Canadian cycle manufacturer Cervelo has taken over from Raleigh as title sponsor of the UCI number one ranked women’s team of 2007, to create the Cervelo-Lifeforce squad.

Nicole Cooke has left the squad to head up the new Great Britain Halfords Bikehut team, and drafted in to take her place as team leader is Kristin Armstrong, the American who won the women’s time trial world championship in 2006. The two teams are now likely to be great rivals throughout the 2008 World Cup season.

The Cervelo-Lifeforce are no stranger to Cervelo bikes – although they used Raleigh road bikes last year, all of the team’s time trial bikes were from Cervelo.

?Of course we were happy to become more closely involved with the team,? said Cervelo founder Gerard Vroomen. ?Cervelo has always had great success with female customers, both pro and amateur, thanks to our unique bike geometry. We are proud that the world?s best female cycling team chooses our bikes, even more so with the addition of longtime Cervélo friend Kristin Armstrong.?

?But, it is not just performance that attracted Cervélo to this team,? continued Vroomen. ?We are a strong supporter of the most advanced anti-doping program in the world at Team CSC (who also ride Cervelo bikes). Going forward, we decided we would only support teams that have a similar interest in the fight against doping, which surprisingly, was not met with great enthusiasm by some of the teams looking for sponsorship.

Co-sponsor Lifeforce are a Welsh based company specialising in the storage of customers’ white blood cells, so that if they become ill the stored cells may be able to help them recover from life-threatening illness such as cancer and viral diseases.

The team is managed by Cycling United, based in Switzerland.

CERVELO-LIFEFORCE
Kristin Armstrong, USA
Karin Thurig, Switzerland
Christiane Soeder, Austria
Priska Doppmann, Switzerland
Sarah Duster, Germany
Emma Rickards, Australia
Joanne Kiesanowski, New Zealand
Patricia Schwager, Switzerland
Pascale Schnider, Switzerland
Caroline Steffen, Switzerland

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