Names have a purpose. As a parent, the decision to name your child can be fairly straightforward, or pretty hairy. A family tradition or even a chance to start anew with a fresh beginning. It’s like working on a clear canvas; having the opportunity to have fun and create. Although, being overly creative with a name can also lead to interesting possibilities.
So when Dutch team Rabbobank stated they were going to pull out of pro-cycling it was hard news. Following the fallout from the Lance Armstrong saga, questions are naturally being raised with all members of the peloton. Action had to be taken.
However questionable origins may be (whose isn’t these days?), Rabobank are keen to point out that they do things carefully. What can’t be in question is the Orange Team’s involvement to every race in the pro calendar. Which is a testimony to their commitment with the sport. With over 28 years of dedication from: youth development teams, pro-women squads, Rabobank is effectively producing the National crew. When one thinks of modern Dutch pros, one thinks Rabobank.
So it is with a cautious relief that the hard news has somewhat of a soft-landing. The result: a re-branding of the men’s squad to ‘Blanco Pro Cycling.’ The immediate take is that this is a fresh start – led by a new name. For English speakers, the association to ‘blank’ is not an accident. Nor is it’s translation into Spanish, as ‘white’. Blanco are riding with a new kit to reflect these ideals, which looks great by the way, and the some of the same dedicated team of athletes – Mark Renshaw and Robert Gesink ride on. Just with a new philosophy. Although, not having a dedicated website, and choosing to only carrying the social media sites of Twitter and FB doesn’t bode well for signs of longevity. (Since writing this piece, the team have recently put together a web presence under: http://www.blancoprocyclingteam.com/ )
What’s more, all the sections of their cycling organisation will continue to benefit from financing from Rabbobank up to the end of the 2013 season. This is the one nick in the grand design; what happens next? Firstly, we can’t forget that it’s good news for those who follow the former Rabobank, now Blanco team. It means all that hard work will be put to good use for the new season. Unlike world number 2 team, Katusha, who have not been granted a license to race…yet. Secondly, with such a formidable pedigree, a smart sponsor would see ‘Blanco’ as a squad ready to hit the ground running and an attractive sound investment. It’s happened before and more recently too: The former Team of ‘Leopard’, which boasted a squad that included the Schleck brothers, Cancellara and Jens Voigt, ran as stand-alone private team up till 2010. They then quite easily attracted sponsors in its subsequent years.
To Aus we go:
With only a month before the start of a new season, the team have organised an Australian packed team that hopes to give a convincing performance in the Santos-Tour Down Under. Blanco comes across as organised and intentional with their new remit, and they have a whole season to prove this. Having a big ‘B’ at the start of your name isn’t entirely a bad thing either.
Allez les Blanco!