The all women's Colnago-Südtirol mountain bike pro team is ready for 2012. As the only Italian-based team awarded "UCI Elite Team" status for this season, the squad is looking forward to another strong showing on the international circuit.
With a 2011 world championships bronze medal in her pocket and an overall third and fourth finish in the individual UCI ranking in 2010 and 2011 respectively, expectations are high for the forthcoming Olympic season for Italy's Lechner.
The intentions of Nathalie Schneitter of Switzerland are similar. She was fifth last year in Switzerland at Champéry's world championships and placed eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010 in the overall UCI rankings.
Whereas Lechner has already managed to secure her spot for London, Schneitter still needs to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Only at the end of May, after the first four World Cup races in Pietermaritzburg (RSA), Houffalized (Bel), Nove Mesto (Cze) and La Bresse (Fra), will the Swiss National Olympic Committee evaluate performances and select their Athletes for London.
"We have a dream - winning World Cups, world championships and the 2012 London Olympic Games," said team manager Edmund Telser during the team's presentation. "Eva and Nathalie, having gained valuable experiences in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, are very promising candidates for the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, with a podium finish within their reach."
"The aims for the rest of the team are climbing up the overall UCI World Cup rankings and for the junior riders to gain experience for the future."
The team's first appearance will be in the UCI S2-categorized stage race in Andalucia, which takes place from February 26 to March 2. The Andalucia Bike Race is a mountain bike stage race with a prologue and five marathon stages. It is raced in teams of two.
The Colnago-Südtirol team placed eighth and 11th in the cross country mixed UCI team rankings and second in the women's team rankings during the past two years.
2012 Colnago-Südtirol Pro Mountain Bike Team