Friday, 30 December 2011 17:24
Season's greetings from Marco Polo Cycling and the best wishes for a happy, healthy, exciting and adventurous new cycling year! We wish the Marco Polo Cycling Team lots of success in 2012 with their new country of registration Ethiopia.
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Here you see a choice of different Marco Polo Cycling Team jerseys. You can find details in the webshop:
Thursday, 01 December 2011 01:00
After ten years of focus on the potential of Chinese cycling, Marco Polo Cycling decided to take a new direction and will register it’s European based UCI Continental team in Ethiopia and will become the first Ethiopian professional cycling team.
The Marco Polo Cycling Team in Europe with sports director Gilbert de Weerdt and the Ethiopian (and Eritrean) cyclists.
Especially Northern Ethiopia is home to a great cycling culture – just like neighboring Eritrea. Marco Polo Cycling has been active for over 5 years already in Ethiopia, supporting the Ethiopian Cycling Federation with knowledge and equipment through the charity foundation Bike4All by Marco Polo Cycling.
Team owner Gudo Kramer: “Looking back, one could say that we have never reached the full potential of Chinese cycling. I prefer to focus on the brighter side: when we came to Chinese races first, we used to be the only European team. Years later, we managed to bring Fuyu Li to Discovery Channel and qualify China for the Olympic Road Race in Beijing. Asian cycling has become a very international cycling scene now – and it is our mission to help non-traditional cycling countries to develop. From that perspective, we have been successful.
After ten years, we have evaluated what we are doing and we expect to add more value to African cycling then we were able to in China – now that there are 7 Chinese Continental Teams and several very international races.”
The team’s program will be based on a full program of UCI and Pro races in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany. Stage races in Africa, Asia, Southern Europe and also incidental participations in Gran Fondo’s (Marco Polo’s Ethiopian Solomon Shiferaw won the GP Eddy Merckx on the Mur de Huy this year) will add variety and mountains to the program.
Sports director Gilbert de Weerdt: “We firmly believe that riders can gain speed, toughness and most of the skills they will ever need in the hard and technical UCI and Pro races in and around Belgium. The development riders from Africa will be surrounded by experienced riders from here, like we did with Matthé Pronk, Jan Kuyckx and Léon van Bon this year. This year we have seen that, already in their first season, the tiny climbers from Ethiopia can survive most of the races over here. I am curious about the step these guys are making towards next season and also how good the new African riders will be. We will make sure that the program is on pro level and that they are well guided.”
Setting up the team registration in Ethiopia took more time then hoped for. Only sure about the possibility to run the team from the Eastern African country for a very short time now, the basic budget for a great program is guaranteed, but most equipment sponsors still need to be signed.
The team is hoping to find brands in the cycling industry, that would be interested to support the globalization of cycling and the development of the sport in a poor African country with great athletic potential. Brands and other interested parties are invited to contact Marco Polo Cycling.
More information: www.marcopolocycling.com - http://www.marcopolocyclingteam.com -www.facebook.com/marcopolocycling
Solomon Shiferaw and Estifanos Gebresilassie from Ethiopia and Daniel Abraham from Eritrea from the Marco Polo Cycling Team at this years Tour of Qinghai Lake UCI category H.C. race in China. (photo: Remko Kramer)