The newly-merged Roompot-Charles team was presented to the media on Thursday, with new arrival Lars Boom and notable absentee Wout Van Aert the principal topics of discussion. The 2019 Roompot-Charles roster is a merger of the Dutch Roompot squad and Belgian outfit Veranda’s Willems-Crelan.
Van Aert was under contract with Sniper Cycling, the holding company behind Veranda’s Willems-Crelan, for the 2019 season, but he unilaterally terminated that deal in September while the squad was negotiating its merger with Roompot. He has been racing as an independent rider on the cyclo-cross circuit since.
Earlier this month, the UCI appeared to give Van Aert the green light to sign for a new team for 2019, though Sniper Cycling is still pursuing the matter through the Belgian legal system. Van Aert already has a contract with Team Jumbo for 2020 and is now waiting on permission to sign with the Dutch WorldTour squad with immediate effect.
“We do not want what is happening around Wout to affect the team,” Nuyens said, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “A team is more than one person, and the fact that both Roompot and Charles stayed behind this project [without Van Aert – ed.] makes this so beautiful.
“It’s logical that it is different without Van Aert, but we have a nice team that can put its stamp on the races. You can keep looking back, but we want to move forward.”
Nuyens’ Sniper Cycling outfit has been absorbed by the Oranje Cycling holding company behind the original Roompot team. Michael Zijlaard is the general manager of the revamped and merged squad. The 2019 roster features six riders apiece from the 2018 Roompot and Veranda’s Willems squads, as well as five new signings, including Lars Boom and Boy van Poppel.
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