|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
Tales from the travellers the diary of Team Marco Polo
First professional Chinese cycling team announced
Marco Polo Cycling Team presentation, January 2, 2005
The Marco Polo Cycling Team will be the first professional cycling team from China. The team, registered in China from 1/1/2005, had its first press presentation in Zhuhai, South China on the 2nd of January.
After the Tour of South China Sea finished, the team staff had to continue to organise the logistics to get with the whole team, staff and guests to Zhuhai in the south of China. Commercial manager Rob Conijn travelled ahead of the team and welcomed everybody at the hotel. The usual turmoil before a team presentation started to happen: riders running around with new gear, staff preparing the conference room, management calling media and trying to find out where the last riders are. Two of the first four Chinese riders were with us. The other two still had to come from the airport. They came straight from their provinces.
The presentation would start at 16:00 hours, however the two riders had some delay. This gave all the opportunity to 'meet and greet' and enjoy a drink and some snacks in a relaxed atmosphere. There was time for some conversations and some interviews. We will arrange for some riders to arrive late next time by ourselves! It worked really well in terms of socialising! The riders arrived and were taken straight from the car to the staff-room. 'Hello guys welcome at the Marco Polo Cycling Team, put on this clothing as fast as you can!'
Around 15 journalists were present, newspapers, magazines, Zhuhai television, and CCTV, China national television. It must have been one of the biggest cycling team presentations in the world, in terms of number of viewers!!
Tian Junrong, Secretary General from the CCA opened the meeting. After that Todd McKean from Trek China, presented the new team bike, painted in the colours and the design of the Marco Polo Cycling Team. The bike just looks fantastic!!!
Sponsors: The team has a solid base from the sponsors from the Netherlands, JP Print and Setpoint Men's Fashion and Volkswagen. New sponsors are Trek bicycles and Nestle Pure Life Water. The team has still place for a main sponsor from Asia or a multi-national company with interest in the Asian/Chinese market.
The Marco Polo Cycling Team has the following sponsors for materials: Trek bicycles, Bontrager wheels and materials, Biemme cycling clothing, Craft underwear, Vredestein tires, Lake shoes, Tacx tools and rollers, Gazelle, Axley glasses, Born Sportscare, Keywin pedals, Nikon camera, Selle Italia saddles, Pazzaz carbon parts, Limar helmets, Sigma Sport HR monitors and cycling computers and Universal automation web hosting,
After the press conference, the Marco Polo Cycling Team stayed in Zhuhai for a 2 week training camp. Of course the training was planned to build up the form for the first Asian races on the calendar. The first goal in the 2005 race program is the Tour of Siam in Thailand. This is the first UCI race in Asia in 2005 and therefore also the very first race for the UCI Asia Continental Tour. The winner of the Tour of Siam will wear the leader jersey in the month February...
The next races after this will be the Tour of Qatar, where a line-up with "Tour de France teams" is being expected. So it will be necessary for our riders to be in the best form to be able to compete at the world's highest level.
Another main goal of this first training camp was the integration of the new riders in the team. We believe that we need a team of friends for winning races. The Marco Polo Cycling Team always races as a team. In a good atmosphere, where the riders feel well they will have their best performance.
For the Chinese riders it was new to meet and become friends with riders from all over the world. But they really enjoyed the fun and humour and felt comfortable with their new team-mates and staff. The Chinese riders also enjoyed the stories from adventures around the world and inside stories from the European cycling world. For them their sportive goals are also in Europe. They know the Tour de France and have the ambition to race there in the future. But of course they also have ambitions in their own country, 2008 is a special year for them. But also 2005 is very important as the Chinese Games are held!!
The Chinese riders have a very good basic fitness and condition. In their provincial teams they are used to huge loads of training. That is how they become strong as they are. But it is a pity that there still are only a few races in China. So they lack the experience and miss the extra push from an intensive racing program.
The base of the training were the endurance work-outs. In addition some fast work was being done to make the team ready for the racing program. And there was also time for technical exercises, to train the bicycle handling skills and technique in echelon riding.
Team director Allan Wolhuter from South-Africa, former professional in Europe and national coach of South-Africa, worked out a good program for these weeks. We hope the Marco Polo Cycling Team is now ready for another successful year. Thanks for the great work Allan!
The Marco Polo Cycling Team will have 12 riders to start the year with, a few more to be added, later this season.
Michael Carter (USA) 03/03/1963
New in 2005
Rhys Pollock (Australia) 14/03/1980
Chinese riders (all new riders)
Tong Yu (China) 19/01/1982
The international riders are there to make the team base strong and bring experience and stability. The Chinese riders are in the team to learn and gain experience in international competition. The team start is based upon an agreement between the China Cycling Association and the World Wide Cycling Foundation (management Marco Polo Cycling Project), that runs from 1/1/2005 till 31/12/2008. The aim of the agreement is to develop the level of Chinese riders, towards international pro-level before the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Sportive goals in 2005 will be a top ranking in the UCI Asia Tour for teams and have the Chinese riders gain experience in European pro-am racing.
New sponsors of the team include Trek Bikes, Nestlé Pure Life and Craft. Trek developed a new team-bike design for the Marco Polo Cycling Team, which will also be presented in Zhuhai.
All 2004 sponsors stayed on board, including Volkswagen, Setpoint, JP Print, Biemme, Vredestein, Lake, Tacx, Gazelle, Axley, Born Sportscare, Keywin, Nikon, Selle Italia, Pazzaz, Universal automation, Bontrager, Limar and Sigma Sport.
Some of these companies are sponsoring the team, some the Marco Polo Cycling School training centre in The Netherlands and some both.
Marco Polo Cycling Team
Tel/fax +31 24 3606301; email: email@example.com
For more information on the Marco Polo Cycling Club and its travels, visit: www.marcopolocycling.com