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Team Coop-Repsol to merge men’s and women’s teams into single organisation for 2024

The Norwegian cycling scene is set for a significant transformation as Repsol Norge AS joins forces with Coop Norge as the new naming sponsor for the team formerly known as Team Coop Hitec Products. This collaboration paves the way for the formation of Team Coop–Repsol, encompassing both a women’s and a men’s team in 2024.

Both the women’s and men’s teams of Team Coop–Repsol will not only share the same name but will also be united under common sponsors, shared office and storage facilities, equipment, resources, and administration at the Sola Arena. This larger organisational structure behind the scenes aims to streamline operations. The team’s commitment to gender equality is evident as Team Coop–Repsol will offer equal opportunities for both men and women to pursue cycling at a professional level.

Karl Lima, the manager of the women’s team, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, “We are thrilled that Repsol and Coop Norge are bolstering their support for women’s cycling, both in Norway and internationally. This assures financial stability for the women’s team in the coming years, and we look forward to representing Team Coop–Repsol alongside the men’s team. Our goal is to become the most sustainable continental team and to provide equal opportunities for both women and men.”

Repsol S.A., a global multi-energy company headquartered in Madrid, Spain, through its Norwegian subsidiary, Repsol Norge AS, has been a supporter of Norwegian cycling since early 2016. This includes collaborations with Tour des Fjords, Tour of Norway, and Stavanger Sykleklubb. Vidar Nedrebø, CEO of Repsol Norge AS, spoke about their commitment, “Cycling is beneficial for both physical health and the environment, aligning with Repsol’s goal of promoting physical activity and sustainable mobility. Our decision to include a women’s team in Team Coop–Repsol was unequivocal. We aim to foster the development of cycling both nationally and internationally, ensuring equal opportunities for talents of both genders to pursue cycling as a top sport.”

Coop, owned by the people and in collaboration with cooperative societies, is one of the country’s largest sponsors. Since 2015, Coop Norge has partnered with the men’s team and later with the women’s team from 2021. Vegard Hansen, Sponsorship Manager at Coop Norge, shared his perspective, “Coop is proud to support a cycling team that provides equal opportunities for young riders to train and race, fostering their sporting and personal development. Cycling captivates many, and through this partnership, Coop aims to inspire and encourage increased activity. It’s a healthy form of exercise enjoyable for both the young and older generations.”

Since 2009, the former Team Coop Hitec Products, now Team Coop – Repsol, has been Scandinavia’s only women’s continental team. Karl Lima and Tone Hatteland Lima have independently managed the women’s team for 14 seasons, enabling Norwegian female cyclists to compete internationally. Despite limited resources and largely volunteer-driven efforts, the team has been a key player in international women’s cycling, participating in major women’s races, including this year’s Tour de France. Hitec Products AS, part of the team’s name for 15 years, continues as a significant sponsor.

For the 2024 season, Team Coop – Repsol women’s team has signed 12 riders (including Monica Greenwood and April Tacey), while the men’s team has signed 10.

The teams will be centrally managed from the Stavanger region, with a unified office, resources, and administration at Vår Energi Arena Sola. Tone Hatteland Lima steps in as the Principal Sports Director for the women’s team and will contribute to the daily operations of the teams. Karl Lima continues as the Team Manager for the women’s team, with Jan Erik Fjotland retaining his role for the men’s team.

Fjords Cycling AS, owned by four local cycling clubs in Rogaland, will also play a crucial role in organising the teams, working with Team Coop – Repsol in conjunction with Tour of Norway. Roy Hegreberg, CEO of Fjords Cycling AS, commented on their involvement, “It’s natural for us, representing local cycling clubs, to contribute to Norwegian cycling both locally and nationally. We’re excited to engage in women’s cycling and aim to build upon the team’s legacy while introducing new, sustainable elements, presenting a united and rebranded team.”