Jessica Phillips jumped back on the women's pro cycling radar when she won the United States of America Time Trial Championships last year. Now she is gearing up for an international comeback, combing US stage races with her Colavita-Baci team and some overseas racing with the USA National Team in 2010.
"For the 2010 season I would really like to dial in my time trialing and become a strong GC rider," Phillips told Cyclingnews. "I am always motivated to help the team win races and I want Colavita-Baci to be the strongest team out there.
"I will also focus on some races with the US National team and I would like to make a name for myself internationally," she added. "That being said, I am really happy to help either team win races and take whatever role I need to make that happen."
Phillips won the US Road Race Championship in 2002 and went on the compete for some of the most well-known teams in the world. She rode with the US-based team Saturn in 2003 and German-based Nurnberger in 2004, when she abruptly walked away from professional cycling mid-season.
Phillips returned to professional racing in last summer with Lipsmackers and by the end of the season she had earned her second stars and stripes jersey, this time in the time trial. Lipsmackers offered her a contract renewal however the team unexpectedly disbanded in November last year.
"I felt loyal to Lipsmackers and I wanted to be an integral part in developing a strong and cohesive women's team," Phillips said. "After Lipsmackers fell through, Colavita-Baci still honoured the contract they had offered me, and I greatly respect that."
The Colavita-Baci Women's Cycling Team was formerly known as Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light. The team's star sprinter Tina Pic has retired and taken over the responsibility of directeur sportif along side former teammate Rachel Heal.
"I truly believe that Tina will make a great directeur," Phillips said. "She knows some of the races inside and out and she is very experienced at winning races. I never had the opportunity to be teammates with her, so I am really excited to work with her.
"After speaking with Tina and Rachel I felt strongly about the directeurs and management of the team," she added. "They offered me a great schedule and very flexible with my different options."
The Colavita-Baci roster includes Phillips, Kate Bates, Kelly Benjamin, Carmen Small, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Cath Cheatley, Andrea Dvorak, Heather Logan-Sprenger, Shontell Gauthier, Modesta Vzesniauskaite and Rushlee Buchanan.
"Another huge selling point is the roster," Phillips said. "I love racing with international riders and Colavita-Baci has girls from New Zealand, Australia, Lithuania and Canada. I feel like I can learn so much from the riders and they bring different experiences and work ethics.
"I am especially excited to race with Kate Bates," she added. "Coming from Columbia-HTC she brings professionalism and tactics to the team. I think it is great for the American peloton to have some international riders."