EF Education to start brand new women’s team

New squad raises questions over the future of existing EF Education-Tibco-SVB team

EF Education
(Image credit: Gruber Images)

EF Education-Easypost, the men’s racing team that includes star riders Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Uran, is to set up a women’s arm for 2024.

The team released a statement yesterday saying the squad, which is owned by the languages education company that is its title sponsor, “will own and manage a professional women’s team, racing under the banner of EF Education-Cannondale”.

Cycling Weekly has subsequently had confirmation that this new team is separate from current Women’s WorldTour EF Education-Tibco-SVB, who’s riders include reigning Paris-Roubaix champion Alison Jackson and rising British star Zoe Bäckstedt.

The announcement was scant on details but said the new team would be “the best in the sport” and pledged it would be “one that competes with character, wins races, and inspires more women to ride”.

Current EF Education-Easypost partners clothing company Rapha; helmet brand POC, and cycling technology firm Wahoo will also support the new team.

It’s unclear what this will mean for the EF Education-Tibco-SVB team that the global education company currently backs.

That squad can trace its roots back to 2007 when it was set up as Team Tibco. The team is currently managed by British ex-pro rider Rachael Hedderman.

It’s the second finance concern to hit the team in the last three months. When title sponsor Silicon Valley Bank collapsed in March it raised concerns about the future of the team, however they were funded through the 2023 season.

Last month Linda Jackson, the founder and president of To The Top Cycling , the holding company that owns the team told Cycling Weekly sister publication CyclingNews: “The loss of TIBCO and SVB going forward is certainly challenging, but I’ll continue to explore options for To the Top Cycling," Jackson said.

"I have a very short window to do this, however, as the most important thing to me is that my riders find spots on other WorldTour teams if I can’t provide for them. We are coming up on an Olympic year, and that’s going to be important for them.”

Jonathan Vaughters, who runs the men’s team, has previous experience in the women’s peloton having run an ill-fated AA Drink-Leontien.nl squad.

Vaughters management company Slipstream took over the running of the business aspects of the team for the 2012 season but saw the squad, which included star British riders Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armitstead, fold at the end of the season due to a lack of sponsorship.

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.