Friday 25 November 2011

Garmin-Cervélo Pro Women budget slashed

Emma Pooley is rated among the top
cyclists in the world
Garmin-Cervélo's women's team, one of the best-known and most successful in the sport, is facing financial difficulties with the departure of sponsor BigMat. Rumours suggest that it's just had its budget cut by as much as 50%, causing some members to start looking elsewhere.

This is dire news for women's cycling which has seen several teams and races vanish due to lack of funding over the last few years. The team - home to some of the best riders in the world such as Emma Pooley, Lizzie Armitstead, Sharon Laws and Lucy Martin - is one of the few that has always placed its female members on an equal footing with its male members, guaranteeing them a minimum wage when some teams don't pay any salary at all to female riders; though in the opinion of many, team manager Jonathan Vaughters has not shown anything like the enthusiasm for the women's team that Cervélo founder Gerard Vroomen demonstrated with the women's TestTeam.

Vaughters, meanwhile, stated his case on Twitter, pointing out that he can't take money from the men's team to finance the women (which is fair enough, just as it would be were he to refuse to take money from the women to bolster up the men's team should they lose a sponsor) and suggests that if fan are angry they should take it up with the company and ask why they'll be continuing to sponsor FDJ - who don't have a women's team - in 2012. He also insists that he is "trying to get the best solution possible for the women." That BigMat is still sponsoring FDJ seems to suggest that Garmin-Cervélo is another victim of women's cycling's biggest problem - it doesn't get the exposure it deserves and, as a result, sponsors decide they're not getting value for money and withdraw support. Cycling News reported in October that the team would be able to take BigMat to court to seek compensation, saying that its lawyers would decide on whether or not this course of action would be taken "in the near future."

Cyclopunk asked Vaughters if he'd be willing to confirm the cut is 50% as rumoured, but received no reply. However, when we expressed hope that he'd find a new backer, he replied "Me too."

As such, it has led the way towards the ultimate goal of increasing the profile of women's cycling to a state at which it is taken as seriously and receives the same exposure as men's cycling; enjoying a great deal of success along the way and  picking up a string of race victories. To lose a team such Garmin-Cervélo, perhaps the organisation best placed to lead women's cycling forward, would thus be a disaster, in addition to being evidence that the sport is in a worse state than previously though.

More: Sarah Connolly "suggestions that Garmin spend more on the hospitality budget for their men’s team than their entire women’s team budget added together…."


  1. What's your source?

  2. At the time, Twitter - hence pointing out that it was all rumour at the time. However, Jonathan Vaughters has since confirmed the cut but not yet the 50%. :-)