TIBCO, Silicon Valley Bank to end sponsorship of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB

EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB (Image credit: Getty Images)

Owner of the EF Education-TIBCO-SVB women’s pro cycling team, To the Top Cycling LLC, has confirmed to Cyclingnews that its two legacy partners, TIBCO Software and Silicon Valley Bank, will not renew sponsorship at the end of 2023 due to what the team have called "recent economic challenges and events".

The two co-title sponsors' decision not to renew funding comes after the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March. The bank's parent company, SVB Financial Group, then filed for bankruptcy protection, and the bank was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

“I can’t thank TIBCO and SVB enough for their amazing support over the years. Our partnerships survived everything from the 2008 recession through the COVID pandemic," said Linda Jackson, founder and president of To the Top Cycling LLC. 

"TIBCO and SVB’s long-standing support for women’s sports is a testament to their commitment to women in the workplace. The jump to World Tour status required a significant increase in their financial sponsorship. The integrity and commitment of both TIBCO and SVB have been made clear by their continued funding of our team through the 2023 season, despite dramatic financial and economic turmoil.”

Known as the longest-running women’s team in North America, the team succeeded for almost two decades because of their business focus on making sure its sponsor’s business objectives were being met through the program. 

The team engaged not just to test, refine, and promote cycling products; but on broader sales, business development, marketing, and diversity and inclusion initiatives for TIBCO Software and Silicon Valley Bank.

The team originated out of a local bike shop in Palo Alto and have been the home team for riders like Brooke Miller, Megan Guarnier, Skylar Schneider, Lauren Stephens, Kendall Ryan, Lex Albrecht and Alison Jackson, just to name a few. 

Linda Jackson's mission since the team began 19 years ago was to provide opportunities for women to compete in world-class cycling and in their pursuit of racing at the Olympic Games. Her goal has been to steadily improve the team without losing focus on its developmental roots.

The team currently includes 16 riders; Zoe Bäckstedt, Elizabeth Banks, Femke Beuling, Letizia Borghesi, Krista Doebel-Hickok, Veronica Ewers, Kathrin Hammes, Clara Honsinger, Alison Jackson, Emma Langley, Sara Poidevin, Omer Shapira, Abi Smith, Lauren Stephens, Magdeleine Vallieres and Georgia Williams.

All athletes are contracted with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB through the end of 2023, with the exception of Veronica Ewers, who signed an extension through 2025.

“I am incredibly proud of what we achieved with TIBCO and SVB over almost two decades. We grew from a local team sponsored by Palo Alto Bicycles to a World Tour team with EF Education that just won Paris Roubaix, the toughest race in the world. Over almost 20 years, we developed numerous national champions and helped dozens of women achieve their goals of competing at the top level of the sport," Jackson said.

"Our riders were able to compete at the world championships, the Olympics, and the first women’s Tour de France in over 30 years. More importantly, the team building and leadership skills and confidence that these women developed through their success in cycling will remain with them for the rest of their lives."

EF Education joined Jackson's programme as a co-title sponsor at the beginning of the 2022 season, which helped the team reach its goals of attaining a coveted spot on the Women's WorldTour with a UCI WorldTeam licence. 

This year, the team has had exceptional success, with Alison Jackson winning Paris-Roubaix Femmes. The goal for this season was for the team to position themselves among the top-five teams in the world rankings.

Jackson noted that EF Education's additional funding for the programme and marketing strength has been what she has called a game-changer for its marketing and social media presence. 

“I’d like to thank EF for helping us get to the WorldTour. 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.”

Tom Berquist, CFO of Cloud Software Group, added that he is proud of the success the team has had under the three title sponsors. 

"The partnership between TIBC0 Software and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB represented the very best collaboration among two teams striving for speed while building winning cultures that embraced the skills, passions, and performance of diverse groups of individuals. We wish Linda and the team the success that they’ve earned, and we will be rooting for them on the road."

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Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.