Specialized confirm new team sponsorship

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

High road sports

Having sponsored HTC-Highroad, Specialized will continue to sponsor several of their top riders for 2012 and beyond in a deal announced today. No it’s not Mark Cavendish, this is about the women’s team.

The new squad will be Team Specialized-Lululemon with the second sponsor being a Canadian “yoga-inspired athletic apparel company”. The roster includes Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (GER), Evelyn Stevens (USA), Amber Neben (USA) and a newcomer in Clara Hughes (CAN), plus Ellen Van Dijk (NED), Emilia Fahlin (SWE), Chloe Hosking (AUS), Ally Stacher (USA), Charlotte Becker (GER) and Katie Colclough (GBr) and two other new recruits in Trixi Worrack (GER) and Lisa Brennauer (GER).

Interestingly too the team keeps soigneurs and mechanics and Highroad’s public relations director Kirsty Scrymgeour is a director of the new team, run by a Swiss-based structure called Velocio Sports. Indeed the Highroad name will live on as Bob Stapleton and Highroad will continue as a “sponsor”. I am not sure if this is financial, it could be via the use of team vehicles.

One observation to make is that I’ve never seen a pro team come to an end in such an organised and relatively painless way. I’m sure many riders and staff have been worried but almost everyone seems to have landed on their feet with jobs and opportunities in place for the next year. Employment in pro cycling is always insecure but the norm is to see a squad washed up when the sponsors pull out, leaving many staff high and dry. Highroad has been different here.

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{ 9 comments }

Michael October 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

Wow, interesting news to see Lululemon step up. They were a minor sponsor of Saxo Bank.

Lululemon is mainly women’s workout clothes. Lots of running & yoga gear, athletic bras, and a bit of men’s stuff. High quality, but expensive. Lots of focus on the athletic community, eating right, and encouraging people to exercise. For example, on local marathons and other runs, they will have a booth along the course to hand out food and drink gratis.

Of course, my wife loves the stuff and runs in all Lululemon. Strangely, they have no cycling kit at all. We’ve asked, but they don’t even have singlets. Perhaps that is changing.

With my wife riding an Amira as well, I think she’s found her new team to root for…

Canuck October 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

BTW, minor point
Lululemon a “US company”? (as much as Clara Hughes is from the US)

Canuck October 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm

BTW, minor point
Lululemon a “US company”? as much as Clara Hughes is from the US

The Inner Ring October 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Canuck: thanks, I saw them on NASDAQ and assumed they were from the USA. I’ll fix the text above.

cthulhu October 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

This is good news. Now minimum wages for girls too and future for womens’ cycling is looking brighter again. I know they might not get as much money as the men yet because it is not yet as popular as mens’ cycling, meaning less money involved, but they at least should get the same respect.

cthulhu October 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Oh, on a side note, the new TT world champion seems to be on board…

Sean Weide October 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

Two more points on lululemon:
- It’s “lululemon” – with the L not capitalized.
- lululemon is the official casual clothing provider to the BMC Racing Team.

C Grade Cyclist October 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Congrats to both sponsors – brilliant to see….

Now – just need the UCI to make having a women’s team (& paying them a minimum wage) a compulsory part of any ProTour licence application…

Larry T. October 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I wonder if the folks who’re looking for sponsors for men’s team will take notice – lower costs overall and far fewer doping scandals in the women’s side of the sport make this ad buy a better bet for a lot of companies.

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