EF joins Tibco-SVB for the team’s first season with WorldTeam status

EF Education will help Tibco and Silicon Valley Bank take the US's longest-running women's team to the WorldTour.

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EF Education First will join the Women’s WorldTour peloton in 2022 as a co-title sponsor of the long-running Tibco-SVB team.

Started in 2004 by Linda Jackson, Tibco-SVB has been the longest-running women’s team in North America. It has fielded national champions from many different countries and competed both locally on the US scene and internationally at the pinnacle of the sport. For the last six years the American team has been competing in Europe. After years of losing top riders to top teams Jackson decided she wanted to take her team to the next level.

“We’ve had so many riders that we’ve developed over the years that we’ve lost to other world, to bigger teams, to WorldTour teams,” Jackson said. “I didn’t want to be just that feeder team. I wanted to be able to develop these riders and provide a future for them at the sport. So that meant going bigger and that meant going WorldTour, and it’s really where the future of the sport is.”

With more support from both Tibco and Silicon Valley Bank, Jackson started looking for a third partner to secure WorldTeam status in 2022.

“I talked with a number of potential partners and really connected with the women I met at EF,” Jackson said. “They are super supportive of women overall and women’s cycling and really believe in our mission of helping women meet their potential.”

It was important to EF that the women be paid the same as the men’s WorldTeam minimum, and Jackson agreed. “Paying the men’s minimum was really important to them as it enables our athletes to focus on being the best that they can be and not worry about how they are going to pay their rent,” she said. And although the men’s team is still a separate entity to what will become EF Education-Tibco-SVB, the women’s team will still benefit from that connection.

“Although we are separate organizations, we will be working with some of the men’s team partners, which is really cool,” Jackson noted. “We are already with Cannondale of course, and are excited to continue with them. We are very excited to work with Rapha, POC, and Whoop as well.”

The new women’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift also played a role in Jackson’s decision to take the team to WorldTour level.

“We definitely wanted to be part of that,” Jackson said. “There’s no question. I think it’s a monumental year for women’s cycling. I think it’s pivotal. I think what happens with the Tour de France Femmes will really dictate how successful this growth in the women’s sport is.”

Despite 2022 being a big year for women’s cycling and for her team, Jackson doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the program. “We’re pretty realistic about our our racing objectives this year,” she said. “Mostly by design, but also by the fact that we were a Continental team trying to hire as a WorldTour team. What we focused on was picking up good talent that we can develop into those superstars. And that’s been my game plan from day one. Really finding that underdeveloped talent, bringing them on, and developing them into the next generation of talent.

“So, will we be a top-five WorldTour team this year? No, probably not. Is that our goal in the next several years? Yes. We want to take it step by step. We don’t have any illusions of being a major player next year, but we’re going to have major talent on the team that’s going to develop into those major players.”

With her 17 years of experience in the sport Jackson has seen the women’s peloton go through highs and lows, but according to her the future looks bright. “As I looked at where the sport was going, it’s pretty exciting what’s happening at the WorldTour, and I got kind of wrapped up in that vision and then I realized that I can’t just be a North American team anymore.”

Just like the men’s EF Education First-Nippo team, EF Education-Tibco-SVB will also dabble outside the world of WorldTour road racing.

“The men’s team has been pretty disruptive in the sport, so we look forward to partaking in that side of things,” Jackson said. “We are also a great fit because of our alternative program. We’ve been big in gravel for a while now and see more alternative events in our near future.”

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