What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vacansoleil-DCM awaits one more race

Daan Luijkx meets the press on the second last race day of the team.

Next Sunday the Chrono des Nations is the latest official race of Vacansoleil-DCM. Today, during the Sluitingsprijs in Putte-Kapellen, team manager and owner Daan Luijkx looked back with the press on five exciting years.

First of all Luijkx addressed to the disappearing of several teams: “It are difficult weeks for the sport with five team stopping and sad weeks for us since we are one of them. During the season we were several times very close in finding a new sponsor but we didn’t get a signed contract. I find it very sad for many riders and staff who want to continue in pro cycling. When we already in June told the team members to do their homework and look for a new team we hoped that it would be enough time for them. It now seems they weren’t too late but due to the big number of people being available all teams seem to wait longer signing new riders and staff.”

The team manager looks back on a great period: “I can look back on a nice period in which we grew fast with the help of our sponsors. It was a rollercoaster ride in which we had highs and lows. Our team got a signature thanks to young riders who became pro which weren’t always in the picture at other teams. Those mainly Dutch riders used the opportunity by racing agressive and with passion. For those riders we will miss an extra Dutch professional cycling team in 2014.”

Luijkx talks about some highlights: “In 2009 it was great how we entered the pro peloton with the Vuelta as true highlight. In 2010 we grew with 19 out of 23 riders getting a podium spot but we missed out on the wildcards for the grand tours. Thanks to a bigger budget for 2011 we became WorldTour. Our first year in the WorldTour was a very consistent season with 25 victories and a sixth position on the CQ ranking. 2011 was also the year in which talents like De Gendt and Poels battled with the best athletes in the world. In 2012 we got some great victories and 2013 was despite a big investment in the coaching staff certainly not our best year. The change we started in 2013 was the challenge for the coming years. That change had to lead to better results and that job wasn’t finished yet.”

Daan Luijkx analyses the development of his team: “In 2010 and 2011 we signed long term contracts with riders and our sponsors which grew with the team. I signed those contracts with the idea to be ready for a next step after 2013. Unfortunately that didn’t happen but I am happy with the five years in which our sponsors reached their marketing goals.”

The sport has a lot of chances according to Luijkx: “Research shows that the sport is cleaner and I believe in the latest developments. Like the one in which a big number of teams work on a new and sustainable business model for the sport. As a team we were involved in that development and I don’t want to say goodbye forever to a sport which seems to be on its way up. There are some potential partners which didn’t say yes or no for 2015 and I will also look ahead. In the meanwhile I wish to thank the fans, sponsors, riders and staff for five beautiful years which are behind us.”

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