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.