UK-based Drops Cycling Team announced Thursday that they will join the UCI rank of elite women’s teams for the 2016 season. Bob Varney will direct the team and noted that their mission in acquiring the licence is to further develop their all-British roster in international-level cycling.
“The UCI licence provides us with a fantastic opportunity for the team to develop, allowing us to compete in a greater number of and higher quality races,” Varney said in a team press release. “This will ensure that we can continue to offer a realistic pathway to the professional scene of women’s cycling for British riders.”
Varney is a UCI accredited Sports Director, having completed the eight-day course at the sport governing body’s headquarters in Switzerland last fall. Three additional directors include Karla Boddy, Paul Freeman and Tom Varney.
The Drops Cycling Team roster, announced one-by-one on the team’s website last fall, includes Laura Massey, Rebecca Durrell, Hannah Payton, Ellie Dickenson, Karla Boddy, Aby Van Twisk, Becky Womersley, Jen George, Sophie Coleman, Rose Osborne, Laura Cameron and Lucy Shaw. With three mentors in Marijn de Vries, Sharon Laws and Louise Robinson.
“We are proud of our all-British roster and being able to offer a structured environment for British riders to showcase their talents at the highest level of women’s cycling,” Varney said.
“This is really exciting news for all of us at Drops, from our riders and staff to sponsors and management. We have all been working really hard behind the scenes to make this happen and the news received is a proud moment for all concerned.”
Drops announced last September that they would have a women’s roster competing in the UK and across Europe during the 2016 season. At that time, they announced that they received invitations to race at Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche in France and the Lotto Cycling Cup in Belgium, and that the Tour de Bretagne Feminin in France was another target race.
Other confirmed events include the classics Le Samyb des Dames, Dwars door Vlaanderen in March. In April, the team will be at Grand Prix de Dottignies, Salverda Omloop van de Ijssedelta, Festival Luxembourgeois and Tour de Yorkshire. May races include Trofee Maarten Wynants, Lincoln Grand Prix, Tour d'Occitane, Velothon Wales, La Classique Morbihan, Grand Prix de Plumelec – Morbihan Dames and Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik.
"In terms of target races, we have four or five riders capable of winning British elite level road races but our main goal is to expose our riders to international competition where success will be measured quite differently."
Drops Cycling Team will launch at the London Cycle Show on February 12 and they will unite for a training camp in Mallorca on February 20.