Linda Jackson started the team in 2004, with $5000. She had hoped to get $100,000 to sponsor the team but when she was told that all the partner could afford was a few thousand bucks?
“I’ll take it.”
Jackson, a former Canadian national champion, after a career as a former investment banker, slowly built a team to compete on a national level and provide meaningful support to the next generation of professional women cyclists.
Since its inception, TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank team and 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.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the professionalization of women’s cycling. 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,” Jackson said.
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 WorldTour in 2022, and EF Education First will join as a co-title partner. 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.
“Women have demonstrated for years now how exciting their sport can be and what they are capable of. 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,” Jackson said. “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.”