Rabobank ends sponsorship of men's and women's pro teams

Dutch financial institution ends involvement with professional cycling due to

by Simon_MacMichael   October 19, 2012  

Rabobank in Vuelta 2012 TTT (copyright Unipublic:Graham Watson)

Rabobank, one of the longest standing team sponsors in cycling, has announced that it will cease sponsorship of its men's and women's professional teams from 31 December. The decision to withdraw backing is due to the bank's belief that it is impossible for cycling to become a "clean and fair" sport in te wake of the US Postal scandal. The announcement coming as the UCI licensing process for next season draws to a close. Reports are that the team will not be granted a WordTour licence, but it hopes to continue racing in 2013, without a sponsor, which would mean it would have to drop down to Professional Continental level assuming it obtains the relevant licence.

Founded in 1984 as Kwantum, the team, which Rabobank began sponsoring in 1997, has participated in every edition of the Tour de France since then. Earlier this year, a Dutch newpaper claimed that the team had condoned doping from 1996 to 2007, the latter being the year in which it sacked rider Michael Rasmussen while the Dane was leading the Tour de France after it emerged he had lied about his whereabouts for drug testing purposes.

Yesterday the UCI announced that it was starting disciplinary proceedings againt Rabobank rider Carlos Barreda for "apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profile in his biological passport."

In a statement realeased this morning, Bert Bruggink, a member of the bank's managing board, said: “It is with pain in our heart, but for the bank this is an inevitable decision. We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport. We are not confident that this will change for the better in the foreseeable future"

The Dutch bank said that it would continue to sponsor the amateur side of the sport, including cyclocross and youth cycling.

Bruggink continued: “Cycling is a beautiful sport, which millions of Dutch people enjoy and a large number of those Dutch people are clients of Rabobank. But our decision stands: we are pulling out of professional cycling. It is painful. Not just for Rabobank, but especially for the enthusiasts and the cyclists who are not to blame in this.”

Founded in 1984 as Kwantum, the team, which Rabobank began sponsoring in 1997, has participated in every edition of the Tour de France since then.

In a statement, the team said: "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 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."

 

 

23 user comments

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Renshaw to OPQS Thinking

posted by bigant [39 posts]
19th October 2012 - 9:46

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Unfortunately the sport needs sponsors to quit to tidy itself up. The teams are all managed by ex-dopers, and have no qualms about hiring riders returning from bans. How they think this can represent any sponsor is beyond me

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:09

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New teams needed but strong sponsors too.

Shame for the grassroots riders it will effect.

posted by Super Domestique [1583 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:18

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Perhaps a few big sponsors puling out and a drop in the total amount of money involved in pro cycling might help reduce the pressure to dope.

It is quite common to hear how the big money has damaged so many sports. When someone can make the sort of money Armstrong did then cycling is certainly on of those damaged sports.

Shay

posted by shay cycles [209 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:33

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posted by phax71 [298 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:39

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That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

posted by stevebull-01 [60 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:42

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According to @hendriksmj Bruggink said that Rabobank will still be supporting the team financially for the next 4 years, just not under Rabobanks' name (dutch):

https://twitter.com/hendriksmj/status/259220301311791104

posted by Paul J [523 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:49

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Quote:
Perhaps a few big sponsors puling out and a drop in the total amount of money involved in pro cycling might help reduce the pressure to dope.

I actually think it might be worse? fewer jobs, more pressure to keep one you have, more need for results. more temptation.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:55

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Rabo bank is a good name brand. They obviously know there is an ill wind blowing in their direction. Best to get out now then be marred by the nuclear outfall. They indicated that they will sponsor amateur cycling which is a good thing. I hate to see them go but Bruggink was left with little alternative. They will be back once the sport has new management and a new mission statement against drugs. Wink I just can't see pro tours without rabo bank they are synonymous. Thinking

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 11:18

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Sad but almost inevitable. And I think there'll be one or two more big names following suite. It's just a shame that Rabobank seem to be basing most of their analysis of the current peloton with reference to the Armstrong years and the USADA findings. I would like to think that the likes of Barreda constitute a tiny minority of riders and are not representative of riders as a whole.

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posted by cavasta [193 posts]
19th October 2012 - 11:19

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stevebull-01 wrote:
That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

That's exactly what they're saying.

To be honest, who can blame them? Even to insiders and fans this looks unbelievably poor - to the general public it's now official: cyclists are all dopers - even our (supposed) flag-ship success story turned out to be just another lie.

And it looks like the final nail in the coffin is imminent (yeah, I know - I can't believe we need another nail either!), when the €30million Ferrari doping ring hits the press with all the teams and riders outed...methinks Rabobank may just be the first drop of a deluge of exits.

Screw Lance - nobody has ever done more damage to cycling in its entire history. He deserves everything that's coming (and a lot more besides). And screw all these other dickheads too - by the time this is done they may just have managed to kill the sport entirely.

Then again, that may be the only way out of this. The nuclear option. Change everything. Sponsors, large tranches of riders and athletes, and most important of all - the corrupt and embarrassing governing body. It would only take a decade or two to rebuild...

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:56

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A sad day. I can't say that I see how this helps cycle racing at all.

Is Brad going to be the last person ever to win Le Tour?

It's very easy to say lets start from scratch and include no one who has ever been involved in doping or teams linked to doping. A total fantasy.

I obviously know nothing about banking, especially foreign banks and Rabobank in particular. It's just a little ironic for that industry to be worried about having a tarnished image due to association to cycling.

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posted by bikeandy61 [383 posts]
19th October 2012 - 13:31

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Lacticlegs wrote:
stevebull-01 wrote:
That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

That's exactly what they're saying.

To be honest, who can blame them? Even to insiders and fans this looks unbelievably poor - to the general public it's now official: cyclists are all dopers - even our (supposed) flag-ship success story turned out to be just another lie.

And it looks like the final nail in the coffin is imminent (yeah, I know - I can't believe we need another nail either!), when the €30million Ferrari doping ring hits the press with all the teams and riders outed...methinks Rabobank may just be the first drop of a deluge of exits.

Screw Lance - nobody has ever done more damage to cycling in its entire history. He deserves everything that's coming (and a lot more besides). And screw all these other dickheads too - by the time this is done they may just have managed to kill the sport entirely.

Then again, that may be the only way out of this. The nuclear option. Change everything. Sponsors, large tranches of riders and athletes, and most important of all - the corrupt and embarrassing governing body. It would only take a decade or two to rebuild...

I second that motion ..all in favour?

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 13:54

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Seoige wrote:
Lacticlegs wrote:
stevebull-01 wrote:
That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

That's exactly what they're saying.

To be honest, who can blame them? Even to insiders and fans this looks unbelievably poor - to the general public it's now official: cyclists are all dopers - even our (supposed) flag-ship success story turned out to be just another lie.

And it looks like the final nail in the coffin is imminent (yeah, I know - I can't believe we need another nail either!), when the €30million Ferrari doping ring hits the press with all the teams and riders outed...methinks Rabobank may just be the first drop of a deluge of exits.

Screw Lance - nobody has ever done more damage to cycling in its entire history. He deserves everything that's coming (and a lot more besides). And screw all these other dickheads too - by the time this is done they may just have managed to kill the sport entirely.

Then again, that may be the only way out of this. The nuclear option. Change everything. Sponsors, large tranches of riders and athletes, and most important of all - the corrupt and embarrassing governing body. It would only take a decade or two to rebuild...

I second that motion ..all in favour?


Aye.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
19th October 2012 - 14:09

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It won't be long before the only pro team left will be SKY.

antonio

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posted by antonio [923 posts]
19th October 2012 - 14:37

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Seoige wrote:
Lacticlegs wrote:
stevebull-01 wrote:
That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

That's exactly what they're saying.

To be honest, who can blame them? Even to insiders and fans this looks unbelievably poor - to the general public it's now official: cyclists are all dopers - even our (supposed) flag-ship success story turned out to be just another lie.

And it looks like the final nail in the coffin is imminent (yeah, I know - I can't believe we need another nail either!), when the €30million Ferrari doping ring hits the press with all the teams and riders outed...methinks Rabobank may just be the first drop of a deluge of exits.

Screw Lance - nobody has ever done more damage to cycling in its entire history. He deserves everything that's coming (and a lot more besides). And screw all these other dickheads too - by the time this is done they may just have managed to kill the sport entirely.

Then again, that may be the only way out of this. The nuclear option. Change everything. Sponsors, large tranches of riders and athletes, and most important of all - the corrupt and embarrassing governing body. It would only take a decade or two to rebuild...

I second that motion ..all in favour?


Aye.

aye!

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [168 posts]
19th October 2012 - 15:19

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Seoige wrote:
Lacticlegs wrote:
stevebull-01 wrote:
That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

That's exactly what they're saying.

To be honest, who can blame them? Even to insiders and fans this looks unbelievably poor - to the general public it's now official: cyclists are all dopers - even our (supposed) flag-ship success story turned out to be just another lie.

And it looks like the final nail in the coffin is imminent (yeah, I know - I can't believe we need another nail either!), when the €30million Ferrari doping ring hits the press with all the teams and riders outed...methinks Rabobank may just be the first drop of a deluge of exits.

Screw Lance - nobody has ever done more damage to cycling in its entire history. He deserves everything that's coming (and a lot more besides). And screw all these other dickheads too - by the time this is done they may just have managed to kill the sport entirely.

Then again, that may be the only way out of this. The nuclear option. Change everything. Sponsors, large tranches of riders and athletes, and most important of all - the corrupt and embarrassing governing body. It would only take a decade or two to rebuild...

I second that motion ..all in favour?


Aye.

And we should seal it with a fire sacrifice in Geneva, at 1pm local time on Monday.

posted by zanf [418 posts]
19th October 2012 - 15:43

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Gutted for the support staff who do a job for not a lot of money but lots of passion....

posted by leedgreen [28 posts]
19th October 2012 - 17:15

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Lacticlegs wrote:
stevebull-01 wrote:
That seems a little like saying, all pro cyclists are dopers so we want nothing to do with the sport.

That's exactly what they're saying.

To be honest, who can blame them? Even to insiders and fans this looks unbelievably poor - to the general public it's now official: cyclists are all dopers - even our (supposed) flag-ship success story turned out to be just another lie.

And it looks like the final nail in the coffin is imminent (yeah, I know - I can't believe we need another nail either!), when the €30million Ferrari doping ring hits the press with all the teams and riders outed...methinks Rabobank may just be the first drop of a deluge of exits.

Screw Lance - nobody has ever done more damage to cycling in its entire history. He deserves everything that's coming (and a lot more besides). And screw all these other dickheads too - by the time this is done they may just have managed to kill the sport entirely.

Then again, that may be the only way out of this. The nuclear option. Change everything. Sponsors, large tranches of riders and athletes, and most important of all - the corrupt and embarrassing governing body. It would only take a decade or two to rebuild...

Okay. So Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Cancellara, Martin etc, have at one time or are currently doping in your opinion then? That's a pretty grim view. Do you not believe there are actually some genuine cyclists out there with natural talent. Perhaps the Olympic track cycling team were all off their faces on drugs too because they performed well this year.

posted by stevebull-01 [60 posts]
19th October 2012 - 17:25

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London was a lot different Steve they tested everyone as far as I know before the event. My hat off to them they ran a fantastic olympics and should be rightly proud. You can not associate them with this furore. UCI are the ones who should have policed the sport properly. I trained with sharon davis the olypmic swimmer at Sharks swimming club and it was all natural ability and hard work. In rugby just as aggressive. But everyone clean and a level playing field. England does not promote a drug culture quite the opposite. I love the sport of cycling because it is first and foremost a healthy sport.In Ireland we do not need EPO to compete just the knowledge that when we finish we can have a few pints of Guinness. That is all the reasoned decision we need. So got to laugh Rolling On The Floor

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 18:00

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Fair enough Seoige, I got carried away with my last past. I just don't like the idea of tarring all pro's with the same brush. I agree though, the UCI is very corrupt. Like the idea of a few pints of Guinness too

posted by stevebull-01 [60 posts]
19th October 2012 - 18:35

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Being the cynical old sod that I am, I can't help thinking; Thinking european financial crises, banks feeling the pinch, needing to tighten their belts, need good excuse Wink to back out of sponsorship deals....and bonus we can take the moral high ground by blaming our financial decision on the furor caused by a doped up yank that most europeans detest. Devil

P.S. more emoticons I've used all the ones you've got

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [555 posts]
20th October 2012 - 10:20

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Maybe they just dont want their name associated with drug taking ?

It seems a logical step to take.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2642 posts]
21st October 2012 - 14:35

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