Cylance will return to the UCI women's peloton in 2019 as co-title sponsor of the former Valcar-PBM team, joining forces with the Italian program after being sole title sponsor of a US-based women's team since 2016.
"Cylance is as passionate about promoting women’s cycling as it is about protecting every computer, user and thing under the sun," said Stuart McClure, founder and chief executive officer of Cylance, a California tech firm that is the leading provider of AI-driven security systems. "We also have avid amateur cyclists at all levels of the organization — including me — who look forward to another winning year with team Valcar."
The newly formulated team will have an all-Italian roster, adding three new riders to the Valcar-PBM 2018 squad, but none from the previous Cylance teams. Valcar-PBM finished the 2018 season ranked ninth in the UCI standings, sandwiched between Movistar and Ale Cipollini, but trailing leader Boels Dolmans by more than 3,000 points. The team took 15 podiums and three UCI wins last year: Elisa Balsamo won EPZ Omloop van Borsele in the Netherland and Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli in Italy, while Marta Cavalli took the win at the Italian national road race.
The Cylance Pro Cycling teams finished each of their first two seasons in the UCI top 10, securing invitations to all the major Women's WorldTour races in a system that guarantees participation for the top 15. The company has a global presence and has used the cycling team as a way to reach into the European market, and those major European races were an important part of the company's marketing efforts and return on investment. Remaining in the upper echelon of the women's peloton was crucial to Cylance.
The Italian team currently sponsored by Valcar, an Italian precision-machining company, fit the bill perfectly. Team founder and owner Valentino Villa built the team into a top UCI outfit in just their second year, and heading into 2019, Valcar-Cylance believe they are poised for continued growth and bigger results, according to a press release announcing the new partnership.
"I’m really proud to know that Cylance appreciates the talent and potential of our athletes," Villa said. "This gives us incentive to work even harder to improve. Cylance is a company that has demonstrated foresight: For years it has invested in the growth of women's cycling and realized its economic opportunities. Our athletes are ready to commit to maximum performance not only on the bike, but also in enhancing the Cylance brand. We are proud to introduce the Cylance logo on our new jerseys."
Cylance Inc., founded by McClure and Ryan Permeh, is based in Irvine, California, and is known for its pioneering use of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity. Cylance customers include global organizations such as Panasonic and GameStop. In 2018, Forbes named Cylance to its Cloud 100 list for the third consecutive year. The company is reportedly in the process of being purchased by Blackberry for $1.4 billion.
Omer Kem and his 'Kem Sports Management' company started the Cylance Pro Cycling team in 2016 following Kem's own racing career and director jobs at Bissell Pro Cycling and with Axel Merckx's development team. He managed the SmartStop Continental team in 2015 before that program folded abruptly under a shroud of controversy. He started the Cylance women's team the following year and also ran the men's Continental Cylance-Incycle team, which folded following the 2017 season. Kem will no longer be an owner of the team as Cylance moves its sponsorship to Villa's Italian program.
Valcar-Cylance Cycling for 2019: Alice Maria Arzuffi, Elisa Balsamo, Marta Cavalli, Maria Giulia Confalonieri, Chiara Consonni, Vittoria Guazzini, Barbara Malcotti, Dalia Muccioli, Asja Paladin, Silvia Persico, Silvia Pollicini, Ilaria Sanguineti, Miriam Vece, Alessia Vigilia.
Head Sport Director: Davide Arzenii
Assistant Sport Director: Matteo Ferrari