In addition to their East Coast development team, US elite women's team Diet Cheerwine announced today that they will continue in 2006. Anne Bolyea, who started the Diet Cheerwine programme in 2002, spoke of the decision to continue: "With so many women's teams merging and dissipating this year, I felt the need to continue our elite programme for next year. We will be focusing on the NRC calendar including all of the major races on both the east and west coast. We will participate in the Women's Prestige Cycling Series and do as many races outside of the US as we can. We will work closely with the Victory Brewing team since I am involved with the sponsorship of both teams; but we are two separate entities."
Team management has gone through a very intense and unique selection process, and according to Bolyea "it has been the hardest two months I've had in a long while." She continued by saying "if I could only tell you how many superior racers have sent me their resumes and how many that still do not have a home, it would astound you. But, with new programmes coming in and the large number of riders on some of the existing teams, I was able to rest a bit easier."
As much as Bolyea would love to give every rider a home, she knows it's just not feasible. The focus of the elite team in 2006 is to have a happy, competitive and cohesive team. The team is comprised of mothers, models and Olympians, with all of the women on the team "truly amazing and are capable of winning any given race," according to Bloyea.
Bolyea also said that she was still in the process of finalising the roster. "We are still looking at a few riders, but we have signed letters of intent from most of the women we are bringing on. We have riders from last year's Quark, The Bicycle Store and Colavita teams. We have an equal balance of stage racers and sprinters and I am also bringing on two very strong, lesser-known riders that should see great results in the hilly races such as Altoona and Tri-Peaks." Diet Cheerwine plans to release the full rider roster and sponsor list in mid-December.