By Kirsten Robbins
The women's peloton in the USA is witnessing a profound evolution in recent years. Previously dominated by riders in their 30's, the podium is now being filled by a new crop of young women who have come up through the developmental ranks. Just two years into her professional racing career, 26 year-old Katharine Carroll has climbed up onto the top step of the prestigious Athens Twilight criterium and the Joe Martin stage race. The modest all-rounder hails from Nashville, Tennessee, and is fresh off a winning streak.
Katharine 'Kat' Carroll, a former Division I collegiate soccer player with Vanderbilt University, turned to road cycling in 2004 and after less than one year of racing, immersed herself in the National Calendar races with her first cycling team, the BMW-Bianchi Women's team based out of North Carolina. Carroll was baptized by fire with her first NRC event at the Athens Twilight criterium in 2005, where she nearly cracked the top ten, and then quickly moved forward to place fourth in the Joe Martin Classic that spring.
After two years of increased experience and fitness under the guidance of her coach, Michael Engleman, she has put her stamp on American racing this year, winning the two races that began her professional career - Athens Twilight and the Joe Martin Classic.
"When I started I didn't even know what NRC stood for," laughed Carroll. "I feel like I'm on a high right now because I was able to go back and compete in the first two races that started my career in cycling, and so to win them both two years later is an incredible feeling. Athens Twilight and Joe Martin both showed me what my cycling possibilities were and so winning them is huge for me. Our Aaron's sponsors were in Athens that night, and there was no better way to say thank you to them for supporting us."
To read the complete feature, click here.