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New Team VBF to work with the Vera Bradley Foundation in 2010

US time trail champ Alison Powers (Team Type 1) finished second in the opening time trial.

US time trail champ Alison Powers (Team Type 1) finished second in the opening time trial.

The former ValueAct Capital Women’s Pro Cycling Team will work with the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness in 2010. The team is newly named Team VBF and has signed National Racing Calendar leader, Alison Powers to lead the team in pre-season training camp held in Tucson, Arizona in March.

"Our mission is to help generate awareness and funds for breast cancer research," said Lisa Hunt, team manager and directeur sportif. "We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to align with something that means a lot to me personally and to all women across America. We have all been effect by it one way or another and it’s great to support an organization like this."

The Indiana-based company designs and sells high quality quilted bags and donates proceeds to breast cancer awareness and research. The newly formed Team VBF’s 11-roster squad will participate in the fundraising by hosting a Vera Bradley Foundation donation link on their respective personal web pages. The Vera Bradley Foundation is responsible for raising more than 10 million dollars for breast cancer research.

Specialized will equip Team VBF with bicycles for the up coming season. The California-based bike manufacture is closely affiliated with the Susan G Koman For The Cure, a global movement for breast cancer awareness.

"We wanted to find a partner that was involved with women and create a marketing partnership with a women’s oriented company," Hunt said. "Especially because of Specialized and their women’s line. We will conduct clinics and women’s rides around the country at Specialized dealers and we just really connect with women."

2009 NRC individual winner, Alison Powers will lead an 11-women roster beginning at the team training camp held in Tucson. The squad will begin the competitive season at the San Dimas Stage Race, a leg opener to the Redlands Bicycle Classic held at the end of March.

"Alison would like to win every stage race, except Redlands next year," Hunt said. "Redlands is a race won on time bonuses and the short prologue doesn’t really suit her. Longer time trials suit her better like at Gila, Joe Martin, Nature Valley and Cascade. But, any one of our riders can win races and that’s what I’m excited about."

Hunt noted her appreciation to former title sponsor ValueAct Capital for their involvement in women’s cycling in the last three years. "VAC has been incredibly supportive and we never knew it would be along term sponsorship," Hunt said. "They nurtured us to help us become the team we are today and I can’t thank them enough."

The 2010 roster includes returning riders Kristin Sanders, Robin Farina and Leah Goldstein. Powers was welcomed on board along with notable new signings Alison Testroete, Alexis Rhodes, Erica Allar, Carla Stewart, Toni Bradshaw, Carrie Cash and Lauren Hall.

"We found we were a very strong stage race team but not as strong in the crits," Hunt said. "So, I wanted to bolster the strength of the crit racers."

The team official website along with individual rider fundraiser pages will be announced soon. All donations will go toward the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness.