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Fresh off her overall victory in the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour, Dutch time trial champion and Giro Rosa stage winner Annemiek van Vleuten has been confirmed as moving to the Bigla Cycling team for 2015.
The squad is aiming to expand for 2015 through new signings and a change in team management.
Van Vleuten is a former winner of races such as the women’s Tour of Flanders, the Open de Suède Vargada and the GP de Plouay and took the 2011 women’s World Cup. She has been racing with the Rabo women’s team setup since 2012 and having ridden alongside Marianne Vos and helped her to some of her big victories, she will now have greater scope to ride for herself with Bigla.
“I’ve had a great time with the Rabobank-Liv team racing with Marianne Vos the past seasons and now I feel it’s time for a new challenge in my career,” she said in a team statement.
“My time trial has had a real progression this season. When I was thinking about a new team I was thinking of my goals for the next two years. I thought I’d like to keep improving my time trial for 2015 and then focus on the 2016 Rio Olympics. I thought I need experienced people around me and good equipment.”
Van Vleuten took three stages plus the overall victory in this month’s Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour and is highly motivated to perform at the world road race championships. Next season she will be guided by Thomas Campana, who previously had management roles with the men and women’s squads at the Cervélo Test Team and more recently worked with MTN Qhubeka.
The confirmation of Campana’s involvement comes at the same time the current sponsors have announced they will extend their backing for two more years, 2015 and 2016.
He is enthusiastic about the team’s plans. “We’re very excited to announce this new project. I’ve been working with some key people over the past few months to put this together and we’re delighted to have the Bigla company support this dream,” he said.
“Our goals are to be the one of the best teams in the world and to give our riders the best environment in order for them to realise their dreams like the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. We also want to be focused on our sponsors and partners and reward them for having the faith in this exciting opportunity,” Campana continued.
Van Vleuten said that is involvement is a big factor in her decision. “I know Thomas Campana has helped a lot of riders become world class athletes so it made sense for me,” she said.
“I’m also looking forward to the Classics season. We’re building a very strong team and I am excited to work with all of the girls.”
More announcements about riders and sponsorship will be made in the coming days. Meanwhile Van Vleuten is en route to Spain where she will continue her build-up for the world road race championships.