The US-based elite women's team Vanderkitten-Focus announced today that it has completed its 2012 roster with Bridie O'Donnell, a former Australian and Oceania time trial champion.
After two seasons of racing in Italy, O'Donnell will return to racing in the USA, which she last visited in 2009 when she rode there with the Australian National Team.
Vanderkitten Founder Dave Verrecchia explained the addition of the outspoken Australian. "Bridie embodies many of the qualities we foster and promote at Vanderkitten. She is articulate, athletic and feminine. And she is has proven herself as one of the fastest women in the world in the time trial. She fits in precisely with our mission to empower women through athletics, and I feel the Vanderkitten brand is energized with this great voice for Women athletes amongst our ranks."
The team's directeur sportif Jono Coulter is looking for O'Donnell to use her experience to help guide the team's younger riders and to be another GC threat in the US stage races and one-day events.
"Bridie will add valuable firepower to the Vanderkitten-Focus team and help guide our speedy youngsters including Emily Collins and Ruth Winder to the line in hectic race finales. Moreover, Bridie's prowess in the time trial will give us a further option in the general classification of NRC events including Redlands and the Nature Valley Grand Prix. We look forward to bringing her to key North American UCI events, including the Liberty Classic, UCI 1.1 Chrono Gatineau and hopefully the UCI 2.1 Exergy Tour."
O'Donnell herself is looking forward to a return to the USA after she completes the Oceania Championships.
"I am super excited to be riding in a terrific team like Vanderkitten-Focus in 2012. It will be my first season racing the NRC after a short stint in the Auatralian National team in 2009 where I won the Kelly Cup & was second in the Tour de Prince Edward Island.
"I have had great experiences racing against the formidable Kathryn Curi-Mattis in Europe and Australia, and am really happy with the support & input Team Vanderkitten-Focus DS Jono Coulter is affording me. If I can use my strength and experience to help the young talented riders in the sprint & continue a specific focus in time trial results, then it's going to be a fun season indeed!"
The Vanderkitten-Focus team launch is slated for March 1-7 in Scotts Valley, California