It was a bold statement four years ago adding TWENTY12 to the teams name to announce a focus on London 2012 Olympics. The intention resulted in a gold and silver medal, the only U.S registered UCI road program to achieve this.
Following this success and in an effort to continue to develop the next generation of champions, ExergyTWENTY12 will enter the 2013 racing season with an all American roster as ExergyTWENTY16 Women’s Professional Cycling Team, the only registered UCI team to focus entirely on U.S athletes, a program for young women to pursue their professional and Olympic goals heading into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic cycle.
“With support from our title sponsor, Exergy Development Group, Exergy TWENTY16 will continue its pursuit of success in the women’s pro peloton both domestically and internationally,” said team owner Nicola Cranmer. “When I founded United By Sport LLC seven years ago to manage a grass roots level program, our goals were high, but I never imagined we would achieve such success and more importantly, helped so many young women engage their dreams. 2012 saw the folding of two U.S domestic women’s teams, we felt it of utmost importance to primarily support American athletes to ensure continued development, we will continue to operate a flexible program offering our athletes the latitude to race with the U.S National Program.
ExergyTWENTY16 is the only UCI registered women’s team with an intergrated development feeder program, two of our 2012 juniors have graduated to our UCI roster. We have added 14 junior riders to the roster for 2013, Cari Higgins is the driving force behind our junior program, I couldn’t do it with out her dedication.”
A vital component in the growth of women’s professional cycling has been the relationship between domestic trade teams and USA Cycling. It has shown to be a highly effective partnership, as the United States has emerged as a major force in the international scene. “USA Cycling strongly supports the role trade teams plays in the development of the next generation of American men and women cyclists. What American women have accomplished over the last ten years has been unprecedented, only two or three other nations can claim similar success.” says Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics.
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong will return in 2013 as the team’s High Performance Director. Dedicated to developing the future of American racing, Armstrong is as competitive off the bike as she is on the bike and is motivated to share her knowledge with the team with a goal of developing the future World and Olympic gold medal time trialists. “Having experienced three Olympic cycles and understanding the details required to be the best in your discipline, I have a lot to offer the future of the sport.” commented Armstrong. “Many details get overlooked in an athlete’s program – in goal setting, training, and equipment specifics. I will be there for the fine tuning aspects in our athletes’ journey to success, identifying the millimeters and percentages that add up to gold.”
Veteran Michael Engleman will join ExergyTWENTY16 as Sport Director. Engleman brings many years of experience and served as Kristin Armstrong’s first director on T-Mobile. Joining Engleman is one of the top mechanics in the world, Irishman Adrian Hedderman. Adrian brings extensive knowledge and a stellar work ethic to the program.
Dr.Kristin Wingfield returns for a fourth season, working with the athletes on general health and injury prevention and also baseline concussion testing.
New to ExergyTWENTY16 from an equine background are Colorado residents Rebecca Balboni, former ski racer and University of Colorado Boulder student Christa Ghent and 2011 National collegiate road race champion, Heather Fischer. 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Lauren Tamayowill return for a fourth season, combining track and road racing. Tamayo is motivated to race on the road again and to mentor her younger teammates; she is a natural leader on the road and will play an important role in 2013.
Arguably one of the best climbers in the world, 2010 Giro Donne winner and two-time National Road Champion Mara Abbott returns to the program after a year away from road racing. Her renewed passion for the sport will certainly ruffle some feathers in the hilly stages this year. Olympic long team members Kristin McGrath, Andrea Dvorak and Cari Higgins will be returning, joined by 2012 teammates Jackie Crowell, Kaitie Antonneau, Alison Tetrick and 2012 Track Paracycling World Cup overall winner and Paralympian Greta Neimanas. Graduating from the 2012 junior squad to the elite squad are 2011 Junior World Champion Jennifer Valenteand Kayla Sterling.
2013 UCI Roster: Lauren Tamayo, Mara Abbott, Kristin McGrath, Andrea Dvorak, Jacquelyn Crowell, Alison Tetrick, Kaitie Antonneau, Cari Higgins, Rebecca Balboni, Greta Neimanas, Heather Fischer, Jennifer Valente, Kayla Sterling, Christa Ghent.
A 14-rider junior program will complement the UCI team. 2013 juniors include Laurel Rathbun 17-18, Claire Van Ekdom 17-18, Tara McCormick 17-18, Sarah Huang 17-18, Kirsten Williams 17-18, Nadia Latzgo 17-18, Ashlyn Woods 15-16, Zoe Mullins 15-16, Marta Morris 15-16, Hannah McDade 15-16, Hannah Arensman 15-16, Isabella Brookshire 13-14, Summer Moak 13-14, Veronica Church 11-12.
The Merco Classic has long been known as the West Coast season opener, formerly an NRC event, the race still draws the nations top riders for both men’s and women’s fields. Rolling hills and pretty almond blossoms set the stage for the 4 day race.
Stage 2 Merced Boosters Time Trial
For Ali’s full report check Cycling Illustrated