Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen and Cycling Unite's Thomas Campana have unveiled the Cervélo-Lifeforce women's pro cycling team, which will be led by former Time Trial World Champion Kristin Armstrong. The former TEAm Lipton rider replaces Great Britain's Nicole Cooke at helm of the outfit, which was known as Raleigh Lifeforce Creation HB Pro Cycling Team, after Cooke moved to a new British squad for 2008.
"Our young team has made an impressive start in its first four years of competition," said Campana. "Now, the best women's team in the world will also be riding the best bike. After our first week with the Cervélos, I called Gerard to ask how it is possible that they fit our female riders so well, when they also fit Team CSC's men perfectly."
Armstrong's signing is a big boost for the Swiss outfit, which already features a solid lineup of women's riders, after the American had another strong season in 2007 in the lead up to this Olympic year. "I've been riding on a Cervélo for a while and it was one of the reasons I decided to join this team for 2008," said Armstrong. "My main goal is the Olympics and I wanted to make sure I have the best possible equipment there."
In addition to the squad's attraction as the top women's outfit, Cervélo's Vroomen says the teams ethics played a roll in its decision to increase its involvement with the squad. "But, it is not just performance that attracted Cervélo to this team," explained Vroomen. "We are a strong supporter of the most advanced anti-doping program in the world at Team CSC [the same tests now form the basis for the UCI's "biological passport"]. Going forward, we decided we would only support teams that have a similar interest in the fight against doping, which surprisingly, was not met with great enthusiasm by some of the teams looking for sponsorship.
"When I asked Thomas, he surprised me by explaining that his team had already been in a monitoring program from a Swiss Olympic-accredited lab for the past two years," he added. "It is not quite as extensive as Team CSC's program, [CSC's anti-doping program budget eclipses the total budget of Cycling United], but it is very impressive given the size of this team."
FSA, Vittoria, Zipp, Speedplay, and Fizik, like Cervélo, have all increased their involvement with the squad for 2008 and signed on for at least a two-year period. The team's co-title sponsor Skoda will also continue through to 2009 as the team's official car.
Team Cervélo-Lifeforce 2008: Kristin Armstrong, Karin Thürig, Christiane Soeder, Priska Doppmann, Sarah Düster, Emma Rickards, Joanne Kiesanowski, Patricia Schwager, Pascale Schnider and Caroline Steffen.