Daphny van den Brand, who won the European Cyclocross Championship this year and narrowly missed out on gold behind Marianne Vos for the Dutch national title, has found herself without a title sponsor after learning that her team, ZZPR.nl, may not continue for the 2011/12 cyclocross season.
The 11-time Dutch cyclocross champion and 2003 world champ has had a rough past few months, missing out on Hoogerheide and the World Championship races due to a bout of severe bronchitis, but a fourth place at Sunday’s GP Huets showed that she’s recovering well for the end of season races.
Van den Brand previously told Cyclocross Magazine that she planned to race for one more full season, finishing off a full quarter century of racing, but with this news she might choose to hang up her wheels early.
“Of course I’d like another year, but only if a sponsor comes along,” van den Brand told Sport.be. “I am 32 years old, and I certainly can perform at the top level of the sport for another year. Apart from the European title, I’ve had a rough winter; I’ve had to deal with food poisoning, bronchitis and pneumonia. I would rather not like my career to end this way.”
Katie Compton’s recent signing with the Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team notwithstanding, van den Brand’s experience shows that it can be tough for even the world’s top female cyclocross talents to land a contract. We hope that she finds herself a team quickly, and that we get to see van den Brand close out her storied career in style.