By VeloNews Interactive
The U.S. Postal Service has announced plans to immediately begin sponsorship of USA Cycling’s National Junior and Espoir teams.
The U.S. Espoir squad competing at Redlands showed up for Saturday’s downtown criterium wearing redesigned jerseys sporting a new USPS logo to reflect the new sponsorship.
At a press conference on Saturday, USPS senior vice president for sales, Gail Sonnenberg, said the sponsorship reflects the service’s long-term view of the sport.
“The Postal Service is committed to the development of the next generation of cycling champions. We believe in the values of hard work, the striving for excellence, and the championship spirit these young athletes demonstrate. We are proud to support them.”
The Postal Service has sponsored the USPS Pro Cycling team for six years and is soon expected to announce plans to extend that sponsorship.
Facing financial shortfalls, USA Cycling was forced late last year to cut back on spending for much of its competition department. USA Cycling chief operating officer Steve Johnson said the organization has been working to line up private sponsors for specific programs.
“What you may not realize is that, unlike other countries against which we compete, our athlete development programs are not supported with Federal dollars,” Johnson said. “Instead, we must rely upon the generosity of individual donors and corporate sponsors in order to generate the resources we need to meet our mission of sustained international success.”
Officials at USA Cycling said they may be close to finalizing a sponsorship for a comprehensive women’s program that would probably include a single title sponsor for the national women’s road, track and mountain-bike programs.