Monday, October 19, 2009

Portland's UCI pro team seeking new title sponsor

PORTLAND –Team Rubicon-ORBEA, presently known as Land Rover- ORBEA; Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a first year UCI continental team, is in search of a title sponsor.

“For 2010 the team’s goals are to grow the young development team’s roster to 13 road riders and add three development track riders with a focus on the 2012 Olympics in London,” said Norrene Godfrey, the team’s co-owner and co-founder. “We are looking to grow the team slightly to help a few more young riders reach their dreams while leading five-to-six charity rides throughout the U.S. in 2010. and sending even more cancer survivors to the LIVESTRONG Challenge events in Seattle, California, Philadelphia and Austin.”

Rubicon’s two-year partnership with Land Rover will end Dec. 31, 2009, and in order to continue on with the team goals for 2010, Team Rubicon-ORBEA needs to come up with a title sponsor by the UCI deadline Nov. 5.

“Securing a title sponsor by the Nov. 5 deadline will be tough to meet, but not completely impossible,” Godfrey said. “If there’s anything we’ve learned from working with the Lance Armstrong Foundation over the last nine years, it is that you never tell a cancer survivor they can’t. You build your support network and you ask for help when you need it. We are asking the global cycling community for help.”

Team Rubicon-ORBEA was born when Godfrey, a competitive cyclist, lost her mother to cancer in the fall of 2001, after being diagnosed with lung cancer and given only six months to live. Although her mother gave up on life after hearing the “c” word, Norrene was determined to not give up on her mother. Norrene contacted a friend at Nike, who reached out to Lance Armstrong directly. Lance sent Norrene’s mother one of his race jerseys with the inscription, “Fight Mom - Lance Armstrong.”

That simple gesture of kindness encouraged Norrene’s mother to wage her own personal war on cancer; giving her the strength to fight and push through countless hours of chemotherapy treatments. Even though Norrene’s mother lost her battle, she lived longer than anyone ever expected; allowing her the chance to enjoy one last summer and watch Norrene get married.

In order to repay Lance for his kindness and “pay it forward,” Godfrey dreamed of a cycling team that would ride in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its fight against cancer. In 2008, Team Rubicon-ORBEA partnered with carmaker Land Rover to create Land Rover-Orbea; Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The team is built up of primarily young development riders between the ages of 19-25 from the United States, New Zealand and Canada. When traveling to NRC races throughout the U.S., the young professional riders spent countless hours visiting children’s hospitals, handing out LIVESTRONG wristbands and helping some extremely sick children have a moment of fun during long regiments of chemotherapy and other daily treatments.

However, the squad’s goodwill does not stop with hospital visits. The Land Rover- ORBEA team raises funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation by leading charity rides in Philadelphia, Utah and Portland, among other ctities, sending seven cancer survivors to the Seattle, Philadelphia and Austin LIVESTRONG Challenges. The team has also raised more than $71,000 in donations for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

“(Owners and co-founders) Norrene and David Godfrey are the two most ‘neverdie’ people Orbea has met,” said Justin Slarks, Director of Marketing ORBEA-USA. “The two of them are the glue that has held this team together since its creation and are the two who have put all of their personal time and energies into one of the best vehicles for stewardship out there.

“Team Rubicon/Orbea is the one constant in our sponsorship program” Slarks added. “And we hope to continue as the team’s bicycle sponsor for years to come.”

The team earned great acclaim in 2009 for its criterium stage win at Tour of
Gila by Roman van Uden, who sprinted to victory in star-packed field that included Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner. Mike Northey followed up that win by taking the U23 New Zealand Criterium Championships, and Dean Tracy won the U.S. National Team Sprint Championships in Carson, California.

The young Land Rover-ORBEA team also won the best young rider jersey at Nature Valley Grand Prix and the climber’s jersey along with the team overall GC at Tour of Delta.

“For a first year professional development team, the results were great,” Norrene Godfrey said. “But what’s truly amazing about this team is what they do off the bike, when not racing, that has them winning the hearts of so many.”

Race organizers like Nature Valley Grand Prix director David LaPorte also seemed pleased to have teams whose message transcends the sports itself.

“It was a pleasure to have Land Rover-ORBEA at our events this year”, LaPorte said. “Our goal is to grow the fan base of cycling fans, and they did a great job of interacting with the people in our host communities and at our events. They are excellent ambassadors for the sport and for their sponsors. This is a great opportunity for any company who’s interested in engagement marketing.”

Information about the team can be found at, including a short video, a complete team resume and more.