Capitalizing on a successful 2008 season, the ValueAct Capital Womens Cycling Team has added more depth and top talent to its roster for 2009. The team, which had wins at Tour of the Gila and podiums at Mt. Hood, Elite Nationals and the CSC Invitational, will be contesting a full NRC calendar in 2009.
"This team is destined to be one of the top teams in the country," predicted VAC team director Lisa Hunt. "We've got a powerful mix of climbers, time trialists and all-arounders."
New additions to the squad include Kristin McGrath from Colavita-Sutter Home, Kristin Sanders from Aaron's and Robin Farina from Cheerwine. Returning riders include Sharon Allpress, Nicole Evans, Tour of the Gila winner Leah Goldstein, Martina Patella, bronze national time trial medallist Chrissy Ruiter and Emily Zell. Courtenay Brown, a former elite road racer turned triathlete, will also be returning – racing as a professional triathlete.
McGrath garnered a stage victory at Fitchburg-Longsjo and went on to take second overall A powerful climber, who excels at altitude, she took second at the infamous Mogollon stage at Tour of the Gila. Most recently, McGrath rode for the US National Team at the Giro di Toscana in September.
Sanders brings added stage racing and time trialing expertise to the team. She won the stage two, with its mountaintop finish, at the Cascade Cycling Classic and was part of the Aaron's powerhouse that went won the overall at Mt. Hood. She has garnered multiple top placings at Tour of the Gila, Nature Valley Grand Prix and the US national road race and time trial.
Farina, a strong breakaway and criterium rider, won stage two at Fitchburg-Longsjo and helped the team to their top placing in the 2008 NRC standings.
For 2009, the team will be working very closely with the US Women's Cycling Development Program, to foster the development of women's cycling in the US.
"Women's cycling has grown significantly over the past few years. Michael Engleman has put together an amazing program, and has an incredible talent pool of women who want to gain experience racing," said Hunt. Riders like McGrath, Allpress and Ruiter have all benefited from the USWCDP. "We're planning on tapping into his resources, by bringing on a rider or two to guest ride with the team for selected races."
The team is planning other programs to help promote the sport of cycling among women, including women's cycling clinics and group rides. "We've got some exciting things happening with the team that we'll be announcing shortly," said Hunt. "2009 is going to be a great year!"
ValueAct Capital for 2009: Sharon Allpress, Courtenay Brown, Nicole Evans, Robin Farina, Leah Goldstein, Kristin McGrath, Martina Patella, Chrissy Ruiter, Kristin Sanders, Emily Zell.