Aevolo Cycling, the U23 development team run by Michael Creed, will support a composite women's squad for the Tour of the Gila stage race in Silver City, New Mexico, May 1-5, the team announced today.
The three-year-old men's team has found success on the US domestic circuit, sweeping all three disciplines of the USA Cycling U23 Road Race Championships last year and placing Mexican time trial champion Luis Villalobos with WorldTour team EF Education First for the second half of this season. Now Creed and assistant director Jono Coulter, who previously ran the Vanderkitten women's team, want to share some of the opportunity.
"This is a one-off project for this race only," Coulter said in a press release announcing the women's composite team. "Aevolo is already committed to multiple programs across many aspects of cycling across the USA, but we are happy to show the opportunity to these athletes so they could click in at the start line at a top-quality event that would have otherwise been logistically improbable."
Wearing the green and gold Aevolo colours for Tour of the Gila will be Deborah Paine of New Zealand, Rachel Langdon of Great Britain, and Americans Scotti Lechuga Maddy Ward, Caitlin Laroche Creed and Cathy Colyn.
"The quality of athletes racing in the USA right now is very high," Coulter said. "We have a good number of women's UCI teams, and there has been a solid increase in the number of criterium based teams over the last few years. We wanted to put together a squad for this stage race that showcases the strengths of some of our up-and-coming road racers, adding in the talent from a couple of riders who have a proven pedigree at the top level."
The women's UCI 2.2 race starts Wednesday, May 1, with the traditional Mogollen Road race and concludes Sunday, May 5, with the Gila Monster Road Race. In between, the peloton will tackle the Inner Loop Road Race on stage 2, the Tyrone Individual Time Trial on stage 3 and the downtown Silver City criterium on stage 4.
Other teams competing in the race include the Canadian national team, Durango-Specialized, Femme Equipe-Swisse Wellnese, Hagens Berman-Supermint, HMS, Orion Racing, Rally UHC, Sho-Air Twenty20 and Team Tibco-Silicon Valley bank.
UnitedHealthcare's Katie Hall, who signed for European powerhouse Boels Dolamns in the off-season, won the 2018 race by 30 seconds over Rally Cycling's Sara Poidevin and by 2:11 over UnitedHealthcare's Leah Thomas. Hall took the lead by winning the opening stage, while Chloe Dygert (Sho-Air Twenty20) won the Inner Loop Road Race and Tyrone time trial, Emma White (Rally) won the criterium and UnitedHealthcare's Diana Peñuela conquered the Gila Monster.
A men's UCI 2.2 race runs concurrently with the women's.
Aevolo women's team for Tour of the Gila: Deborah Paine (NZL), Scotti Lechuga (USA), Maddy Ward (USA), Rachel Langdon (GBR), Caitlin Laroche Creed (USA) and Cathy Colyn (RSA).