BRUSSELS, Dec 13, 2012 (AFP) – The Rabobank team, left high and dry by the
withdrawal of their sponsor from professional cycling, have found a new
benefactor and will be able to start the 2013 season after all.
From January 1, the team will ride under the banner of Blanco Pro Cycling,
the team’s new Dutch manager announced on Thursday.
Rabobank, which has sponsored a professional cycling team for the last 17
years, announced in October that it would sever its ties with the team from
December 31, claiming the sport had been irrevocably damaged by a succession
of doping cases, notably the devastating Lance Armstrong affair.
The bank will, however, continue to sponsor a women’s team, led by Olympic
champion Marianne Vos, at least until the 2016 Games in Rio.
After the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour
de France titles and banned him for life, Rabobank were among the first to
“We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of
cycling can make this a clean and fair sport,” Rabobank board member Bert
Bruggink said in October.
“We are not confident that this will change for the better in the
He added: “What the USADA showed us is that international cycle racing is
not only sick but also at the highest level within cycling, including a number
of the relevant authorities, including checks on the use of doping,” he added.
Rabobank has been the standard-bearer for Dutch cycling and enjoyed success
but it has also been mired in doping scandals, including one involving Danish
rider Michael Rasmussen when he was wearing the leader’s yellow jersey on the
2007 Tour de France.