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A happy leader - Mara Abbott (United States)
Abbott, Evans, Miller and Rais Pierce to lead the team
Diadora will be the new sponsor of a major US-registered women’s team in 2011 which will be captained by Giro Donne winner Mara Abbott.
Team owner Maurizio Fabretto has confirmed that the team will be called Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan. The team is part of the same structure as the men's Geox-TMC squad. Diadora is now owned by Italian shoe manufactuer.
Shelley Olds Evans, Sinead Miller and Amber Rais Pierce will join Abbott in the squad as it competes in both North America and Europe.
“Everything started in July when Diadora sponsored the Giro Donne,” Fabretto said in a statement. “That created some important results with regards to promotion of the brand and the Diadora management decided to invest in women’s cycling, believing it aligns with the promotional message they wish to transmit. The team will be part of Diadora’s plans to attack the American cycling shoe market. They believe it is strategic area for the growth.”
The team will target the Giro Donne with Abbott, and Fabretto confirmed that Manel Lacambra will be the team’s sports director.
“It was tough signing Abbott,” Fabretto admitted. “However both Diadora and Pasta Zara are very keen to have US riders to help promote their products. Also joining the team as directeur sportif is Manel Lacambra. It means the team will take new direction in 2011 but of course we won’t overlook the European races, we’re just widening our horizons. We’re currently working to complete the team’s line-up and can’t rule out further international signings.”
Already confirmed for the team are Italy’s Eleonora Patuzzo, Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya, Lithuanian Inga Cilvinaite and the Ukraine’s Alona Andruk.
Rais Pierce told Cyclingnews she is already looking to the 2011 season with the team.
"It's exciting to see so much depth in top-level women's teams next season, and I think we're all looking forward to that challenge," she said. "Tough competition raises the bar for everyone; that's the whole point. I'm proud to be a part of it and can't wait to race. We've got an exceptional roster and a management group whose impressive track record with Safi Pasta speaks for itself. This team is A-game all the way, and I think we can dish out some serious pain. That's the fun part, after all."