Velocio Sports, the company that owns and manages Specialized–lululemon, has announced that it is turning to crowd source funding for 2015 and on-wards with the team's financial contracts with Specialized and lululemon coming to an end in December. The team will open up club membership to its fans and supporters of women's cycling as it looks to bring on board new financial partners.
"We're switching tactics in our search for team sponsorship and funding," said team owner Kristy Scrymgeour in an announcement "and we want to get the cycling community involved in an attempt to build a bridge between the ever-increasing number of recreational cyclists and pro cycling as a sport."
"We have corporate interest for part of our budget and we've decided to add to that by trying something a little different."
The team, which has won the team time trial event at the last two world championships, is launching a campaign with indiegogo, a global crowd-funding platform, which allows the public to get involved with projects that they are passionate about.
Everyone who gets involved will be a team member and will have access to exclusive information and opportunities. The campaign offers up incentives to be involved at any level.
"It's a way for us to invite people to be a part of the team and vote for women's cycling at the same time," Scrymgeour added. "It starts with supporting our team, but if we can create a buzz around this campaign, it will reach the eyes of potential sponsors for both the team and other aspects of our sport.
"We want to create an opportunity for everyone to be involved and we're lucky to have not only the team, but support from former professional Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and representatives from the men's side of the support with George Hincapie and Bernie Eisel offering up their time to support the campaign and women's cycling.
Scrymgeour is clear about what is necessary for women's cycling to continue to grow.
"Women's cycling needs two things: exposure and a growing fan base," she said. This weekend's La Course at the Tour de France is a great opportunity to get that exposure and we need more and more of that. By growing our women's cycling community and building a bigger fan base, we increase the demand for more exposure."
Thie first edition of La Course by Le Tour de France will be held on Sunday with the women's peloton to cover 89km over 13 laps of the Champs-Élysées a few hours before end of the men's Tour de France. The race will be broadcast to in 147 countries, with live coverage available in 104 countries.