California-based Wonderful Pistachios stepped up as the title sponsor for the Adageo Energy Pro Cycling team in 2011. The newly named Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling will embark on its second consecutive season as a US-based UCI Continental team with a focus on the National Racing Calendar (NRC).
"Due to the tough economy and financial trouble Adageo Energy was not able to renew the sponsorship," said team manager Josh Horowitz. "They helped us get from amateur to pro last year and we really appreciated that. Wonderful Pistachio was a sponsor this year and the relationship really developed. One of their messages is that pistachio nuts are high in fiber and one of the healthiest nuts out there and it made sense for them to continue to market in the cycling world."
The squad recently signed on five new faces that include Sterling Magnell, Neil Coleman, Taylor Bertrand-Barrett, Menso de Jong, Victor Riquelme. Returning riders include Tim Farnham, Alexi Martinez and Eric Bennett for a total of eight riders. The team is committed to signing three additional riders.
"I’m really excited about the addition of Riquelme because he has only been in the sport for two years and he is doing very well," Horowitz said. "As a Cat 1 at the NRC level he was racing well and I think he has a lot of potential. This time of the year is always crazy because riders are unsure of where they will be going. We have a few more riders to pick up and there are a lot of rider still out there. Unfortunately it is a buyers market right now."
The team will start its second season with a professional license after a successful first-year campaign as Adageo Energy. It grew from Liquid Fitness, an amateur team founded in 2008 by Horowitz and Clay Womack. "Our first year was tough with all sorts of little obstacles that we had to jump over and things we had to learn on the go," Horowitz said. "I think it all helped for creating this team in 2011."
Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling will base itself in Santa Rosa, California and focus on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) and northern California events. "We are going to be more of a one day race team and focus on doing all the big crits and one day races," Horowitz said. "I’m trying to focus the team on doing well in a stage or two of a certain stage race."
The team's sponsor, Wonderful Pistachios, is owned and operated by Paramount Farms, the largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios in the world, with orchards based in the San Joaquin Valley. According to the Paramount Farms website, the company strives for environmental sustainability from processes to technology and packaging by conserving energy, water and other resources.
Horowitz said that the company’s partnership with the cycling team makes sense because it understands that cyclists are among the hardest working athletes in the world, and that good nutrition is an important part of an active lifestyle. "Wonderful Pistachios is interested in event marketing so we will have sample bags of pistachios at all of the bike races that we go to," Horowitz said.
Teams that have expressed an interest in renewing or becoming a UCI Continental team with USA Cycling, as of October 20, includes Kelly Benefit Strategies, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, Kenda-Geargrinder, Bissell and the Under 23 Trek Livestrong, Jamis-Sutter Home, Team Exergy, RealCyclist.com and Wonderful Pistachios. Continental teams that have upgraded to Professional Continental status includes Team Type 1 and UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis.