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Wout van Aert's Sniper Cycling and Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij confirm merger

Joe Robinson
30 Aug 2018

Belgian and Dutch teams join forces in 2019 although van Aert may leave early

The team of Cyclocross World Champion Wout van Aert, Sniper Cycling, and Dutch side Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij have confirmed that the two teams will merge in 2019.

The team will be called Roompot-Crelan Cycling Team and will continue to race at ProContinental level.

Team Roompot were on the hunt for a new sponsor after the Dutch lottery that helps fund the team announced that it would be withdrawing its funding for 2019.

Roompot confirmed it would increase its stake in the team but that it would be open to a second sponsor. Eventually, they came to an agreement with Belgian team Veranda's Willems-Crelan to merge the two teams.

This decision to combine with the team from across the Belgian border is thought to be an attempt to attract Belgian riders to its roster but also to grow the Roompot holiday park business outside of the Netherlands.

In a press release, sales director of Roompot Vakanties, Laura Ligthart, spoke of the benefits of bringing on board Belgian sponsorship.

'Belgium is a clear growth market. We have welcomed 10 per cent more guests from Belgium this year than last year,' Ligthart said.

'With the sponsorship of this new cycling team, we strengthen our name especially on the Belgian market'

The release also suggested that the newly former Roompot-Crelan team would target the Spring Classics with van Aert but also look to win a wildcard invitation to one of the three Grand Tours.

Roompot-Nederlanse Loterij have had an impressive summer of racing with a stage victory at the recent BinckBank Tour and an active Deutschland Tour.

Belgian brand Crelan did also confirm that it would continue to sponsor its cyclocross team, which includes World Champion van Aert, having done so since 2000.

This announcement comes in the light of fellow ProContinental team Aqua Blue Sport announcing that they would cease to exist from 2019 due to a lack of invites to top races.

The Irish team were previously linked to a merger with Sniper Cycling earlier this month but were left blushing when a press release announcing the collaboration was rescinded with Sniper Cycling denying the merger.

Aqua Blue Sport have since decided to cease operations as a professional cycling team leaving 15 riders and a team of staff out of contract.

This now-confirmed Roompot/Sniper collaboration has also seemingly caught star rider Wout van Aert off-guard who criticised the teams for showing little communication with the riders over the merger, joking that he may even take a sabbatical year before joining LottoNL-Jumbo in 2020.

Clashes between van Aert and Sniper Cycling team manager Nick Nuyens have been well-documented and with this latest comment seem far from being repaired. 

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