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The road to TWENTY12

With the announcement of the receipt of the USA Cycling Foundation grant for Centers of Excellence, the addition of a new title sponsor, my dream roster of riders and management, as well as a cupboard full of peanut butter, the season is already off to an excellent start.

This year signifies big changes for the team, while our Swiss-based sponsor, ProMan (Project Management), is staying on board, we secured a new title sponsor, New York-based Peanut Butter & Co., a dynamic company that partners incredibly well with cycling. It's encouraging to see a new brand enter the sport of women's cycling.

The team has already attracted many fans from the non-cycling community who happen to love peanut butter, importantly drawing more folks into the sport, with over 2000 fans on Facebook in the first week, its looking like an effective partnership.

TWENTY12, the original team concept, brings a different model to US women's racing, with a very specific goal: the 2012 Olympics; a bold statement with a long-sighted vision. Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong will be driving the program, bringing valuable and unmatched experience to the team.

2010 promises to be a competitive season for women both in the U.S and on the international circuit. Both with the domestic team Kristin and I have assembled, and the USAC National women's endurance program facilitated by Jim Miller and directed by former Cervelo Test Team Directeur Sportif Manel Lacambra, 2010 could prove to be an exciting year for US women.

Columbia-HTC has added another US rider to their roster, and both TIBCO and Colavita/Baci pb Cooking Light have bolstered their programs, Webcor will continue to be a force, Vera Bradley Foundation has a solid well rounded team, and grass roots programs, Kenda Tire, NOW-MS, Touchstone, BMW-Bianchi, Velo Girls, Dolce Vita & others all continue to support U.S based development women. The competition should be fierce this season, but the real competition will be the rest of the world.

US women are improving year after year and with a great foundation set and amazing support for development... watch out world!

The Sponsors

It's usual to include the sponsor list at the end of the article but without sponsors and supporters, none of this would be possible. This team has been supported from its inception as a grass roots development program. The relationships that have been forged over the last four years are very important to me, and are a critical component of why I continue to support women's racing as best I can.

From the person that buys a couple of raffle tickets at a fundraiser, to the corporation that financially supports us, or the industry sponsor that supports us with nutrition or equipment, or the journalist that takes the time to give women press, the gratitude is the same. The team is driven to facilitate sponsorship activation, providing as much feedback and data tracking as possible to ensure continued relationships.

Hellyer Velodrome is our track home for the team and we have an incredible family of supporters there who all contribute their support to the goals and dreams of the athletes. I can never thank everyone enough for the dedication and involvement with the program.

Thank You Sponsors Peanut Butter & Co. Fuji Bikes, SRAM, JL Velo, Edge Composites, Nature Made, ProMan, USA Cycling Development Foundation, Catlike, Oval, Arundel, Lezyne, Speedplay, Thule, Enduro Bearings, K-Edge, Oakley, Defeet, Paradigm Cycles, Northwave, Rock Tape, Clif, Defeet, Luna, Peets Coffee & Tea, BrakeThrough Media, Pure Swiss Water and Dumonde Tech, Larkspur Hotels, Violich Farms, Chapel of The Hills, Marin Mazda Subaru, Testarossa Vineyards and so many individuals who have contributed advice and support over the years.

The Riders

The Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 riders will be contributing on a regular basis to Cyclingnews, although content will have a team emphasis, its my hope to create a hub for women cyclists fun stories, informative articles, health and wellness tips and the occasional peloton gossip column.

Here is an introduction to the roster and contributors to the diary. I must say it's pretty much my dream team: Mara Abbott Katharine Carroll, Cari Higgins, Kristin McGrath, Sinead Miller (19 years), Shelley Olds, Coryn Rivera (17 years), Lauren Tamayo
Alisha Welsh, Ruth Winder (16 years)

Nicola Cranmer – General Manager, Kristin Armstrong – Director, Julia Violich - Accounts, Tim Brennan - Mechanic

Lauren Tamayo

Lauren Tamayo is one of the unsung heroes of women's cycling. She has garnered her own results such as 3rd in GC at the Tour of Bretagne with the National Team. She also finished 2nd in the Tour of New Zealand Sprint Competition.

But more than that she has been the backbone of many teams like Victory Brewing, Lipton and TIBCO. While still in her twenties, Lauren is a veteran rider with 13 years racing experience. A multiple junior and U23 National Champion, Lauren is also a National Team member who has represented the U.S. in both the Junior and Elite World Championships. Lauren is a phenomenal athlete and truly selfless teammate earning her teams to countless wins with powerful, well-calculated lead-outs. Lauren has shown that she is a versatile rider with results to show both on the road and track, she recently earned a silver medal at the Colombia Track World Cup with Sarah Hammer and Dotsie Bausch in the team pursuit. It's an absolute honor to have her on the team. Lauren has the 'Its Peanut Butter Jelly Time' app on her iPhone.

Katharine Carroll

Kat Carroll has been teammates with Lauren both on Victory Brewing and Tibco. Kat, another tireless team player and keystone rider for the TWENTY12 squad. She is known for breakaways and has won sprint jerseys in at the Tour of New Zealand, Tour de Berne and Tour de Ardeché, 1st 2008 Presbyterian Invitational, 1st 2008 International Criterium, Downers Grove, she also has contributed to many team wins.

I am very happy to be working with her; she has plenty in the tank that we haven't seen yet. Her family owns Gran Fondo Cycles in Nashville, where Kat worked and began her racing career in 2004 although she began her athletic ventures as a soccer player for Vanderbilt University. Kat loves crockpot cooking and is a big New Kids fan.

Mara Abbott

Mara brings a lot of experience to the team. A former swimmer and student at Whitman College, she transitioned to cycling. In her second year as a professional cyclist Mara won the US National Road Title and placed fourth in the Time Trial, took a podium placing in the Montreal World Cup, won Tour of the Gila and represented USA at the road World Championships and has since had two successful years racing for Columbia-HTC with stellar results including 2nd General Classification Giro d'Italia Femminile, 1st Stage 6 Giro d'Italia Femminile, and 1st Stage 3 Giro d'Italia Femminile.

After two solid years in Europe, is striving for a more balanced life-style, she is currently studying to be a yoga instructor in her hometown of Boulder, CO.

She will continue to race a strong European and domestic schedule. I am thrilled to have her on the team and she rounds out the roster with her climbing abilities. Mara loves Fuji apples and peanut butter. Mara is very keen to mentor the younger athletes involved in the program.

Kristin McGrath

Kristin McGrath is a talented all-rounder who excels in the mountains, and time trials. She claimed two podiums at Cascade Cycling Classic, including a win on Stage 6 and then went on to take her first European podium with a third place effort in the Time Trial at La Route de France. Kristin will get a later start as she suffered a double compound fracture to her femur in a recent cycling accident; she was hit by a truck but is rapidly on her way to a full recovery.

McGrath came to cycling after four years competing as a Division I varsity soccer player and swimmer at the University of Tennessee. Kristin resides in Durango, CO. Kristin is one of the most focused and determined riders I have met. Her drive and aspirations is a valuable asset to the new squad.

Sinead Miller

Sinead Miller joins the program after having a successful 2009 season, which was highlighted by her Collegiate National Championship title and her results obtained while racing with the US National Team.

Miller is a multiple-time junior national champion and has represented the United States in the Junior World Championships. She considers herself an all-rounder and an exceptional sprinter. As only a freshman in college she won the collegiate criterium national championships.

Also, during this past spring Sinead raced with the US National Team in Europe, where she proved she is ready to race at the top level with some impressive results, 1st Road Race Challenge Alienor (Bordeaux, France) and 4th Road Race Pruneaux d'Agen (Agen, France) Miller, who is now 19 years old, began road cycling after competing in BMX for over ten years.

She is now a student at Marian University and majors in chemistry and mathematics. Sinead has all seven seasons of The Golden Girls on DVD and that is all she watches when riding the trainer in the winter.

Alisha Welsh

Alisha Welsh, after a breakthrough 2009 season joins the squad as a promising new star.

Welsh fell in love with cycling after a successful collegiate career as a distance runner and excel on the bike when the road turns upward.

In her first season of competitive racing she made it on the podium of Stage 1 of the 2009 SRAM Tour of the Gila only a week after getting her Cat 2 upgrade.

After strong finishes in several of the nation's toughest climbing events, she is looking forward to building on this success in 2010. Welsh is a reality TV addict and top of the list is 'Biggest Loser'

Shelley Evans (Olds), Cari Higgins, Coryn Rivera & Ruth Winder will continue racing with the team on both road and track.

Shelley Evans

Shelly has been instrumental in defining the Proman team, She is a natural leader, and has carried much of that responsibility since joining the team as a cat 4 rider. Commonly known as one of our 5-foot assassins, Shelley has the lungs and heart of a giant. This athlete is tenacious and always exceeds expectations. She is very much looking forward to working with her more experienced teammates this year. She is noted for her track racing accomplishments finishing on the podium in the last three UCI Track World Cups; she is also an excellent sprinter on the road. 2nd GC Nature Valley Grand Prix (NRC) - Sprint Jersey 2nd Giro Donne, Italy (UCI 2.1) - Stage 8, 5th Tour de Ardeche' (UCI 2.2) - Stage 5. She is current National Scratch Race Champion. Although primarily track focused the past few years watch out for her on the road this year.

With a stellar team to back her up, you can count on Shelley to be in the mix at the end of a race. She studied Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Exercise Science at Roanoke College in Virginia, where she also played soccer. She recently married the man who taught her how to ride a bike; she now beats Rob Evans regularly on the track. Rob also contributes many of the images that you can see on our blog and websites.

Cari Higgins

Cari Higgins will primarily focus on track and has recently transitioned from sprinter to endurance rider, don't let that fool you though; the girl still unleashes a wicked sprint!

Cari is currently the top track racer in the U.S. She has won five US National Track Championships.

As a member of the U.S. National Team, Cari recently won four medals at the Pan American Cycling Championships in Mexico City. Cari played Division I soccer in the SEC at the University of Alabama.

She also started the Flatiron Flyers Junior Cycling Project, a Boulder-based junior cycling team with 25 riders. Cari will focus on track but will join the girls for a few bigger criteriums. Cari's first bike ride was the 7-day B.R.A.G. (Bike Race Across Georgia), which she completed on a borrowed bike, white t-shirt, and running shoes. Cari is the 2009 USAC Elected Athlete representative and is very involved in junior development.

Coryn Rivera

You will be hearing a lot about this rider this year, although racing for seven years, she really put a stamp on the USA scene last year, winning several bigger criteriums against the best sprinters in the U.S and on junior gears. Coryn is a great team player and for being just 17 years old, one of the most professional riders in the peloton both on and off the bike. Another versatile rider, Coryn boasts 25 junior national titles in road, cross and track, some notable 2009 results for this youngster include 1st place, Cascade Cycling Classic Stage 5 NRC. 1st place, San Rafael Twilight Criterium and 1st place, Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Coryn's father, Wally, introduced her to cycling by riding tandems with her when she was 10.

The following year, Coryn began to participate in the junior races and dominated. Her first USCF race she placed 2nd among the 10-12 boys and started to cry because she didn't win. She used that as motivation to win her first California State Championships and eventually won 2 Jr National Titles by the end of the year. From then on her racing evolved and has been developing to become a world class cyclist, winning races for the US National Team in Belgium and winning her first NRC criterium marking her first big domestic victory.

Ruth Winder

Ruth Winder, age 16, extended her race experience and winning performances in 2009 after building on her inaugural season in 2008.

Ruth had over 10 wins and 10 podium places on the road.

In addition to being the overall winner of Nor Cal High-School MTB League.

Ruth started the year as a Cat 4 Junior and finished her season with all the qualifications as a Cat 2 Elite racer.

On the track Ruth won or podium placed in every race she entered.

2010 will be Ruth's 3rd year of cycling and her goals for the season are to compete in the US and Europe on the road and track. Off the bike, Ruth enjoys a busy home life with her 5 siblings, taking her younger brothers and sisters on rides, she enjoys baking, drawing and looking after the family pets.

Being home-schooled brings the responsibility and challenges of independent study, her favorite subjects are art and history. Ruth is a massive Cavendish fan and can also make boys cry.

Tim Brennan

Tim has been the team mechanic for the last 3 seasons, supporting team riders in road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike race events. Prior to Peanut Butter Co.Twenty12, Tim worked for the Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada Professional Cycling Team, and the Velo Bella/Kona Women's Professional Mountain Bike Team.

In his spare time, Tim races mainly in sprint events on the track and cyclocross in the fall. His 'day job' is Service Manager at Paradigm Cycles in San Anselmo, CA. Tim has recently acquired 2 new nicknames, and a contest will be held to pick a winner very soon, Tim also has a Jackalope named Hank that lives with him in Northern California.

Kristin Armstrong

Kristin will be our team director and consultant. Kristin's dedication to development riders is very apparent. Kristin is working on a number of projects outside of the team while she is riding the wave of her Olympic and World Championship success.
At the Beijing Olympics 2008, Kristin Armstrong won the Gold medal in the women's individual time trial to become the first US woman ever to win the event at the Olympic games. She has become one of the most accomplished American cyclists of all time.

Kristin Armstrong was born into a military family on August 11, 1973. By the time she was 17, Armstrong had become a Junior Olympian in swimming. She excelled as a triathlete and competed in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. As a professional triathlete, she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Running was out of the question, but cycling was considered her best therapy. Within a short time, a relatively inexperienced cyclist became an Olympian and World Champion. Armstrong has raced professionally for T-Mobile Women, Team Lipton, and is currently on the Cervélo Lifeforce team. She has lived in Tennessee, California, Japan and now makes Idaho her home. Kristin loves cooking.

2009 World Time Trial Champion
2009 1st -Tour de Berne World Cup
2008 Olympic Gold Winner
2008 Overall Winner, Tour of New Zealand
2007 Silver Medalist, World Championships
2007 National Time Trial Champion
2006 World Time Trial Champion
2006 National Time Trial Champion
2006 National Road Champion

Nicola Cranmer

I began my competitive days on the horse in England, gymkhanas, cross country and eventually thoroughbred racing. Grew up around sport, my dad was a pro football player in UK. My mum used to ride horses for renowned racehorse trainer Sir Gordon Richards.
The first bike race I watched was the Milk Race in 1985 the riders raced through the village where I lived. I think Eric van Lancker won that year.

I transitioned to competitive mountain biking in the U.S racing for outlaw team dfl and then at the professional level for WTB, (to this day I still love WTB Speedmaster brakes) KHS and eventually Proflex.

Moved over to road racing much later but soon realized I would be more valuable in a management role. I founded Proman Racing 4 years ago. Fast forward to General manager of Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 Women's Professional Cycling Team, managed under my company United By Sport LLC. I am motivated as a manager by motivated riders, motivated management and clear goals. I love to cook cozy food and will challenge Kat Carroll to a crock off any day!

Junior Development We are committed to supporting junior riders, we will be expanding the junior program in April offering an introductory club team package. It's our goal to encourage young girls to ride and race their bikes, learning teamwork, leadership and self-confidence. Tracey Ford will play a mentoring role for the youngsters as will the pro riders.

Our junior squad will contribute on occasion, Christina Yglesias, Nikka Van Den Dries and Claire Jensen and development track rider Hanan Alves-Hyde.

Look forward to regular team updates.

Thanks for reading!
Nicola Cranmer

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The Exergy/Twenty 12 riders will be contributing on a regular basis to Cyclingnews, although content will have a team emphasis, its my hope to create a hub for women cyclists fun stories, informative articles, health and wellness tips and the occasional peloton gossip column.

The Exergy/Twenty12 team: Kaitlin Antonneau, Kristin Armstrong, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Jackie Crowell, Andrea Dvorak, Cari Higgins, Kristin McGrath, Greta Neimanas, Jessica Phillips, Coryn Rivera, Lauren Tamayo, Alison Tetrick Starnes and Tayler Wiles. International riders include Canadians Rhae Christie Shaw and Heather Logan-Sprenger along with Switzerland's Pascale Schnider.