Former UnitedHealthcare and Optum director Rachel Hedderman will run the Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank UCI women's team next year as the program manager and head sports director, according to an announcement from the team.
Hedderman, who raced as Rachel Heal, became the the first female director at a men’s WorldTour event when she worked with UnitedHealthcare for the past five years. She is also an Olympian and former member of the Tibco team. Also joining the team as sports director will be Ruud Verhagen, who has extensive experience on the European circuit working with women’s trade teams and with the Dutch national program.
“Their combined experience, both as riders and directors, will be hugely beneficial to our team as we target even more of the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar and key races across North America in 2019," said Linda Jackson, the team's founder and general manager.
“I’ve known Rachel since 2007 when we brought her on board for the 2008 racing season," Jackson said. "She was a terrific athlete and teammate, and I’ve been following her management success as she has developed into a successful WorldTour level director. Rachel will be a strong asset to our team as we continue to build the program.”
Hedderman started racing in 2001 when she joined British Cycling’s World Class Performance Plan. She won multiple silver medals at the British National Road Race Championships in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007; a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2002; and she represented Great Britain in the UCI World Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games.
After her own racing career, Hedderman moved to team management with Colavita in 2010 and 2011, Optum Pro Cycling in 2012 and 2013, and most recently with UnitedHealthcare from 2014 through the end of this season when both the men's and women's UHC teams folded. In 2014, Hedderman made history as the first woman to direct a men’s pro cycling team at a WorldTour event at Milan-San Remo.
“I am very happy to be joining Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank,” Hedderman said. “Linda has put together a really strong and well-rounded roster, and I am excited to see what we can achieve together. I raced for Team Tibco over 10 years ago when the team was in its early days as a domestic team, and it is great to see how the team has grown over the years. I am looking forward to returning to the team as a Director and help the team continue to evolve.
"This year, Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank has had one if its most successful seasons to date, especially given the challenges of combining a WWT and North American Calendar, but I believe there is more to come in 2019.”
Hedderman will get an assist next year from Dutchman Ruud Verhagen, who joins the team as director. Following his career as a rider, Verhagen began working as a director, trainer and coach in 2000 and has been a full-time talent coach for the Dutch Federation. Verhagen has also directed the Rabobank women’s team, Argos-Shimano (later Giant-Shimano and now Team Sunweb) and Hitec Products-Birk Sports, with a focus on developing talent.
“I’m really happy to become part of a team that has such a long history in the peloton and has so much potential," Verhagen said. “I look forward to helping the women of Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank learn the European way of racing and team tactics that will make them stronger, individually and as a team. This year, I hope to bring each individual rider on the team to a higher level.”
With the 2019 roster and management team now in place, Jackson said she is excited to get started on an expanded racing program next year.
“We have built an outstanding team for 2019," Jackson said. "We have a great group of 10 returning riders joined by three new riders. Rachel and Ruud join returning Assistant Director and Logistics Manager Patricia Schwager and mechanic Doug Torres. New soigneur Suzanne Sonye, joining from the men’s Rally team, rounds out the management team. We’re entering into the next phase of our program, and having Rachel, Ruud and Suzanne on board will be a huge benefit as we work to set our riders up for success in 2020 and beyond.”