Kaitlin Antonneau is the newest addition to the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com squad and the first female competitor to ride under the banner since former Canadian champion Lyne Bessette three years ago.
The 18-year-old cycling talent hopes that joining teammates Tim Johnson, the reigning US national cyclo-cross champion and current US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) leader, along with Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll will help develop her full 'cross potential in the season to come.
"It's the best team in the country and I felt extremely honored that they were interested in me," Antonneau told Cyclingnews. "I met them last year in Toronto and then during the spring I received an email from Tim Johnson. I think they want to offer me the chance to develop to my fullest potential. All three of them are willing to answer any of my questions and help me out in any way possible."
Antonneau turned heads when she placed on the podium at the International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned Toronto International Cyclo-cross last year, an event that was part of the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series.
"She goes to school full time and races collegiate 'cross, road and track," Johnson said. "It will be great for her to join us at a few races during the 'cross season. I've seen her at some of the races last year and she's young, really excited, has great skills and we are looking forward to having her race with us this year."
Antonneau is currently a freshman at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Last weekend she competed in the USA Cycling Collegiate Track Championships where she won the points race and was a valuable member of the winning team pursuit squad.
In the same weekend, Antonneau switched from track racing to cyclo-cross and competed in the USGP series' second round held at the Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where she placed 12th in the elite women's event.
"It was a difficult transition and I came into the race pretty tired from racing on the track for three days which was really hard," Antonneau said. "But I was just so excited to get out there on the 'cross bike and race!"
Antonneau is the first women to compete for the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com team since Johnson's wife Lyne Bessette, a renowned Canadian road and cyclo-cross racer, retired in 2007.
"I really respect her and all she has accomplished," Antonneau said. "I think it's a great honor to follow in her foot steps."