The Diet Cheerwine women's team has announced its 2006 roster and a much larger schedule of races than it had originally planned.
Team director Anne Bolyea said she had originally told applicants for the team that its budget was limited. As a result she originally planned for riders to participate in only a small number of races and to have to return their team bikes at the end of the season.
However, Bolyea said she has since decided to invest some of her own money in the team. "After much deliberation with myself, my family and Nicole [team manager Nicole Bossie], I found it necessary to invest a great deal in this very deserving group of women," said Bolyea.
"After Nicole and I had all of our girls in place, we were able to re-write the contracts and reveal to the riders our budget was indeed large enough to stipend every rider, give them custom bicycles to keep (built by Kane Bikes out of Charlotte, North Carolina) and do the entire NRC calendar which included taking care of their travel, entries and housing for all of these races."
The original expected restrictions had a benefit, said Bolyea. "This was a great way to find out who was truly in it for the love of the sport, who respected our team philosophy and who was willing to work with what they were given. Because so much of this budget comes out of my own pocket, it gave me tremendous peace of mind to know who we had selected was willing to stay and make a go of it given the original circumstances."
Norwegian Olympian and Paralympic pilot, May-Britt Hartwell, remains with the team as does last year's guest rider Allie Warfel. The team has added veteran racer Charm Breon formerly of Freddie Fu, Diet Rite and Colavita; Michelle Beltran from the 2005 Colavita team; two-time US masters national champion and time trialist Kristen Sanders; strong all rounder, Sarah Bamberger from Touchtone Climbing; sprinter Gina Voci from Defeet; climber Holli Steelman from Defeet; and power house sprinter Kelly Benjamin from The Bicycle Store.
The team is planning its first training camp in the mountains of North Carolina on January 20 and will start its racing season in March with the McLane Pacific races.
The team's sponsors include Anne Whitton Bolyea; Cheerwine Bottling Company; Kane Bikes; Verge; Rolf Prima; OS Cycling-Nutrition; Magic Cycles; Kenda; Sigma Sport; Thomson; Voci Spa; Blackburn; Bell-Helmets and Rudy Project.