Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth will join the professional peloton in 2015 for the team's inaugural season at the UCI level.
After establishing Pepper Palace as one of the best criterium teams in the country last year, and with the expansion of the UCI schedule in North America and with the World Championships on home soil, the title sponsor decided the timing was right to bring the team to the next level.
With the support of a new presenting sponsor, The Happy Tooth and Scott Bikes, the team has an ambitious schedule that will start early with the Tour of New Zealand and finish with the goal of competing in the team time trial at World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
Most of the 2014 squad will return this year, and the team has added six new riders under the new directorship of Nicky Wangsgard.
Joining the team for 2015 will be Amanda Miller, who has participated in multiple World Championships and contested some of the hardest races in Europe. Miller has previously raced for Tibco and the Highroad team.
“Amanda is really young in terms of her age, but she brings years of experience racing at a high level to the team,” said team owner Jay Hirst. “I’m really excited to see what she is capable of in a leadership role. I would love to see her have a breakout year,”
Tina Pic, a six-time US Criterium Champion and a four-time National Racing Calendar Champion, will also join the team for 2015.
“I am looking for us to be successful in every race we enter,” Pic said. “I've always felt what a team might lack in talent, they can overcome in cohesion. This team has it all, talent and cohesion. It should be a wonderful year.”
Additionally, joining the team will be former New Zealand National Road Race Champion, Courteney Lowe, and veteran racer Amber Pierce, both coming to Pepper Palace from Optum. Other newcomers include Laura Jorgensen and Lindsay Bayer. Time trial specialist Suzanna Dupee will be added as development rider.
Former US National Champion Meredith Miller, who raced for Pepper Palace in 2014, will return to the squad along with Sarah Fader, one of the top-ranked criterium sprinters in the country. Sprinter Christina Gokey-Smith and all-arounders Julie Kuliecza and Amy Phillips will round out the roster.
Pepper Palace will continue to have the support of Scott Bikes. Additionally, it will bring several new sponsors to the fold including; The Happy Tooth, a family dentistry practice with locations throughout North Carolina, Sugoi Performance Apparel, Sram, GU Energy Labs, Chris King Components, Rotor, Reynolds, Elevated legs and Runnerbox.
2015 Pepper Palace p/b The Happy Tooth roster:
Julie Kuliecza (USA), Sarah Fader (USA), Amy Phillips (USA), Meredith Miller(USA), Amanda Miller (USA), Amber Pierce (USA), Tina Pic (USA), Christina-Gokey Smith (USA), Courteney Lowe(NZ), Lindsay Bayer (USA), Laura Jorgensen (USA), Suzanna Dupee (USA)