Rollerblade to Withdraw from WIC

先日、日本の HONDA, TOYOTA のF1撤退にふれましたが、2010年のインラインレースから最も親しまれてきた Team Rollerblade の名が消えます。名門チーム撤退・・・イヤー、もー絶望的状況になってきました。しかし、Rollerblade 社がインラインビジネスから撤退するわけではありませんので、ユーザは安心して使ってください。

Rollerblade World stops: the end of a success story

by Vincent Esnault (Nov. 14, 2009)
Diego Rosero and the World Team won the overall rankings of the World Inline Cup 2009. This will be the ultimate chapter of a wonderful success story, which started at the end of the 1990’s for Rollerblade World.

Photo: Nicolas Iten's victory in Berlin.

Rollerblade was not just a team. We used to say that it was also a family. If you consider the athletes and the people involved with the team, you can really state how true it was. The shining side of the Rollerblade World team was the athletes’ participation to many marathons or traditional races around the world. In 2009, they raced 10 months in 2009, the World Inline Cup as well as some promotion races in Eastern Europe or in Asia. Their motto was always to bring out the sport, from the very beginning in the late 1990’s. And Rollerblade World became the most successful team on the circuit.

World Champions, WIC winners

When it really started, in the USA, great champions such as Chad Hedrik or Derek Downing were part of the team. Arnaud Gicquel, Jorge Botero, Massimiliano Presti, Kalon and Shane Dobbin, Wouter Hebbrecht, Alexis Contin, Francesco Zangarini and Luca Saggiorato continued to wear the RB skin suit on the circuits. All of them, along with Diego, became at least once world champion or won the World Inline Cup.

Few of them (Chad Hedrik, Shane Dobbin and Alexis Contin) are now chasing an Olympic dream on ice. Some others (Arnaud Gicquel, Jorge Botero) are in charge of Federations or brands to continue promoting the sport. All this is not really surprising when you remember that the Rollerblade athletes always skate for the best, and always give the best for the team.

The Rollerblade World team would not have existed without the essential support of great figures involved in this project. Alain Nègre (as a coach) and Sämi Raimann (as a consultant) were part of this project from the late 1990’s. They were references for the athletes, such as Aurélie Bouvet, Tanya Dobbin (both in the past) or Hoa Wunderli (today). At least, Rollerblade was not only Rollerblade World: the team had many little national sisters mainly in European countries. Managers such as Kai Meinze (Germany), Matthieu Grandgirard (Austria) or Garikoitz Lerga (Spain) for example, achieved a great job to promote the team spirit.

This is “the right moment”

There are many reasons not to give up. But times have changed, and challenges too. Rollerblade had to stop the woman’s team at the end of 2008 (see article attached). Today, this is the end of the men’s squad. The decision was hard to take, but it was based on focusing on other projects, as well as for budget reasons. This was also “the right moment” to come to an end, according to this season’s fabulous results.

At least, Rollerblade will not entirely disappear: the brand will continue to support speed skating teams with material and know-how. But after 11 years on the circuit, this looks like the moment to say goodbye, in all the Rollerblade athletes’ languages (auf Wiedersehen, arrivederci, good bye, adios, au revoir…), and to thank them very much for their support and their results. Rollerblade World stops.

This is the end of a success story, but this story was wonderful, for us and for the sport we guess. Thank you once again for everything and keep skating and promote a strong and positive image of our sport, everywhere in the world!
Team Rollerblade: Rollerblade World stops: the end of a success story

From 1999 to 2009: the Rollerblade World's teams

by Vincent Esnault (Nov. 14, 2009)
After 11 years on the circuits, Rollerblade decided to stop to support a team. Here are the numerous athletes who raced with the RB skin suit these past years.

Photo : Jorge Botero in 2001 in Rom.

1999 Playlife Rollerblade Team: Jorge Andres Botero, Massimiliano Presti, Arnaud Gicquel, Tony Muse, Charly Craven, Kalon Dobbin, Theresa Cliff, Desly Hill, Debra Beveridge, Ashley Horgan / Alain Nègre.

2000 Road Runner Rollerblade Team: Jorge Andres Botero, Diego Rosero, Tony Muse, Fabien Rabeau, Martin Hänggi, Arnaud Gicquel, Ashley Horgan, Marion Grotto, Franziska Stampfli / Alain Nègre.

2001 Road Runners Rollerblade Team: Jorge Andres Botero, Diego Rosero, Kalon Dobbin, Arnaud Gicquel, Shane Dobbin, Fabien Rabeau, Ashley Horgan, Franziska Stampfli, Marion Grotto, Silvia Nino / Alain Nègre.

2002 Road Runners Rollerblade Team: Jorge Botero, Wouter Hebrecht, Shane Dobbin, Arnaud Gicquel, Kalon Dobbin, Fabien Rabeau, Franziska Stampfli, Marion Grotto, Silvia Nino, Ashley Horgan / Alain Nègre.

2003 Rollerblade World Team: Kalon Dobbin, Fabien Rabeau, Jorge Botero, Shane Dobbin, Wouter Hebbrecht, Jordan Malone, Ashley Horgan, Laura Lardani, Silvia Nino, Angèle Vaudan / Alain Nègre.

2004 Rollerblade World Team

Wouter Hebbrecht, Shane Dobbin, Fabien Rabeau, Alexis Contin, Arnaud Gicquel,
Michaela Neuling, Angèle Vaudan, Ashley Horgan, Laura Lardani, / Alain Nègre.

2005 Rollerblade World Team

Alexis Contin, Shane Dobbin, Jorge Botero, Fabien Rabeau, Diego Rosero
Laura Lardani, Angèle Vaudan, Tamara Llorens, Michaela Neuling, / Alain Nègre.

2006 Rollerblade World Team

Diego Rosero, Shane Dobbin, Jorge Botero, Juan Najib Tobon, Baptiste Grandgirard,
Michaela Neuling, Angèle Vaudan, Laura Lardani, Tamara Llorens / Alain Nègre.

2007 Sportvital Rollerblade Team

Shane Dobbin, Juan Nayib Tobon, Fabien Hascoët, Nicolas Iten,
Catherine Penan, Tamara Llorens, Diego Rosero, Laura Lardani, Michaela Neuling
Alain Nègre

2008 MPC Rollerblade World Team

Luca Saggiorato, Nicolas Iten, Diego Rosero, ( Hoa Wunderli ), Jorge Cifuente, Francesco Zangarini,
Jana Gegner, ( Alain Nègre ), Simona Di Eugenio, Laura Lardani, Cathy Penan

2009 Rollerblade World Team

Diego Rosero, Nicolas Iten, Luca Saggiorato, Alexis Contin, Francesco Zangarini / Hoa Wunderli.
Team Rollerblade: From 1999 to 2009: the Rollerblade World's teams

Interview Diego Rosero: "A feeling that I can't explain!"

by Vincent Esnault (Nov. 24, 2009)
Diego is back... but to take some rest after his overall win over the WIC 2009. He eventually answered an interview to talk about the last WIC marathon in Margarita, and his new life as the WIC number 1 skater! Photo: Diego leading the team.

Diego, it looks wonderful! You win the WIC overall after a perfect last stage in Margarita!
Well, at the start of the last race I had one thing in my mind: I wanted to have fun and I wanted to do what I consider to be the best! I wanted to go out and race the way I normally race, to do attacks and to try to break away from the start. And that is what I did! I had nothing to lose and everything to win... At the end, it was a feeling that I can't explain.

What was your strategy in Venezuela during the race?
I started the race knowing that it was going to be a very, very hard, because it was a small pack, but full of good skaters. And I knew that I had to attack, but I wanted to wait until mid-race to start my attacks.... But then I saw Yann (Guyader) and Massi (Presti) attacking and going hard from the start, I knew I had to get into the game right away. I honestly didn't want to break away so early, but I had the chance to do it, so I did it!

How did you feel when you crossed the line?
As soon as I crossed the line, I turned back to watch the bunch sprint (where Yann was), and then, I started celebrating. I knew the amount of points, and I knew the position I needed to have to win the overall... I was so, so happy that I had to sit down and drink some water.

What does that mean to be the number 1 of the WIC to you?
Without a doubt, it is the biggest achievement of my sport life! The overall ranking is a year race where so many things can happen: it is very difficult to get, and for that you need a strong team to support you all the way... It is important to remember that it is not just me who won the title: it is the whole team together, from the management to the athletes. Everyone did their part.

Yann Guyader said: “Diego was very strong this season”. Do you consider that a victory worth if you have great opponents (such as Yann, Massi, Joey or Juan Nayib…)?
It is of course a big honor to be in front of all these skaters. But over the years, I have learnt that the races cannot be orientated against one skater... You need to beat every one if you want to win, not just one or two opponents. The victory is always worth, no matter how the race is. And I am personally thinking that I have been stronger physically on the past years, but never so consistent over the whole year.

What is your program now?
I really need to have a good break to recover all the energy I spent during the last months, and after that, I will start to prepare my next season.

Thanks a lot for your answers, Diego, and once again, congratulations for your title!

Team Rollerblade: Interview Diego Rosero: "A feeling that I can't explain!"