Third Pillar Systems has announced title sponsorship of the newly formed elite women’s team out of the San Francisco Bay Area. The company has been the title sponsor of a men’s team for several years and is looking forward to the expansion. Leading the team’s evolution is Mark Davis who has worked closely to develop a strong relationship between Third Pillar Racing and the cycling community in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“When I came to Third Pillar Racing, I was impressed with the organization of the team; it was the first time I had teammates who selflessly executed pro tactics in the amateur categories. As opposed to several other clubs I have raced for, Third Pillar Racing has a real team structure and culture. I have Jon Orban to thank for creating this new opportunity of taking Third Pillar’s corporate strategy of providing innovative solutions through diversity and applying them to Third Pillar Racing.”
Jon Orban was eager to oblige; “Third Pillar has always prided itself on taking the less traveled path to achieve the highest levels of success. Third Pillar Racing embodies the principles of our company to create wins.”
Now those principles will be on display nationally in the cycling world.
The original inspiration for the national women’s team stems from the tragic loss of rising-talent Kristy Gough, who was struck and killed while training in 2008 by James Council, an on duty Santa Clara Deputy Sherriff. To carry on Kristy’s passion for cycling and athletics, Third Pillar decided to support a national women’s team for 2010.
Mark states, “What was missing was an elite women’s component to Third Pillar Racing. Kristy’s story moved us to fill that void on the team.”
This vision was made easier by the hard economic climate in the bicycle industry. As many top women’s teams in the USA have downsized or folded unexpectedly due to financial strains, Third Pillar’s commitment and funding was not only a bolt from the blue, but paramount in making the vision a reality.
“I had asked [Jon Orban] about starting the team in March and I was given the go ahead to approach potential riders that would fit in the Third Pillar family; by October we were having to turn riders away.”
The roster consists of powerful sprinters and all-round road racers. Karla Kingsley, Virginia Perkins, Charlotte Hart and Martina Patella. Dr. Stacy Sims will balance racing, coaching, and other current projects with Lance Armstrong, Garmin-Transitions, and Clif sport drinks. The team will also support a female development team consisting of Brigit Cory, Emily Matheu, and Tracy Hogan. Australian rider Jasmin Hurikino will also being joining the squad.
Davis stated “Our ultimate vision is to build one of the most successful and positive forces in women’s U.S. cycling for 2010 and beyond. I envision Third Pillar Racing going head to head with Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12, Touchstone, and Webcor Builders Bridge Team regionally as well as having the opportunity to compete against some of the strongest national powerhouses.”
As for continuation of the men’s team, ambitions lie in bolstering a masters men’s team. “We would like to be at the same level as the Amgen or Specialized Master teams.”
As a result, Third Pillar Racing has also added ex-professionals to its roster: Erik Saunders, Jim White, Jacques Benoit and Rodger Bennett. While racing for Third Pillar’s master’s team, the men will support the elite women in training and act as race directors.
For 2010, Third Pillar Racing is partnering with BackBeat Apps, Park Road Fitness, Northern California based bicycle manufacturer Leopard Cycles, Vetta, Bebop Pedals, Dedicated Athlete, EDGE Components, Specialized, Silicon Valley Sports Medical, Kenda Tires, ProNet, Five Rings Cycling Center, Clean Bottle, and Ralph King Furniture.
Davis stated “Despite the down turn in the economy and the struggles women’s racing has recently seen, I was floored by the high level of interest and the high quality of support we have from our sponsors. Their financial and product support truly helped make this team happen.”