The Netherlands’ top cycling team, Rabobank, received confirmation today that it can continue racing for six more years, through 2016.

“With this contract extension,” said Bert Bruggink, CFO of Rabobank Group, “I expect that we will have another beautiful and inspiring six years of cycling ahead of us.”

Bruggink made the announcement at the team’s presentation today in Kaatsheuvel. The bank’s agreement extends the original sponsorship four more years, from the end of 2012 to 2016.

“The sponsorship project works well for us. Studies show that many Dutch people and especially our customers appreciate it. Cycling really fits with Rabobank,” continued Bruggink.

“This extension shows our confidence in the squad. There is now a solid structure, the future is solid. We provide the team a chance to grow. Talents can have the time to flourish in Rabobank’s teams.”

Rabobank Group sponsors different levels of cycling teams, including its professional and Under 23 team. American Tejay Van Garderen (with HTC-Columbia) and many current Dutch professionals started with Rabobank’s amateur team.

The professional team next year appears to be the strongest in some time. Team manager Erik Breukink signed Spaniards Luis León Sánchez (from Caisse d’Epargne) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Dane Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) and home favourite, Dutchman Theo Bos (Cervélo). They will strengthen the team, which already includes Spaniard Oscar Freire – this year’s Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Tours winner – and Dutchman Robert Gesink – sixth at the Tour de France and winner of the Giro dell’Emilia one-day race.

Rabobank took over the sponsorship of the Novell team 15 years ago, starting with the 1996 season. Its local and foreign offices in countries like the USA and Australia have benefited from the international exposure.

The agreement is worth €15 million a year, with another €10 million a year going to local banks to sponsor races, the mountain bike team and recreational cycling events.

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