Leading Bike Industry Companies Launch New Cycling Team

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08/28/2008| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

Leading Bike Industry Companies Launch New Cycling Team

New continental Cervelo TestTeam set to combine racing and new product development.

Earlier today leading bike companies Cervélo, Zipp, Speedplay, Vittoria and 3T announced the creation of a new cycling team currently named Cervélo TestTeam. Contrary to many other pro and continental cycling teams the team will not only focus on racing and race results. Beyond racing, this new professional cycling team will provide a comprehensive, engineering-driven test ground for new product development.

“We are proud to have played an important part in taking Team CSC from fourteenth to first in the team world ranking and in Carlos Sastre’s Tour de France victory,” said Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo. “It was the dedication to excellence by both the equipment sponsors and the team that made it happen. Most of all we appreciate the confidence Bjarne Riis had in us back in 2002 and thank him for these past six years. The financial realities of pro cycling today have caused a change in priorities for the team, and we respect that."

Mr. Wroomen's comments are made at a time where more and more cycling industry professionals are starting to notice Riis Cycling's (The company behind Team CSC) increasing focus on profits and revenue generation. One of the moves towards a more dedicated focus on revenue generation is Riis Cycling's decision to start distributing cycling equipment through its sister company Riis Distribution.

"Our main reason to work with a team (Team Cervelo TestTeam, ed.) is to develop new products, and how better to accomplish that than by owning [a] team.”

Since its inception, Cervélo’s focus has been on research and development with a strategy built on four pillars: theoretical analysis, lab testing, materials and manufacturing research, and road and race testing.

“Cervélo TestTeam will race as a professional cycling team with a Continental Pro standing,” explained Vroomen, who views the approach as a positive step that could help make the sport healthier. “Currently pro cyclists are judged only by their racing results, which places a lot of pressure on them to perform. Race performance is only one component of Cervélo TestTeam. Our riders will also be involved in field-testing and providing technical feedback. In addition they will participate in activities with our customers, making them more accessible to cycling fans.” While a team with a divided focus on both racing and testing is a very interesting idea and a move that deserves praise, it seems necessary to note that the team is not likely to be invited to as many major races if the team does not show the world at least some good results in major races. For the companies behind the new team to be able to reap the full benefits of the new team it will likely be necessary to be able to test new equipment in top-of-the-game races where the best possible equipment is used by all riders who participate in the event.

Cervélo TestTeam will be managed by Swiss company Cycling United Racing together with the professional women’s team currently known as Team Cervélo-Lifeforce. “As a partner of the women’s team, we have seen their very high level of professionalism and their impressive results,” said Andy Ording, President of Zipp. “So it was a natural decision to use the current platform and reinforce it with additional staff.”

A four-year commitment of additional private funding provides a competitive budget and makes the concept achievable. With the core of the roster now confirmed according to the team, detailed announcements are expected to be made in the coming weeks.

According to the team owners the name Cervelo TestTeam is a temporary name for the team. This name is expected to change if the team owners manage to bring onboard a major sponsor.

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