News shorts: Cult Energy team under financial strain, stress forces manager to resign

Small to debut with Bigla at Giro Rosa; Axeon riders double up at US nationals; fight mars Fitchburg Longsjo finish

Cult Energy’s Skelde resigns amid financial strain, team searches for co-sponsor

Christa Skelde, Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s seven-year team manager, has resigned from her position amid a struggle to find the funds needed to keep the Danish Pro Continental team afloat. Skelde has taken the advice of her doctor to help reduce stress, while the team will continue their search for a new co-sponsor.

“Besides coordinating my usual managerial responsibilities, I have been working very hard on co-sponsor solutions for our team, so hard that my body has been sending clearer and clearer warning signs,” Skelde said in a press release. “After a medical examination last week, the doctor advised me to let go of all work-related responsibilities to prevent further stress and to allow body and mind to recover.

“Naturally, it’s emotionally frustrating to let go of my team responsibilities, leaving the team and people who have been a big part of my life in the past decade. But after a discussion with Michael, I have made the only sound decision there is to follow the doctor’s orders.”

The team noted that they will combine administrative resources to help continue Skelde’s work in her absence until they can find a suitable replacement.

The team lost a co-sponsor at the start of the season and they are currently searching for a replacement sponsor to help with the finances for the remainder of the 2015 season, and to be able to continue the team into 2016.

“I’m deeply sorry about Christa’s resignation," said Brian Sørensen, founder and owner of Cult. "She has been our close partner for several years now and I for one know how much she loves the sport, cares about team and the well-being of every single of her riders over the years. At the same time, she has always been a trustworthy and loyal partner with a respectful decency in all aspects and in all decisions we have made together. In my eyes, she is one of the unsung heroes in Danish cycling and it’s going to be some pretty big shoes to fill for her successor. We will keep working hard to find a co-sponsor solution and we will remain open for all opportunities in order to keep the strongest Danish cycling team on the road for the years to come."

Tour de Luxembourg race leader Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy Pro Cycling).
Cult Energy's Linus Gerdemann recently won the Tour of Luxembourg.

Small to debut with Bigla at Giro Rosa

American rider Carmen Small will debut with the Bigla Pro Cycling team at the upcoming Giro Rosa. The team announced that they had signed Small from Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air last week.

Small will be a part of Bigla's strong Giro Rosa roster, which includes team leader Annemiek van Vleuten, who won two stages last year while racing for Rabo-Liv, South African champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Swiss time trial champion Doris Schweizer and Canadian road champion Joëlle Numainville.

“We want to do a good Giro overall,” said Thomas Campana, the team’s manager. “This is another big test for us and we want to honour the race and make it an exciting one. Together with all teams, we want to put on a great show of women's cycling for the partners and supporters of the sport. We've chosen a diverse line up. It will be curious to see how we do in the time trials but overall we will look to do well with a balanced team.”

Bigla Pro Cycling Team for the Giro Rosa: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Annemiek van Vleuten, Carmen Small, Clara Koppenburg, Doris Schweizer, Joëlle Numainville, Nicole Hanselmann and Sharon Laws.

One of the awesome surpises at this year's race is the addition of former women's champion Carmen Small – she is racing against the men as a guest rider for the Elbowz Team
Carmen Small will make her debut with Bigla Pro Cycling at the upcoming Giro Rosa.

Axeon's Swirbul and Eaton claim U23 road and time trial titles

Axeon Cycling Team riders claimed both the U23 road race and time trial stars-and-stripes jerseys last week at the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships in Lake Tahoe, California.

Axeon’s Keegan Swirbul struck first, winning the 167km windswept road race after teammate Gregory Daniel spent much of the day off the front in a solo breakaway. A small group of seven riders came in together with just over 1km remaining before Swirbul made the winning move on the uphill finish.

Eaton’s time trial win followed on Friday, when he powered over the flat 40km out-and-back course in 48:26.

North Star Development’s Catlin Kelly dominated the women’s U23 races, winning the Wednesday road race solo by nearly eight minutes and then adding the time trial win on Friday.

Hagens Berman’s David Lombardo took the U23 men’s criterium win on Sunday, while Twenty 16 Devo’s Allison Arensman won the U23 women’s criterium title.

Keegan Swirbul looking relaxed at camp. 
Keegan Swirbul, pictured here relaxing at team camp this spring, continues to transition from mountain biking to the road.

Video captures post-race assault at Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Criterium

An assault that was captured on video following the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic on Sunday caused one rider to be fired from his team with the possibility of facing further sanctions from USA Cycling.

In a video shot by a local reporter, Bike Reg Elite Cycling’s Jerome Townsend can be seen repeatedly striking the head of Dave Warner, who is seated on the ground with his helmet on following the finish of the race. A policeman on site quickly moved in to stop the fracas.

Townsend has since publicly apologized for the incident, but his team announced on Facebook that his contract has been terminated.

It is not clear what prompted the assault, but USA Cycling Technical Director Mark Goodheart told the Sentinel & Enterprise newspaper that the governing body had started an investigation into the incident. Local police told the newspaper that neither of the riders involved wanted law enforcement to pursue the matter.

Longsjo Classic Race Director Allan Cote told the Sentinel & Enterprise that there may be more to the fight than what can be seen in the video.

“There was some bumping going on, which sometimes happens,” Cote said. “Apparently this time it was a little more aggressive than usual.”

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