Meet Sander Kruis, Commercial Director at Team Visma | Lease a Bike
As of January 1, 2024, Sander Kruis has joined the board of directors of Team Visma | Lease a Bike. The West-Brabant native aims to contribute to the team's commercial growth in the coming years and play a role in writing sports history.
From intern to director, Sander Kruis (31) has held almost every commercial position within the cycling team since he joined Blanco Pro Cycling in January 2013. He has served as a marketing and communication employee, commercial manager, and now as the Commercial Director. "It makes me proud of the team and myself that this is possible in this organization," says Kruis. "When I stepped in here, I never expected where it would lead. I've been here for more than ten years now. What we did with three people back then has now grown to more than ten colleagues. Sportively, we've progressed from the lower ranks of the WorldTour to winning three grand tours in a season. It reflects the development we've undergone as a team and organization. And I can only be very happy that I've been given the chance to grow along with it."
Continuing this growth remains the cycling team's primary ambition. Team Visma | Lease a Bike started 2024 with several changes, including adjustments to the team name and structure. The successful collaboration between the cycling team and the skating team, ongoing since 2014, was terminated on January 1. In the joint structure, Richard Plugge (CEO), Merijn Zeeman (Sports Director), and since 2023, Jaap van Hulten (COO) sat on the board of directors, supplemented by Jac Orie and Sven Kramer representing the skating team. The latter two stepped down from the board after the collaboration ended. With Kruis joining as Commercial Director on January 1, the board of directors now consists of four members.
"In this structure, I remain responsible for the entire business aspect: along with the rest of the commercial team, I am constantly seeking opportunities for and expansion of our commercial revenues," says Kruis. "This involves sponsorships but also the other revenue models we have. I believe we play a pioneering role in both aspects of cycling. The goal is always to have the financial resources needed to be among the best teams in the world."
"I really enjoy working with all those passionate and professional colleagues every day"
The former professional footballer (RBC Roosendaal and Sparta) takes pride in the contribution he and his team make to writing sports history, the primary goal of Team Visma | Lease a Bike. "We want to contribute to writing sports history by ensuring that we can continue to grow commercially. To achieve that, we must remain true to the team's core values. I grew up with them, and they are the foundation of our culture and success."
Kruis emphasizes that all these efforts are true team accomplishments. "At this team, sport and commerce go hand in hand. This is the result of years of intensive collaboration with Richard Plugge, Merijn Zeeman, Mathieu Heijboer, Jasper Saeijs, and all the other great colleagues. We know how sports and performance work, and they know how commerce works. And we all realize that we need each other. This has led to all the initiatives we have taken, allowing us to experience such growth. Continuing on this path gives me a lot of energy. I really enjoy working with all those passionate and professional colleagues every day. By working closely together, we get better every day. That's the beauty of this company: you can't rest on your laurels for a single day."