Rally Cycling announced Tuesday its complete women's roster of 13 riders for the 2018 season. The team boasts four newcomers with Gillian Ellsay, Heidi Franz, Abby Mickey and Summer Moak, but holds on to its core group of winning talent.
"2017 was about developing the strong group we knew we had," said director Zach Bell. "We found a good cultural balance within the team. Riders were having fun and pushing each other. It was important to keep the team together as much as possible, because we developed great chemistry, and I think we still have a lot of performance potential to see from them. The more they have been through, the more each rider can stretch outside her comfort zone and find a new level."
The team announced signing Ellsay, from Colavita-Bianchi, along with her brother Nigel, from Silber Pro Cycling, at the end of October. She raced as a guest rider at the North Star Grand Prix, in 2016, which has led to a full-time spot on the roster for 2018.
"Riding on the same team as my brother is going to be a blast! He’s been one of my biggest supporters since I started racing. He passed on a lot of valuable advice and shared his experiences with me, and it’s helped me avoid some common mistakes," Gillian said in a press release.
Mickey joins the team from Colavita-Bianchi and has had podium finishes at the Tour of the Gila, Cascade Cycling Classic and Steamboat Springs Stage Race. Moak joins the team from Sho-Air Twenty20 and Franz from Keller Rohrback Cycling.
Allar aims to defend national criterium title
The core of the team will return with Erica Allar, winner of the 2017 US Pro Criterium Championships and two collegiate national titles, leading the way.
"Winning the criterium championship meant so much to me," said Allar, who is pursuing a second degree in the Master of Arts for Teaching program at Piedmont College.
"Most people only see the victories. They don't see all the training, the hard work, the challenges we face on any given day to achieve those things. I've come super close to winning it but never quite put it together. Winning that jersey was a highlight of my racing career."
Allar noted that one of her key goals is to defend her criterium title in 2018. "My personal goals in 2018 are to win a few key races and defend my criterium title. As a team, I want to be a good teammate and leader and do what I can to help our squad keep on this path of success."
Canadian Olympian Kirsti Lay, overall winner at this year’s Green Mountain Stage Race and Tucson Bicycle Classic will also return. Sara Bergen, stage and points winner at the Cascade Cycling Classic, Canadian Olympian and 2017 Canadian road race champion Allison Beveridge, and Kelly Catlin, a world champion in the team pursuit, also rejoin the team.
In addition, young riders Katherine Maine, podium finisher at the U23 Canadian road race and time trial championships, and Megan Heath, former US junior road champion, will return.
Sara Poidevin, who was the overall winner of the Colorado Classic after the start of her season was delayed due to a broken arm, is back and looking forward to a full season ahead. Emma White, US U23 road and time trial champion, completes the group of returning riders. She won stage 4 at Tour of the Gila and the overall classification at the team’s hometown race, the North Star Grand Prix.
"Winning North Star was an unbelievable feeling," White said. "The biggest switch in my brain that went off was that my team believed in me. It gave me extra power to get it done. It was not an individual effort, the whole team was behind that result and I will never forget it."
2018 Rally Cycling women’s roster: Erica Allar, Sara Bergen, Allison Beveridge, Kelly Catlin, Gillian Ellsay, Heidi Franz, Megan Heath, Kirsti Lay, Katherine Maine, Abigail Mickey, Summer Moak, Sara Poidevin and Emma White.