Cycling Australia's women's National Road Series (NRS) calendar has today recieved a welcome boost with the announcement that a new team, Specialized Women SA, will participate in the year long series for the 2012 season.
Specialized Women SA is the brainchild of Australian professional cyclist Elizabeth Phillipou, who told Cyclingnews she was pleased to be able to be launching the new women's team ahead of it's first race at Satuday's Noosa Grand Prix.
"Specialized were really keen to get involved, and after some months of discussions we've managed to put together something," said Phillipou. "Specialized have made an initial 12 month commitment but I think both parties are hoping to increase that depending on the success of the team next year."
"We'll be looking to do all the major women's races in Australia, the Bay Series, the Tour Down Under women's events before we take on the NRS. The team’s objective is to raise the profile of women’s cycling within the community, promote healthy lifestyle and fitness and provide a sustainable pathway for development into professional cycling for up and coming female cyclists."
The team will start with an intial roster of five riders but will be potentially expanding on that number as the season progresses.
Along with Phillipou, who has ridden in the past for the Honda Dream Team and Virgin Blue RBS Morgans will be Rebecca Werner who is fresh off a stellar season riding with Webcor on the American NRC and all rounder Trudy Van Der Straaten who is known for her tenacity in criteriums.
The team’s climbers Narelle Hards and Angela McClure will be looking to the mountains to show their skills and experience, McClure having just returned from Europe where she rode on the UCI Kleo Ladies team.
Specialized Women SA is the second new women's team to be sponsored by the bike manufacturer after the announcement earlier this month that the part of the former Highroad women's team would be rebranding as Specialized-lululemon.