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They say that good things come to those who wait; for Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s founder and manager Linda Jackson, the adage is better said ‘good things come to those who work for them.’
For 17 years, Jackson, a former investment banker turned Canadian professional racer, has been building Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank into one of the strongest teams in the women’s peloton, and in 2022, the future of the North American squad looks even brighter.
Next year, EF Education First will join the team’s longstanding financial partners as a co-title partner. The team has also applied for Women’s WorldTeam status, the upper-most echelon of women’s professional road racing. The squad will be known as EF Education-Tibco-SVB; however, it will remain a standalone women’s team.
Jackson, who has led the team since its inception in 2004, says the partnership is a huge opportunity for both her team and the sport as a whole.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the professionalization of women’s cycling,” Jackson said. “The opportunity these women have, now, is amazing. I’ve been in the sport for 30 years. I raced in the ‘90s in horrendous conditions and with very little support. It’s been a long road, but to see money finally coming into the sport so that women can make a living while racing their bikes is a very gratifying feeling.”
Now, the team that started at local races in 2004 with the goal of getting to a few national events will step up to the Women’s WorldTour. The team’s original mission — to help women reach their goals in a healthy and supportive environment — remains central. As a starting point, all women racing for the team full-time will be paid the men’s WorldTour minimum salary.
While the new financial partnership with EF Education First will help Jackson toward larger goals, she will continue to focus on developing young and talented riders, something that has been at the core of Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s mission since its inception. In September, Jackson announced the squad’s partnership with a new Seattle-based development team, Fount Cycling Guild that focuses on developing riders and preparing them for domestic elite teams.
For nearly two decades, the Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank team and its riders have won WorldTour races, national championships, and domestic races. They have produced national champions as well as Olympians and World Championship contenders. Beyond road racing, their athletes have raced gravel, cyclocross, and track. The Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank logos are stamped on the stars and stripes jerseys of U.S. national road and ‘cross champions Lauren Stephens and Clara Honsinger.
Jackson knows how to cultivate winning cyclists, and she doesn’t plan on stopping.
“The sporting goal of this team [EF Education-Tibco-SVB] is to be a top-five WorldTour team in a few years,” Jackson said. “We don’t need to be the number one team in the world. That’s not my objective. My objective is to help these women reach their potential. To become Olympians, world champions, world championship participants, whatever their goals are. EF’s partnership has enabled us to bring on top-tier staff to provide our riders with the infrastructure and support they need to achieve these goals in a supportive environment.”
Currently, the team is composed of 13 riders from six different countries and will welcome seven new riders in 2022, two of which return to the team for the second time. The team will announce its full roster in the coming weeks.
“I’m really excited about the potential that our roster has,” Jackson said. “As we step up to WorldTour status, our strategy is to focus on finding emerging talent that we can mold into the next generation of top international riders. We have a diverse mix of multi-talented riders including climbers, all-rounders, stage winners, and we will build our calendar accordingly. In addition to the WorldTour, we will also continue our alternative calendar emphasis, which is a great fit with EF.”
Riders like Stephens, Emily Newsom, Maddy Ward, and Emma Langley have already become familiar faces at domestic gravel races, and with EF Education-Tibco-SVB riders will continue pioneering the spirit of racing “alternative” events across the world. On the road, the Tour de France Femmes will join Paris-Roubaix Femmes as history-making developments in the sport.
Jackson hopes that the formation of EF Education-Tibco-SVB is also a harbinger of things to come for women’s cycling.
“Women have demonstrated for years now how exciting their sport can be and what they are capable of,” Jackson said. “I truly believe that the media exposure around the new Paris-Roubaix for women and the emergence of the Tour de France Femmes next season are helping to draw more women to the sport. A friend of mine just told me yesterday how her local cycling club has seen an influx of women this past year. We’re at an inflection point where young women are seeing cycling for the first time and thinking, ‘This is a sport that I can do.’ That’s exactly what women’s cycling needs, growth in the base of the pyramid. Now it’s up to us to keep pushing.”