Blanco Pro Cycling Team – the Dutch WorldTour squad formerly known as Rabobank – presented itself to the media on Thursday evening at its winter training camp on the Spanish island of Fuerteventura.
Gone is the distinctive orange kit of the Rabobank team, and in is the black, white and blue strip of Blanco. The squad changed its title after long-term sponsor Rabobank announced that it would withdraw its name from the men’s WorldTour team at the end of 2012.
“Rabobank has come to this decision following publication of the report from the American doping authority USADA,” the bank said in a statement on October 19 referring to the evidence that saw Lance Armstrong stripped of seven Tour de France titles for doping.
The Dutch financial organisation will continue to fund the team until the end of 2013 as contracted, despite the squad not carrying its name.
The team will race as Blanco until it can find a new title sponsor for 2014, announcing via its Facebook page: “A new team, a fresh start, a blank canvas”. The women’s team will race as Rabobank Liv/Giant headed up by Olympic and world champion Marianne Vos, and the under-23 Rabobank Development Team will also continue until at least 2016.
The men’s squad retains the majority of riders from Rabobank, including Grand Tour hopeful and 2012 Tour of California winner Robert Gesink, all-rounder Luis Leon Sanchez and sprinter Mark Renshaw.
As well as presenting the team on Thursday, the squad also announced the appointment of Richard Plugge as team director, replacing Harold Knebbel at the end of the year. Plugge previously held the position as communications manager with Rabobank.
Blanco will be in action at the opening 2013 WorldTour race in Australia in January – the Tour Down Under.
Blanco Pro Cycling Team 2013
Jack Bobridge (Australia)
Jetse Bol (Netherlands)
Lars Boom (Netherlands)
Theo Bos (Netherlands)
Graeme Brown (Australia)
Stef Clement (Netherlands)
Rick Flens (Netherlands)
Juanma Garate (Spain)
Robert Gesink (Netherlands)
Marc Goos (Netherlands)
Moreno Hofland (Netherlands)
Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands)
Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands)
Tom Leezer (Netherlands)
Paul Martens (Germany)
Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)
Mark Renshaw (Australia)
Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spain)
Tom-Jelte Slagter (Netherlands)
Bram Tankink (Netherlands)
David Tanner (Australia)
Laurens Ten Dam (Netherlands)
Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands)
Jos Van Emden (Netherlands)
Dennis Van Winden (Netherlands)
Sep Vanmarcke (Belgium)
Robert Wagner (Germany)
Maarten Wijnants (Belgium)
New team director Richard Plugge
The team line up in Fuerteventura
Rabobank ends sponsorship amid Armstrong doping scandal
Blanco Pro Cycling team website