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The longest-running professional women’s cycling team in North America just got one step closer to the world stage.
On Thursday, Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank announced increased partnership commitments from its co-title sponsors, Tibco and Silicon Valley Bank. The four-year financial commitment will enable the team to file for Women’s WorldTeam status for the 2022 season.
Once Team Tibco-SVB transitions from its current status as a UCI Women’s Continental Team to a top-tier WorldTeam, its riders will see benefits like a minimum wage and maternity pay.
“Securing increased pay and expanding resources for Team Tibco-SVB is an essential step in establishing gender equity for these professional riders and the many women who aspire to compete at this level,” said Dan Streetman, chief executive officer of Tibco. “Our 16-year partnership with the team has always been about taking action, pushing limits, and achieving results. We’re honored to support the team in their efforts.”
Team Tibco-SVB was founded 16 years ago by former Canadian national champion and Olympian Linda Jackson who still manages the team today. The squad experienced success early on, and has had a stalwart presence on the Women’s World Tour for over a decade.
In 2008, Brooke Miller became a double national U.S. champ, winning the road race and criterium. In 2009, the team was named top squad in North America, won the U.S. national road race again (Meredith Miller), and was named Team of the Year by VeloNews. In 2010, the team expanded to racing in Europe.
Over the years, the team has produced dozens of national championship medals across road, track and criterium races. In June, nine-year Tibco veteran Lauren Stephens won the U.S. national road race. Just last week, Eri Yonamine (Japan) and Sarah Gigante (Australia) represented their countries in Tokyo.
The step up to WorldTeam status is a big one for Team Tibco. While the squad frequently travels to compete in European World Tour-level events, as a continental team they’ve needed an invitation from race organizers. As a WorldTeam, they’ll be automatically included on every WWT start list.
However, the biggest changes accompanying the status change have to do with professionalization.
Since the UCI rolled out the Women’s WorldTeam status at the advent of the 2020 season, minimum salary requirements for teams at that tier have risen gradually each year. For 2022, the minimum wage for salaried riders on WorldTeams will be €27,500, before joining the minimum salary for riders of the men’s UCI ProTeams in 2023 (that amount is currently €32,100).
The introduction of the minimum salary to the UCI Women’s WorldTeams was accompanied by other developments such as the introduction of health insurance, maternity leave, life insurance, a maximum number of race days and paid holidays. Tibco-SVB founder Linda Jackson says that being able to provide riders with such basic benefits has been a goal for some time.
“I am proud that we are able to step up to the World Tour level for 2022,” Jackson said. “We have been working toward this goal for several years and it is so rewarding to finally see everything fall into place. Female cyclists have suffered financially for decades, and it’s wonderful to be able to pay these athletes at a level that enables them to focus on their sport and achieve their goals.”