Marianne Vos’ new cycling team has signed a five year sponsorship deal with Dutch company WM3 and signed up a new sport director, Jeroen Blijlevens.
The team replaces Rabobank Liv, whose sponsorship will cease at the end of this year. The new team was announced as ‘Fortitude Cycling’ whilst funding was being secured, but they will now compete as WM3 Pro Cycling.
The team’s hiring of Blijlevens has been met with some raised eyebrows as the new director has a somewhat speckled past – having confessed to using EPO during his own career in the 1990s.
Blijlevens, who himself achieved stage wins at the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro d'Italia, retired in 2004. He’s managed Vos before, on her former team Nederland Bloeit, that became Rabobank in 2012.
Having worked with the director in the past, Vos and the team seem pleased to welcome their new director.
— WM3 Pro Cycling (@WM3ProCycling) November 8, 2016
The team refer to themselves as a "new and powerful international professional women's cycling team" and aim to become a sustainable impetus for the women's peloton.
WM3 Energie say they want to become a leading party in cycling over the next few years. Peter van Tuijl of WM3 Energie said: "We can’t achieve a sustainable world, in just one day. We see a terrific goal for ourselves and we are working towards it, step by step. Just like the team is; with its sustainable mission in sports, with the ultimate green transport machine: the bicycle. The idea of training riders and them being a source of inspiration for the growing group of recreational and sports cyclists, really appeals to us. That is why we are happy to be a part of it, for many years to come."
Eric van den Boom, Team manager of WM3 Pro Cycling said: "We have an eager and talented team, which will be on the hunt for success, in 2017 and thereafter. Determination, courage and passion are the key words which describe our team. In short: fortitude, as we already announced previously."
Vos will lead the roster that includes Anouska Koster, Kasia Niewiadoma, Valentina Scandolara Yara Kastelijn, Jeanne Korevaar and Moniek Tenniglo,Rotem Gafinovitz and Anna Plichta, both from BTC City Ljubljana, along with Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products) and Riejanne Markus (Team Liv Plantur).