Kirk Willett Appointed Team Director of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team
Los Angeles, California
Kirk Willett, a former professional cyclist and well-known team director, has been appointed Team Director of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team. Willett will join Harm Jansen on the frontlines, to handle team logistics, day-to-day operations, race strategy, and overall management of team personnel.
A seasoned professional, Willett is recognized on the racing circuit for his tactical skills, logistical expertise and his ability to quickly discern the advantage in the field, helping lead his teams to prominent wins.
"Kirk is a natural competitor," said Team Owner Sean Tucker. "He brings global experience, managerial and tactical skill, plus a core competence in sports science to our team. His in-depth knowledge of the sport, his ability to motivate and direct comprehensive racing operations make him a fantastic asset to Toyota-United. We are pleased to have him on board."
Prior to joining Toyota-United, Willett's experience included a three-year stint, from 2000 to 2003 as Team Director for the Prime Alliance Cycling Team. There he managed high profile athletes, leading the team to over 100 wins and the number one position on the NRC calendar. In 1999, as a leader of the Mercury Professional Cycling Team, Mr. Willett also served as Development Cycling Team Director/Manager.
Willett began his cycling career in 1984 at age 14, gradually moving up the ranks to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials and joining the pro-cycling elite as a member of the U. S. National team. His illustrious career includes racing in the U.S. and in Europe as part of the Mercury Pro Cycling Team, the Comptel/Colorado Cyclist Professional Cycling Team, and other elite teams. During his career, Willett achieved over 100 national and international career victories, garnering top 5 finishes and stage wins in key NRC races including the Tour de Toona, the Cascade Cycling Classic, and the Redlands Classic. He also competed in UCI Pro Tour events such as the Tour of Switzerland and garnered stage wins at the Tour of Venezuela and Tour of El Salvador. He enjoyed yellow jersey wins at the Visalia/Exeter Road Race, the Tour le Fleur Road Race, the Tour of Willamette and the B.C. Commonwealth Invitational Road Race. Willett completed his professional racing career in 2000.
Mr. Willett attended the University of Oregon from 2004-2006, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Science, and a minor in Chemistry. He plans to merge his passions for cycling and science as a physician, and will graduate from medical school in 2011.
About Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates ten manufacturing plants including one under construction. There are more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the U.S. which sell more than 2 million vehicles a year. Toyota directly employs over 32,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $13 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
About United Pro Cycling Team, L.L.C.
Based in Newport Beach, California, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Cycling, L.L.C, United Pro Cycling Team is owned and operated by Sean Tucker. Comprised of some of the top cycling talent in the country, it is positioned to be the premier cycling team in America. In addition to its racing team, United Cycling, L.L.C, wholly owns and operates United Bicycles, L.L.C. The team has also designated the United Cycling Foundation, Inc. as its designated charity, committed to raise awareness and funds for American causes including homelessness and the environment.
Additional Toyota-United Sponsors
In 2007, The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team is exclusively sponsored by, Bicycling Magazine, Bontrager, Champion System, Fuji Bicycles, Shimano, SockGuy, Tifosi Optics and United Bicycles, in addition to title sponsor Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.