Rapha is joining title sponsors Canyon bicycles and SRAM to back a new women’s professional squad, led by Tiffany Cromwell and Hannah Barnes, the three brands announced Friday.
Canyon-SRAM, as the team will be officially known, rises out of the ashes of the now-defunct Velocio-SRAM team. It will be managed by Ronny Lauke, formerly of Velocio, and sport director Beth Duryea. A number of Velocio riders, including Cromwell and 2014 world time trial champion Lisa Brennauer, will move to the new team. Barnes comes from UnitedHealthcare.
“We do have a strong roster, with the majority consisting of young, already proven talents who are willing to learn from the experience of our senior riders,” said Lauke. “Each of them has shown individually that they can achieve top results, combined with the strength of a team I believe each of them will make another step forward.”
The team will ride Canyon Ultimate CF SLX bikes and SRAM’s wireless eTap drivetrain. The Rapha sponsorship is a three-year agreement, lending much-needed stability to the women’s program. The team will be supplied with Rapha clothing both on and off the bike.
The nine-woman roster will feature riders from six different countries and will compete in a full UCI World Tour calendar, including the Amgen Tour of California, Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Aviva Women’s Tour, and La Course. Its first full race will be the Ladies Tour of Qatar, beginning February 2.
“Rapha share our passion and vision for cycling. They communicate this passion for cycling with remarkable stories, images and films, and like our women’s team, they want people around the globe to understand how amazing this sport is,” said Duryea.
The sponsorship marks Rapha’s first major move into professional women’s cycling, and comes just weeks after it announced it would not seek to renew its current sponsorship of Team Sky at the end of 2016.
“Rapha are devoted racing fans, partnering with this team underlines our commitment to racing at the highest level and to women’s cycling, which is a key focus for Rapha,” said Rapha founder and CEO Simon Mottram.
Canyon-SRAM’s 2016 roster:
Alena Amialiusik (BLR)
Hannah Barnes (GBR)
Lisa Brennauer (GER)
Elena Cecchini (ITA)
Tiffany Cromwell (AUS)
Barbara Guarischi (ITA)
Mieke Kröger (GER)
Alexis Ryan (USA)
Trixi Worrack (GER