Helen Wyman will be racing under the banner of “Xypex – Verge Sport” this year, an individual program “established with like-minded people” to continue her stellar cyclocross career.
Wyman’s search for new partners has been well-documented on Twitter and the two-times European champion had a very clear idea in mind of exactly what she was looking for in sponsors and what her role would be in that arrangement. Several sponsors stepped up.
The nine times national champion said: “I set about finding partners, both endemic and non-endemic to the cycling industry that understand the potential of women’s cyclocross and want to drive their sales based upon that understanding. Sponsorship is a privilege, not a right, and it’s my responsibility to create a return for all of my partners.”
“From my first call looking for potential partners, KindHuman bicycles got in touch. Being a Kind human, on and off the bike, and making and sustaining a program where everyone involved from fans, partners and other riders are treated as Kind human’s is the goal.”
Alongside KindHuman, MotoGP racer Bradley Smith got in touch and offered to secure the program for the future.
Wyman added: “His passion for equal opportunity in sport was clear and he provided valued security to ensure the right partnerships could be found. My clothing for 2018 will feature the #38 of Bradley and I’ll be wearing a replica of his GP helmet.”
Wyman has secured several partnerships over the past few weeks, which have given her a huge opportunity to make an impact on the sport through 2018 and beyond.
The partnership with Xypex came from a phone call in a German cafe. Wyman recalled: “Damian from Xypex loves cross, he loves Belgium and he wanted to help. Partners from outside the industry are key to make a program such as this tick. It shows that our reach as a sport stretches beyond those that are currently invested it.”
And Verge Sport will also be an essential part of the new program, a company that make “unbelievable clothes with riding at its heart.”
Stepping up from their roles as supporting brands to much more prominent roles are both Challenge Tires and Kogel Bearings.
Dan at Grimpeur Bros coffee also reached out to back Wyman, as did Feedback Sports and Look Mum No Hands, two key partners who Wyman believes are full of passion for women’s cycling, its athletes and its development. Feedback Sports will provide cross products while Look Mum No Hands will become a hub venue for Wyman to meet and speak to people, share experiences and help another generation of riders.
After several years working closely together, Kris Auer and Charm City CX, based in Baltimore, are also backing Wyman, giving her the task of helping develop the event and give back to the racing community. Auer, Wyman’s husband Stef and Wyman herself will also be launching coaching services for CX riders.
At the age of 36 and after fighting back from a terrible crash at lat year’s European Championships, Wyman says she still has a burning ambition to at the top of her sport: “I enjoy every pedal turn; I get inspired watching young riders create new pathways in the sport. I’m excited by the progress the sport has made over the past few years and encouraged by the avenues for change already in place.
“I believe that the best place for me to influence the sport is from within. My immediate goals remain unchanged; to be the best I can be and represent my sponsors in a positive light. I’m exceedingly grateful for the opportunities offered to me, and never take them for granted.”