Cervélo TestTeam Launch
Cervélo TestTeam officially launched today at a gala presentation in the midst of the Team’s two-week training camp. The presentation included riders from the men and women’s teams, staff, management and team owners.
Cervélo TestTeam formed in the past few months as a new concept, even though the idea of a team supported by a bike company instead of an external title sponsor looks like a throwback to the great teams of the 1940’s and 50’s. The Team brings together the best of the bike industry, focusing on more than racing alone.
Phil White, co-founder of Cervélo summed up the partners’ reasoning behind the development of the team at Sunday’s presentation. “We did it because we feel that professional cycling is of extreme importance to the bike industry. Rather than just criticize on the sidelines as a sponsor, we decided we should put our money where our mouth is and be proactive. We think it is time the industry doesn’t just fund teams they have no control over, but that it also takes an active role and responsibility for how these teams are run, and how they promote bikes & cycling in general.”
Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo, expanded on that, stating, “While race exposure is great, we need more than that. Our company is based on creating the best products, and to continue to offer that to our customers, we need assistance and feedback from pro riders during product development. The best way to ensure the team is focused on providing this feedback is to own the team. In speaking with Thomas Campana, the basic structure of such a team started to take shape. We had a great experience in 2008 with the women's team he runs, so to take that team, add a men's side, and turn it into a bike industry team made a lot of sense to us.”
The concept also made sense to Cervélo’s friends in the industry. They too were looking to be part of a team project that involved more than just racing. With the help of some of the bike industry’s thought leaders such as Zipp, Speedplay, Vittoria, 3T, Fi’zi:k, Castelli and Rotor, and the support of some outside partners, the budget quickly took shape.
“We really owe a great debt to our partners, because many of them signed on to this project very early on, without any assurances about riders, staff, race schedule, anything,” Vroomen revealed. “They committed their support to us based on just an idea. Of course, our thought was that it would be a modest team. After the Tour de France, I told Carlos Sastre about the project, and after 20 minutes he said, right out of the blue: "I'm in". So much for it being a modest team. I still can't believe that he said yes.
I don't think that a new team has ever started its first year with the Tour de France winner on its roster. Next up, Roger Hammond was interested, then Thor Hushovd, then another rider, and another. Just like many in the bike industry were looking for such a project, so were many riders. And we found the same enthusiasm with staff, with sports directors, race organizers, with everybody that we approached really.”
Besides veterans like Sastre and Hushovd the team has attracted many up and coming riders, like Simon Gerrans, Ted King, Dominique Rollin and Hayden Roulston as well as new pros Marcel Wyss and Martin Reimer. The women’s TestTeam is equally strong, headed by Olympic Gold Medal winner Kristin Armstrong, Carla Ryan and Christiane Soeder as well as newcomers like Sandra Dietel, Regina Bruins and Liselot LaCroix.
Of equal importance to the partners in this project, is the involvement of the Cervélo TestTeam riders in activities with customers, making the sport more accessible to cycling fans.
The training camp will continue to January 26, when both the men and women’s team head to their first race, the Tour of Qatar in early February.
Cervélo TestTeam Partners include: Cervélo, Skoda cars, Zipvit energy bars, Zipp wheels, 3T components, Rotor cranks, Swiss Olympic CrossKlinik, Castelli race apparel, Fi’zi:k saddles, Vittoria tires, Speedplay pedals, Reporter clothing, 2XU compression apparel, Quarq power meters, Catlike helmets, Bicycling magazine, Morgan Blue lubricants, Elite, Nokon and Sportsbalm.