Vanderkitten has announced it will expand its NRC involvement to a six-women elite team as well as developmental and regional support riders in 2008, following on from the single rider it fielded in 2007. Vanderkitten Racing, as the squad will be known, is currently laying plans that will see the company play a larger role within the NRC series after it fielded a single rider, Liz Hatch, in 2007.
"Our success in sponsoring Liz Hatch in 2007 has convinced us that Vanderkitten and cycling go hand in hand," said Venderkitten's Mark Zefeldt." Our focus next year will be the majority of the NRC calendar, and to that effect we have signed four immensely talented girls with another two athletes to be announced shortly."
In addition to the re-signing of Hatch, the team will field Atlanta's Leigh Valletti, Charlottesville's Mandy Lozano and Mill Valley's Christine Vardaros. The team is currently accepting resumes for the remaining two spots in its elite squad.
"Vanderkitten is thrilled to support these hard working, vibrant athletes and the sport of women's cycling," said Vanderkitten's founder David Verrecchia. "We're all looking forward to the upcoming season with great anticipation. Vanderkitten's mission since its inception is to create a long-term relationship with cycling and raise the bar of sponsorships for women athletes.
"High profile athletes provide a tremendous marketing value to all parties associated with their image," he added. "Women influence both female and male purchasing decisions. Why, then, have women typically earned less than 10 percent of most pro male athletes salaries?"
The clothing company-backed squad its expected to announce more details about its 2008 plans over the coming months.