Lance Armstrong signs on to Steamboat’s Honey Stinger team |

Lance Armstrong signs on to Steamboat’s Honey Stinger team

Pilot & Today staff

Honey Stinger owners, from left, Rich Hager, Len Zanni and Bill Gamber have teamed up with Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to grow the Steamboat Springs-based energy food company.

— Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has signed on as a part owner of Steamboat Springs-based energy food company Honey Stinger. The world renowned professional cyclist also will play a role in future product development and endorsement.

"I first tried Honey Stinger products during a mountain bike race in Colorado," Armstrong said in a news release. "I was impressed with the great taste and energy they provided. Honey Stinger works for me in training and racing because you want to eat them and they work."

The partnership with Honey Stinger began when Armstrong teamed up with Len Zanni, Honey Stinger's marketing director, to compete in the 12 Hours of Snowmass mountain bike race outside Aspen in 2008. Zanni and Armstrong have since developed a friendship in addition to being cycling partners.

Steamboat's Bill Gamber, co-owner and founder of Honey Stinger, as well as BAP and Big Agnes, created the energy food company in 2002 after teaming with his dad, a honey industry veteran; Bob Stahl, a food product developer; and John Miller, a professional beekeeper. Honey Stinger now produces more than 20 honey-based energy bars, gels and chews.

"We're thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to work with an athlete of Lance's stature," Gamber said. "Our relationship with Lance comes at a time when Honey Stinger is riding a wave of momentum, and this partnership is a major step for our brand."

Two weeks ago, Honey Stinger was named as a "Colorado Com­pany to Watch" by the Colo­rado Office of Economic Develop­ment and International Trade.

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Armstrong's impact on the success of the company could be substantial. His endorsement carries significant weight in the outdoors recreation industry.

"I like the whole team — they understand what athletes need, and they're great to work with," Armstrong said in the release. "I'm excited to be part of the Stinger team and work with them on expanding the products and business."

Honey Stinger already is the sponsor of the Trek Live­strong U23 cycling team. And Arm­strong's connection to Steamboat Springs will increase further this August, when local organizers host the inaugural Ride4yellow mountain bike event on Mount Werner. Proceeds will benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation, as well as local cancer initiatives.

For a complete story about the Armstrong-Honey Stinger partnership and its potential effect on the company and Steamboat, see Thursday's Steamboat Today.