And so Rabobank pro cycling team is no more.
The Dutch pro team ends over a decade of involvement at 1030 am this morning when the announcement leaked overnight is confirmed.
Citing the USADA statement as reason to quit the sport at professional level is topical for sure. But is it a convenient smokescreen to save the bank some of its vital marketing Euros at this time?
Is Lance Armstrong to blame for the demise of the team ? or could under achieving stars such as Robert Gesink, whose inability to stay on two wheels for an entire race has deprived them of results and therefore ROI (return on investment) for their money?
I think its a combination of both rather than just a Lance/drugs decision.
An underperforming mega bucks team has seen a window of opportunity to leave the sport whilst retaining the moral high ground.
I wonder if Bauke Mollema would join Fenland Clarion if we could afford him...
Updated with Rababank Cycling statement...
"The Rabobank cycling team regrets Rabobank’s decision to stop its sponsorship of the men’s professional cycling team. The team was informed about the reasons and understands the decision. We’ve been cycling for 17 years now with the name Rabobank proudly on our shirts and it hurts that going forward we’ll have to do without that name," the team said in a statement.
"The cycling team is very grateful to Rabobank for the 17 years of loyal sponsorship. The sport of cycling should be grateful to Rabobank for all the efforts it has made in the past years to put Dutch cycling on the map successfully. Through Rabobank, many talents have had the chance to reach their potential.
"We are confident that Rabobank will take good care of the cyclists and staff members of Rabobank Wielerploegen BV in the finalisation of this matter."