Posted by Editoress on 12/18/09
A new women’s team is emerging from the structure established by the ValueAct Capital Women's Pro Cycling Team. The riders on this team have been charged with a dual mission. Team VBF will be racing their bikes to win races and raise funds for breast cancer research. Continued support from Specialized will allow riders to do the first. A partnership with the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer has become the catalyst for the second.
The Vera Bradley Foundation was founded in 1998 by the owners of Vera Bradley, manufacturer of stylish quilted cotton handbags, luggage and accessories. To date, the Foundation has contributed $10 million to breast cancer research. More information about the Foundation is available at their website: www.verabradley.org
“We’re honored to be the recipient of the team’s focused efforts to raise funds for breast cancer research,” says Catherine Hill, Executive Director of The Vera Bradley Foundation. “No matter what, it’s already a winning season!”
Specialized partnered with ValueAct Capital in 2009 and is back to support the squad in 2010. Team VBF will be outfitted with Specialized bicycles, helmets, eyewear and shoes. The team will race on the Amira - the newest addition to the Specialized Design for Women bike line.
“Specialized couldn’t be more proud of the team. Their new partnership works great with Specialized initiatives and the team already has an amazing ability to connect with women and their communities. Our goal is to introduce more women to the sport. With the team’s invaluable feedback on our design and geometry of the entire women’s line, they are helping us make riding a better experience,” says Tara Moeller, Specialized USA Marketing Manager.
Team VBF riders will lead clinics, group rides and other events at Specialized retailers across the country. The goal of these visits is to identify and alleviate barriers that women say prevent them from getting and staying on bicycles.
Like Team VBF, Specialized is committed to addressing issues that confront women both on and off the bike. Specialized donates a portion of the proceeds from certain products in their women's line to Susan G. Komen and sponsors Race for the Cure events across the country.
Team VBF expects to be about more than fundraising and dealer events.
“My goal is to be the number one team in the country, and I truly believe we can accomplish this with the talented group of riders I’ve assembled,” says Team Director Lisa Hunt.
Alison Powers, who achieved the number 1 individual NRC ranking in 2009, adds: “Our team for this year is super strong and well rounded. I’m excited to ride with such a talented group of women who will be able to support and win races for each other – no matter what kind of race it is.”
Powers, the 2008 U.S. National Time Trial Champion, has a lofty personal goal. “I want to win every single stage race I enter except for Redlands,” she says. To accomplish this objective, Powers will rely heavily on her teammates.
Returning to race for Team VBF, previously from ValueAct Capital, include team captain Robin Farina, Kristin Sanders and Leah Goldstein. Goldstein is the current Israeli National Champion Road Race and Time Trial Champion. The trio is joined by Canadian National Road Champion Alison Testroete and Oceania Games Time Trial Champion Alexis Rhodes. Rhodes joins the team from Webcor and Testroete returns full-time to the sport after racing part-time in 2009.
Additional riders include Carla Swart, who has won a collegiate national champion in all cycling disciplines and former New Zealand National Team member, Toni Bradshaw. Swart and Bradsahw join Team VBF from Team Lip Smacker. Sprinter Erica Allar won the Cannon Falls Road Race as a guest rider for ValueAct Capital at the Nature Valley Grand Prix stage race and will be the team’s lead sprinter. Newcomers Carrie Cash, formally of Team Revolution, and Lauren Hall join the pro ranks for the first time in 2010.
Team VBF will contest a full-NRC schedule following team camp in Tucson, Arizona in early March. They kick off the race season at the San Dimas Stage Race in mid-March as a tune-up for the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Fundraising efforts for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer begin next week.
Team VBF 2010 Season Roster
Erica Allar (USA)
Toni Bradshaw (NZl)
Carrie Cash (USA)
Robin Farina (USA)
Lauren Hall (USA)
Leah Goldstein (Isr)
Alison Powers (USA)
Alex Rhodes (Aus)
Kristin Sanders (USA)
Carla Swart (RSA)
Alison Testroete (Can)
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