LAS VEGAS, Nev. (VN) – Exergy Development Group appears set to enter the women’s peloton in a big way in 2012 and will announce plans Thursday to take over title sponsorship of a top women’s squad and revisit a classic U.S. race. Sources tell VeloNews that an announcement is imminent at an invitation-only party in Las Vegas Thursday night.
According to one source who asked not to be named prior to the official announcement, the alternative energy conglomerate, which has steadily increased its backing of a men’s professional team – and sponsored a jersey and stage at August’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge – will announce Thursday that they will assume sponsorship of the Peanut Butter and Co.-Twenty12 squad of Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong at the beginning of the year.
In addition to the team sponsorship, Exergy is said to be working with Oregon-based Breakaway Promotions to revisit the world-class Hewlett Packard Women’s Challenge, the top-level Boise, Idaho, race that last ran in 2002. Exergy would take over as the event’s top backer after a 10-year absence. Germany’s Judith Arndt was the last rider to win the overall, the same year Armstrong rode her first and only Challenge.
“The game is finally trending in the right direction again,” said the source. “It’s about time women’s stage racing was back on the world stage in the U.S.”
Peanut Butter and Co. team boss Nicola Cranmer declined to comment Thursday, but did recently confirm to VeloNews that she was recruiting high level riders ahead of the London Olympic year.
The launch party takes place Thursday night at the Marquee Nightclub in the Cosmopolitan Hotel.