In a tradition that stems from road-oriented calendar year team changes, professional cyclocross racers typically swap jerseys and bikes in the thick of the season due to contractual, team or sponsor changes.
De Boer has signed Breepark as a private sponsor for 2017. Breepark is an under-construction mixed-use venue that features an outdoor event arena with a 55,000 person capacity for concerts, festivals and sporting events, paired with a 10-screen Kinepolis movie theater, Decathalon sporting goods store, a 17-acre outdoor recreation area and of course, a McDonald’s.
The venue is in Breda, in the southern portion of Netherlands, and even hosts the Breda Breepark Challenge, a cobbled classic for kids.
Just as Wout van Aert is swapping his Colnago for a Felt cyclocross bike, the Italian bike company has swapped one World Cup leader for another in picking up De Boer. She will be trading in her California-engineered “mystery bike” (see our full profile here) for a Colnago Prestige cyclocross bike, likely quite similar to Van Aert’s SRAM/Zipp-equipped Colnago Prestige, albeit with a single chainring Force 1 instead of a double chainring eTAP Red groupset. “In a few weeks I will start riding my new Colnago with logo,” De Boer said in a public thread on Facebook.
While De Boer will be retaining SRAM and Zipp as sponsors, she will be swapping her Czech Kalas clothing in for a UK-based Rapha kit for 2017. With the addition of De Boer, Rapha might have both female World Cup leaders under contract on January 1, as Rapha-sponsored Ellen Noble (Aspire) currently leads the U23 category.
En nieuwe merken als Rapha & Colnago aan boord! ??? (Sram/ZIPP gaan mee 2017 in) pic.twitter.com/BfuWvL5tW2
— Sophie de Boer (@ssophiedeboer) December 21, 2016
While De Boer did not disclose the length of her new contract, she hopes to be with Breepark for some time, stating (translated):
“Bree Park offers me a lot of security for the coming years. This got me over the line…I felt from the beginning that this is a special project and I am sure that this step will bring me much further in my sports career.“
De Boer was genuinely surprised to take the World Cup leader’s jersey in Vegas, but once she won it at the World Cup opener, she told Cyclocross Magazine her goal was to keep it for the season. She’s back at the top of the standings, and will do her best to defend it when the World Cup racing returns the day after Christmas in Zolder, the venue of the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships.
See De Boer’s announcement (in Dutch) here.