The Hagens Berman-Supermint team will shutter following the 2019 season, team manager Lindsay Goldman told VeloNews this week.
The news comes after Goldman revealed that her team’s title sponsor, the Hagens Berman law firm, was stepping away from its title position following 2019.
“Berman expressed doubt about his future as a patron of pro cycling last summer, so I knew the end was inevitable,” Goldman wrote in a recent column for VeloNews. “He felt like professional cycling had become depressing and wanted to move his funds into a foundation. I couldn’t blame him; it was only with his support that the last four years had even been possible, so I’m left with nothing but gratitude.”
The team launched in 2016 and was founded by Goldman and longtime sport director Jono Coulter. The squad grew into one of the stalwarts of the U.S. professional racing scene, and in 2018 captured the U.S. professional criterium national title with rider Leah Ann Ganzar. Ganzar then won a stage of the Winston Salem Cycling Classic in 2019.
The team also supported an ambassador program which was aimed at exposing novice female cyclists and entry-level competitive racers to pro racing.
In a letter to her riders, Goldman said the decision to fold the team would allow her to “keep looking for ways to change and grow cycling.”
Goldman’s letter is included below:
This is a hard email to write but better to say it here than try to jumble out the words in person when we all know I’d cry. After considerable thought, I’ve decided to fold the team at the end of this year. We’ve had incredible success and grown into an organization that has truly left a mark on American pro cycling. This has been the most incredible adventure with the highest highs, the biggest laughs, the most exhausting challenges, and hundreds of moments and inside jokes I will never forget. Clams. Snarfblatts. Check that drip. The Viking. I could write an entire encyclopedia of our memories.
But behind the scenes of this amazing adventure has been a tremendous amount of work. It’s work I’ve enjoyed and stress I’ve thrived on overcoming, but it’s also exhausting and at this point I am tired. We are a machine of a thousand moving parts and sometimes even I’m amazed everything keeps coming together and chugging along. It’s all thanks to the endless work of our incredible staff – Tad, Jono, Nathan, Morleigh, Jake, Ryan, Andrew, Julie, Elise, Pierre, all of the others that have been part of our history. These people have given so much to our team and lightened the load enough so I could keep going each year and still have energy left to show up and race a bike. For a long time, the ends justified the means and I had enough excitement about running a team to make it worth the hard days of actually doing it. But now I’d have to build a new program and that feels like putting so much work into doing what I’ve already done. It feels like graduating from high school only to show back up the next day as a freshman.
I’ve said a lot in cycling media recently about how the model of pro cycling is broken and needs an overhaul to find a more assured, successful future. While I’ve tried hard to make our team an example of a successful business model, the reality is we’re still operating in the same traditional patterns. We’re still relying on a sponsor to give enough money to keep this engine roaring along and since the news of Hagens Berman broke, I’ve been looking for another title sponsor to do that once more. But if I speak out against something and truly believe it, how can I keep being part of the cycle that is broken? What does my word mean if I’m shouting one thing while actively doing another?
And so I have decided to stop seeking another title sponsor. I want to keep looking for ways to change and grow cycling, but not by starting another women’s pro road team. Maybe the next step is a gravel and/or crit squad. Maybe it’s more people racing on their own and disrupting the team model. Maybe it’s something none of us have even considered yet. But I need to step away from team management to create enough time and space to figure out what that could be.
Thank you for being the most incredible team. This has turned into so much more than I ever hoped for in the early days when Supermint was just an idea and we had no money, no plans, and nothing but wild dreams. I’m so grateful to each of you for being part of this amazing adventure and I hope we can end this season this like proper seniors (winning, celebrating, drinking too much) before graduating on to the next chapter of our lives.