EF Education First will co-title sponsor the women's team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank in 2022. According to an announcement, the squad will be renamed EF Education-TIBCO-SVB and all full-time riders will be paid the men’s WorldTour minimum salary as a starting point.
The EF Education-TIBCO-SVB team will still be owned and run by Linda Jackson and will be separate from the Slipstream organisation that runs the men's WorldTour squad.
“We’re excited to be part of this team and to help these amazing riders reach their goals. The salary component is incredibly important to all of us because it allows the riders to pursue the sport full-time,” said Maria Norrman, global chief of staff at EF Education First. “We can’t wait to help add the next chapter in this team's great history.”
The UCI stipulates the required minimum salaries with the base amount for the Women’s WorldTour currently set at €20,000 (employed). Whereas men's WorldTour teams are obliged to pay their riders a base wage of €40,045 (employed). EF Education-TIBCO-SVB will join teams Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange in paying their female riders the same minimum salary as men's WorldTour riders.
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB is one of five teams that have applied for a Women's WorldTeam licence beginning in 2022, along with existing Continental teams Jumbo-Visma, Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad, Rally Cycling and new women's team set to launch next year Uno-X.
These five teams, if accepted, will join the existing nine top-tier teams; Canyon-Sram Racing, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, Liv Racing, Movistar Team Women, Team BikeExchange-Jayco, Team DSM, SD Worx, Trek-Segafredo and Ale' BTC Ljubljana, which is in negotiations for a takeover by UAE Team Emirates that is currently under review by the UCI.
TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank announced in July their intention to file an application for a Women's WorldTour licence in 2022. The successful American outfit, owned and managed by Linda Jackson for nearly two decades, had also secured additional funding through its existing partners to pay for the heightened financial requirements, such as increased rider salaries, to be part of the top-tier of women's teams.
"I'm thrilled to be a part of the professionalization of women’s cycling. The opportunity these women have now is amazing. I've been in the sport for 30 years; I raced in the ‘90s in horrendous conditions and with very little support. It’s been a long road, but to see money finally coming into the sport so that women can make a living while racing their bikes is a very gratifying feeling,” Jackson said.
Jackson's mission since the team began 17 years ago was to provide opportunities for women to compete in world-class cycling and in their pursuit of racing at the Olympic Games. Her goal is to steadily improve the team without losing focus on its developmental roots.
“The sporting goal of this team is to be a top-five WorldTour team in a few years. We don't need to be the number one team in the world. That's not my objective. My objective is to help these women reach their potential,” Jackson said. “To become Olympians, world champions, World Championship participants, whatever their goals are. EF’s partnership has enabled us to bring on top-tier staff to provide our riders with the infrastructure and support they need to achieve these goals in a supportive environment.”
TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank will also take the lead in funding Fount Cycling Guild as a women’s development team for next season, providing support through the Silicon Valley Cycling Foundation.
"As we move Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank up to World Tour status, it's going to leave a void for development level riders in North America. Funding Fount through Silicon Valley Cycling Foundation, (SVCF), a 501c3 formed to develop promising female athletes into top international competitors, will help fill that void,” Jackson said in an announcement in September.
Several of the EF Education-NIPPO partners will also support the EF Education-TIBCO- SVB team, including Cannondale, Rapha, WHOOP, and POC. Cannondale has worked with TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank team since 2019, partnering with the team on gravel and road-racing equipment.
“Collaborating with EF and other key team partners with the TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank team as they grow to WorldTour is an ideal evolution of our continued support and our commitment to women’s cycling,” said Jonathan Geran, director of sports marketing for Cannondale.
The team is composed of 13 riders from six different countries and will welcome seven new riders in 2022, two of which return to the team for the second time. The team has already announced extending contracts with US National Champion Lauren Stephens and Clara Honsinger through 2023 and will announce its full roster in the coming weeks.
“I’m really excited about the potential that our roster has. As we step up to WorldTour status, our strategy is to focus on finding emerging talent that we can mould into the next generation of top international riders,” Jackson said. “We have a diverse mix of multi-talented riders including climbers, all-rounders and stage winners and will build our calendar accordingly. In addition to the WorldTour we will also continue our alternative calendar emphasis, which is a great fit with EF.”
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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