The predominantly New Zealand based Jazz Apple Women's Cycling Team announced a bolstered contingent returning to North America this year. In its third year, the team will embark on a Kerouac-like route following the North American NRC calendar from May through August.
Team founder and director Susy Pryde is a former NRC Champion and dual-discipline Olympian. Pryde spoke positively about the team's burgeoning new talent and their competition in the American NRC.
"The US calendar is the perfect synthesis for challenging racing as well as indoctrinating essential racing skills, with perhaps a less ruthless face than Europe," said Pryde.
Half the team is aged under 20, and Pryde added that one of its main aims is to "build long term racing relationships with the athletes; one that avoids burn-out in their nascent racing careers." Pryde pointed to second season Jazz Apple athlete Malidi Maclean as an example of an athlete who, as a first year senior, ably negotiated last year's experience to pick up essential tools that carried her to the NRC podium in her inaugural road season. "One way for us to keep the athletes wanting more is to make the learning dynamic as relaxed and pragmatic as possible".
Bolstering the team is New Zealand's 2008 Olympic individual pursuit contender, Ali Shanks, and Australian climbing sensation Ruth Corset. Corset is the team's first foreign rider and assistant team manager, Chris Drake said, "Ruth is a delightful addition and will fit very well with the team. We'll always maintain Kiwi flair but just like any other squad, we'll consider all appropriate athletes regardless of nationality or locality." Drake foresees that the 2009 athlete additions will most likely hail from North America as it is Jazz Apple's main market. Rounding out the 2008 team roster are 18 year-old double junior worlds' medallist Lauren Ellis, and second-year junior prodigy, Emma Petersen.
Jazz Apple for 2008
Ruth Corset, Townsville, Australia
Lauren Ellis, Ashburton, New Zealand
Malindi Maclean, Auckland, New Zealand
Emma Petersen, Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Susy Pryde, Auckland, New Zealand
Ali Shanks, Dunedin, New Zealand