iets hoort, komt dat vast hier op de site!! ;-)

    | Meggie | Friday 15 August 2008 om 15h01

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