With the 2013 season in the starting blocks, it will be the first time since ten years without a Marco Polo Cycling Team in the international pelotons. The team’s management did not succeed in securing enough budget to compose a program that could help talented riders to move up into the highest professional ranks.
Gudo Kramer: “We have run the team over the past ten years, with a lot of passion to help young riders from non-traditional cycling countries move up. We built up a massive amount of knowledge and experience in this specific area over the years. It is a pity that this has come to a stop now. We did not succeed in securing enough sponsoring and that’s it. All the turmoil about doping in our sport did not help us in the process of securing sponsorship and did not inspire us, to say the least. We have been asking ourselves lately what future we were trying to help our riders into and if the doping culture in the highest levels of the sports, blocked riders with a ‘different background’ to enter that level? They may have been perceived as potential leaks in the omerta. This thought is also offering hope, though: if the sport gets cleaner, that may mean new chances to the talented riders in Africa and Asia that are certainly out there. So, despite our team’s absence we are hoping to see the top level of our sport globalize further. We will be looking for new opportunities to bring an international development squad back on the road in 2014 and hope to do this in cooperation with our Belgian counterparts Rudi Dubois and Gilbert de Weerdt, who have run our teams in the past couple of years in a fantastic way. In the mean time, we will keep the Marco Polo Cycling Club and Bike4All development programs going.”
Marco Polo Cycling would like to thank all sponsors, cyclists, support staff, volunteers and cycling fans over the past 10 years for their fantastic support, you were all great!
History of the Marco Polo Cycling Team:
In 2003 the team started on a Hong Kong license with the goal to develop Asian cycling talents. From 2005 the team moved to mainland China, became the first UCI-team in China and managed to qualify China for an entry in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the road race. Fuyu Li (Discovery Channel – Radio Shack); Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank – Blanco); Wong Kam Po (World Champion track) are the best known riders that developed through the Marco Polo Cycling Team.
With the successful entry of Ethiopian and Eritrean riders in the team from 2010 we changed direction to develop African/Ethiopian cycling talents, staying with our initial objective of giving chances to cyclists from, as we call it, non-traditional cycling countries. In 2012 the team was the first registered cycling team in Ethiopia with some remarkable results of our young Ethiopian riders in pro races in Europe. Unfortunately this project now comes to a stop because of the lack of financial support. We can do a lot in Africa, and we are happy to see some of our riders move to MTN-Qhubeka and their feeder team, but to develop, there is only one way for them: to race internationally and that opportunity we hope to offer in the future again.