Long-term goals include Pro Continental status in 2011
An online survey targeted at Silicon Valley Professionals revealed that an astonishing 50 percent are cycling enthusiasts and follow the local scene. The results were presented to the Yahoo! Management, the internet services company which operates the third most-visited website in the world, and prompted it to come onboard as the main partner to launch America's newest team in 2010: Yahoo! Cycling Team.
The man behind the new squad is Kevin Klein, a former pro focused on creating a successful business model that will keep the new team pedaling on the long-term. The team will be operating at grass-roots level and will be primarily based out of California for the 2010 race season.
"The whole idea behind the Yahoo! Cycling Team is the recruitment of high tech professionals in the Silicon Valley and to provide a platform for partners to achieve more involvement at the community level," Klein said. "If you do it right, everyone should win and grow their business."
Klein has assembled an impressive 15-rider roster with a unique blend of experienced professionals, young natural talent, and seasoned leaders for 2010 - including two current professional road riders, members of the Under 23 National Team, and a two-time Olympian. But Klein did not want to reveal any names at this time - not until the launch of the website in January.
Klein himself will be riding with the team and is included on the racing roster. He has had some good 2009 results including a third place at the Davis Criterium race on July 4, won by Rahsaan Bahati. "There are veterans, young guys, and professionals on the team which make for a nice mix and spread out," he added.
Klein's plan for the first year is to ride and manage the team on the local US racing scene before applying for UCI Continental Status in 2011. Should they be successful, he would like to bring in Mariano Friedick, who is currently living in Argentina, as another key person on the management team. Friedick was a multi-national American champ on the track and raced for Toyota United and Saturn.
The Yahoo! Cycling Team, which will ride on Fuji bikes, includes qualified managers that also have a cycling pedigree. Haldane Morris, who was Rock Racing's General Manager for ‘07 and ‘08, is on board to help manage the squad. Morris has won 30 Gold State Champs and a silver medal at the USA Olympic Trials and was a member of the US National Cycling Team from 1989 to 1993. Allen Bean is another person who has worked with Rock Racing Management from 2006-2008. He has also been involved in cycling since 1974, and has over 25 years of project management experience.
The Yahoo! Cycling Team hopes to become a dominating force on the US racing circuit in 2010 and one that will have a large fan following. "We are confident in achieving a lot of wins in 2010 and believe that we have a lot more horse-power to muscle those all-important last few laps in the criteriums. It will be exciting for fans and racers alike," said Klein.
Social media will be used as a key marketing strategy behind the team - this includes the popular Twitter (Yahoocycling) and Facebook as well as their official website, www.yahoocycling.com, which is set to launch early next year. Local promotional contests will be held on-line throughout the year to keep cycling fans returning to the website.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for more exclusive coverage of the Yahoo! Cycling Team.