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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Rabobank to end development team sponsorship

Rabobank currently sponsors a UCI Continental development team and the Dutch banking firm will end that relationship when the contract expires at the end of 2016. This news was announced by Marcel Wintels, president of the KNWU, the Dutch cycling federation.

For years Rabobank sponsored a World Tour team but discontinued that in 2012 after it became convinced that pro racing's doping, which involved several Rabobank team riders, was deeply entrenched in the sport. After 2012 Rabobank continued to finance the development team as well as a high-end women's squad, Rabo-Liv. So far there is no news as to the fate of Rabo-Liv.


No word on the fate of Rabo-Liv, shown at the 2015 world championships

Lotto-Soudal riders get custom earphones

Since May 2012 Thierry De Ridder, audiologist and manufacturer of earpieces, is a partner of the team. His company, Valier, produces customised earphones and earplugs for the riders and sports directors. Also next season, he will make sure that everyone has a perfect customised earphone.

Thierry De Ridder, Valier: “I also like to cycle and during these rides, I usually listen to music with my phone. A standard earphone which came with my mobile wasn’t working well and always jumped out of my ears. Because of that, I got the idea to make an earphone myself, fully customised so I could listen to music during cycling without having these problems. That earphone was so comfortable that I decided to put it on the market. I contacted the WorldTour teams and presented them my customised earphones. In the spring of 2012, the former Lotto Belisol team called me to make an appointment. After the talk with Marc Sergeant and Herman Frison, they gave me the opportunity to make customised earphones for the nine riders who would ride the Giro d’Italia of 2012. The riders really liked the earphones and it got the ball rolling.”

Lotto-Soudal custom earpiece fitting

Getting fitted for a custom earpiece

“I’m doing the production of these earphones all by myself. During the team day at 14th of October, I took samples of the riders’ ears. By putting some kind of paste into their ear, you get a perfect print. Back at my office, I edit a standard model to get the perfect copy of the sample. After a week, the earphones are ready to use.”

“New are the earphones for the sports directors. These earphones are also customised and function with voice recognition. When you receive a call, a beep sound goes off and you can pick up handsfree. This is very useful for the sports directors in the team car, so they have their both hands available at all times. For a rider, a good earphone is a necessity. Nothing is worse than riding your bike for five hours and deal with a loose earphone during the whole ride. Don’t forget: good communication is the key to success!”

José Joaquin Rojas has successful heart surgery

Movistar team member José Joaquin Rojas was successfully operated on Wednesday to correct a heart defect (Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome). The problem is usually not threatening to non-athletes, but to a racer working at the outer limits of human capability, the problem can lead to tachycardia, (an over-fast heartbeat).

Rojas' hospital stay should be short and he is fully expected to start his sixth season of racing with Movistar

Joaquin Rojas

Rojas before the start of the 2014 Tour Down Under

Roger Hammond to be Dimension Data Sports Director

Here's the news from MTN-Qhubeka, which will become Team Dimension Data in 2016:

After announcing a number of new prominent rider and staff additions to our African Team for 2016, we are now delighted to welcome Roger Hammond to our management staff for the upcoming season.

Roger will join Team Dimension Data in 2016, taking on the role as Sport Director. He joins our team after serving as Team Manager at Madison-Genesis since 2012. The Briton also had an illustrious professional career spanning between 1998 and 2011 that saw him specialize as a classics rider.

Roger will be a familiar face to many of our riders and partners after already having worked and ridden with them in the past. Given his Classics experience he will be key to our African teams success during the Spring period.

Roger Hammond – Sports Director: "I am very excited to be joining this fantastic project, with so many ex team mates or managers within the team it feels like I’m returning to my family. Cycling has been so influential in the path my life has taken and the rich experiences I have enjoyed along the way. To be part of this project that not only focusses on giving riders the chance to achieve their dreams competitively but – by supporting Qhubeka – also giving children the chance of an education through the medium of the bike was an opportunity not to be missed."

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