In a bid to promote cycling to more women, national cycling charity CTC is to laiunch a UK-based elite women’s cycling team that will take on a number of big races in the 2013 racing calendar.
It's a timely move, coming just days after Nicole Cooke announced her retirement, citing a lack of support for women's cycling.
The team will compete in six overseas high profile UCI races, the National Women’s Individual and Team Road Race series, whilst also taking part in the Smithfield and Newport Nocturnes. Riders on the team will also act as cycling ambassadors, encouraging cycling as part of an active lifestyle by taking part in events and mass participation rides, the CTC said.
Chief exec Gordon Seabright enthused: “I’m delighted to announce that the 2013 season will see a CTC-backed elite women’s team take to the road. There’s clearly an imbalance in the sport, especially when it comes to funding the women’s side. We want to show by actions and not just by words that we support women’s cycling.
“We’re hoping that CTC’s support will translate into inspiring more women to take up cycling. Getting women riding for sport or leisure is of course doubly important as women often are the ones encouraging the next generation to cycle, cementing a lasting legacy for women’s cycling in the UK.”
Co-sponsors have been specially selecting to those that share the same values as CTC and are environmentally conscious with an ethos of promoting diversity and fairness. The team will be fuelled by green energy uk and protected by specialist cycle insurers Butterworth Spengler, while riders will be kitted out by Madison and equipped with N7even 2013 bikes by Merlin Cycles.
Doug Stewart, CEO from green energy uk, said: “Being involved in the CTC Women’s Cycling Team for 2013 is an exciting prospect. With the recent publicity surrounding the Olympics and the rise in the popularity of the sport, it is a good time to launch a professional women’s team.
"Cycling is one of our passions, having taken up a number of challenges for charity ourselves we thought this was the ideal venture to support. We look forward to starting the 2013 calendar and seeing the green energy CTC Women’s Cycling Team cross the finish line first."
Director at Butterworth Spengler Philip Coffey added: “Butterworth Spengler has been providing specialist insurance cover for cyclists and cycle retailers for over 25 years and we are delighted to support the CTC Women’s Cycling Team in 2013. The increased interest in the sport and the strong performances of women riders makes it an ideal time to get involved - both to help talented women athletes and to inspire more women to cycle.
"With cycling being such a central part of our activities, supporting and following what we are sure will be a winning CTC team will make it a very exciting 2013!”
The team will launch at this week's London Bike SHow on CTC and sponsors will introduce the team on Saturday January 19th at 1pm.