Ronny Lauke, director sportif of the world-class team Velocio-SRAM that is set to dissolve at the end of the season, will launch a new professional women’s team in 2016 under his own management company, Lauke Pro Radsport GmbH, and has brought on board Canyon Bicycles as the title sponsor and bike supplier for the team.
“I will be running a team next year,” Lauke told Cyclingnews. “It will be a top-ranked team and we will aim to be the number one team in the future. It is a very ambitious project and will be supported by the bicycle manufacturer Canyon. We want to do this for the future of the sport, for women’s cycling, and have a strong team.”
Lauke, a former track world champion and a six-day rider, has been a member of the management at Velocio-SRAM, helping the team to multiple international victories including three world titles in the team time trial, under the team’s former sponsors Specialized-lululemon in Valkenburg in 2012, Florence in 2013 and Ponferrada in 2014.
Velocio-SRAM owner Kristy Scrymgeour, who ran the team under the management company Velocio Sports, announced last week that the team will cease to exist on January 1, 2016. Her decision was made, in part, to focus on the two brands that she co-founded: Velocio Apparel and Ally’s Bar.
Lauke’s new team will be run under his own management company Lauke Pro Radsport GmbH, and he will take on multiple roles including team owner, manager and director of the new squad.
“There will be a new company running the team and it will be set up in a different structure,” Lauke said. “I have expertise on the sporting part of the team and I will remain in that position because that is where I am most helpful for the athletes and for the team.”
After experiencing success in sponsoring men’s WorldTour teams Katusha and Movistar, Canyon has agreed to take on the title sponsorship of Lauke’s team. Although Lauke did not disclose the details of the contract Canyon has extended to the team, he did say that the bicycle manufacturer is interested in a long-term commitment to his program and to women’s cycling.
“We don’t do things by half at Canyon and with Ronny we have found the right partner. He has built a team for the past few years, which is already in the world’s elite. We believe firmly in a successful partnership and are looking forward to start the Olympic year together,” said Frank Aldorf, Chief Brand Officer at Canyon Bicycles.
Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews that she was pleased that Lauke will be starting a new program that will create new opportunities for women once Velocio-SRAM no longer exists.
“We need teams and we need good teams,” Scrymgeour said. “I think it’s fantastic, I would like to see all the girls on the team get a good spot on a team for next year and whether that’s on a team that Ronny creates or elsewhere, as long as we find good spots that’s the main thing.”
The full team line-up and further partners for Lauke’s new program will be announced at a later date. “We can’t confirm our riders yet, but either way it will be a very competitive group,” Lauke said.
In the meantime, Lauke would like to finish this season with Velocio-SRAM on a strong note to honour both Scrymgeour and the multiple sponsors of the team. He is aiming to help the team to another victory at the Crescent Women World Cup Vargarda TTT on Friday and a fourth consecutive team time trial title at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
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