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American teams auction Spring Classics team car seats

American ProTour outfits Garmin-Transitions and HTC-Columbia are auctioning off seats in their team cars during this year’s Spring Classics to raise funds for USA Cycling’s Development Foundation. Two seats in HTC-Columbia’s car will be auctioned for the Tour of Flanders on April 4 while Garmin-Transitions is offering the same number of spaces for Paris-Roubaix a week later.

Both auctions have already commenced via, with both scheduled to end in just under 10 days. The initiative demonstrates the team’s commitment to the development of cyclists from the United States of America, according to USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. “We were thrilled when they came to us together with the idea of an auction to benefit USA Cycling’s Development Foundation,” said Johnson. “To us, it is another example of the top two American teams working as one to continue to benefit the sport.”

Both experiences include two seats in the team mechanic car, plus one night staying at the team’s hotel and a the chance to meet the team’s riders. The winning bidder in each auction will received an autographed jersey from the relevant team, while the winner of Garmin-Transitions’ auction will also get to watch the finish of Paris-Roubaix from the Roubaix velodrome.

Slipstream Sports wants to support the program that has benefited its own program, according to chairman Doug Ellis. “Team Garmin-Transitions was founded to foster the next generation of American cycling champions and several of our athletes, including Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Danny Pate, Timmy Duggan, Steven Cozza, Kirk Carlsen, Peter Stetina and Tyler Farrar have had the benefit of working with USA Cycling’s National Team programs as young Americans,” said Ellis. “That is a tradition we want to continue with new programs such as this auction.”

Highroad Sports’ Bob Stapleton is a known supporter of young talent, a tradition he is looking to continue into the future. "More than half of the athletes on Team HTC-Columbia are under 26 years of age and are enjoying personal growth and success,” said Stapleton. “The majority of our 85 victories in 2009 come from our youngest athletes such as Mark Cavendish. We look forward to working with USA Cycling in their mission to guide young American athletes to grow from aspiring amateurs to top-level professionals.”

Both auctions have started at US$500, with no starting bids at the time of publication. See the Garmin-Transitions auction here and the HTC-Columbia auction here (links to external websites open in new window).

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