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French squad targets Olympic year with international riders
French women's cycling team GSD Gestion has been delighted to finish its first season ranked 16th in the UCI women's team rankings after the team's last race, the Chrono des Nations, where Lina-Kristin Schink took eleventh. Team management has announced that the squad will continue in 2012 as the two main sponsors, GSD Gestion and Cyril Immobilier, last week renewed their financial support for one more year.
Team leader and triple Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (cyclo-cross, road and time trial), who won the overall 2011 French Cup, will remain with the team next season as one of the 12 riders announced so far. Six new riders will join the team for the upcoming season: Patricia Schwager and Emilie Aubry (Nederland Bloeit), Catherine Williamson (Team Bizhub), Anne-Marie Schmitt (Lointek) and the two young French riders Lucie Pader and Oriane Chaumet.
From the 2011 roster, French riders Mélanie Bravard, Eugénie Mermillod and Charlotte Bravard, Irish champion Siobhan Horgan and German Lina-Kristin Schink are staying on the team for next season, too.
"At this time, we don't exclude the possibility of rounding out the roster with a few more riders during next season," team spokesperson Fabienne Gautier told Cyclingnews.
"It's a beautiful team including many international riders. We will do our best to offer them the most complete race programme to prepare them in the best possible way for the London Olympics as several of them are included in their nations' pre-selections for the Games."
Gautier added that the team's partnership with Specialized has also been extended for 2012. "The riders will be able to race on Amira S-Works bikes, the new state of the art model especially designed for women," she added.