Afghan women’s cycling team on track for Nobel Peace Prize - Women's News Shorts

Afghan women’s cycling team on track for Nobel Peace Prize 

Afghanistan’s women’s national cycling team have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, according to a report on Total Women’s Cycling. The report states that an Italian group of 118 MPs started a petition to have the women’s cycling team nominated for their “dedication, and hard work promoting cycling in Afghanistan.”

Zahra Hussaini leads the 40-woman cycling team, and all of them ride their bikes despite being harassed and threatened in their Afghan communities. They continue to ride their bikes to promote social change.

The Afghanistan women’s cycling team has worked with LET Media to come out with a short documentary about their program and the stereotypes they are trying to overcome as women in their country.

One rider said, “They say a bicycle can destroy a girl’s future. People say a lot of things. If we listened to them we would never leave our houses.”

LET Media will also produce a longer documentary about the Afghan women’s cycling team, and stated on Total Women’s Cycling, “Shortly after we began interacting with these women and learning more about them, we realized that this wasn’t just a short documentary to profile the National Team.

“To do this story justice, it would have to become a feature length film, focused not just on the National Team, but on the brave female cyclists all over Afghanistan who are pushing gender and cultural barriers using the bicycle as a vehicle for freedom of mobility, independence, and social change.”

Afghan Cycles Trailer (opens in new tab) from LET MEDIA (opens in new tab) on Vimeo (opens in new tab).

Lauren Stephens aims for Olympic selection

Lauren Stephens will use her spring campaign to try and earn a spot on the US national team for the Rio Olympics, according to a Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank press release. The team will kick off their classics calendar at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.

Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank recently completed a team camp in California to prepare for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Gent Wevelgem, along with Women's WorldTour events Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders and Fleche Wallonne.

Stephens isn’t the only one on the team looking for an Olympic spot. In addition, Jo Kiesanowski and Emily Collins are positioned to earn a spot on New Zealand’s Olympic team.

“We want to race and race to win,” said director Ed Beamon, who intends to build the teams ranking on the Women’s WorldTour. “And if we race well we will have a strong ranking.”

Evelyn Stevens will ride in front of a packed house at the newly covered Colorado Springs Velodrome when she attempts to set a new UCI Hour Record Saturday. Tickets for the event sold out six minutes after they went up for sale on USA Cycling's website. The velodrome, which has infield seating only, holds about 200 spectators.

The UCI Hour Record currently stands at 46.882km, set by Australian Bridie O'Donnell in January, but Stevens is hoping to smash that mark on Saturday.

Stevens is the second American woman to make an attempt. Molly Shaffer Van Houweling broke the long-standing record of 46.065km set by Leontien van Moorsel - without aerodynamic gear - in Mexico City in 2003. Van Houweling rode 46.273km over the hour in September 2015 in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Stevens' attempt will be the fourth by a woman since the UCI modernised the rules for the event in 2014, allowing any equipment that is legal for endurance track events. Sarah Storey fell short of breaking Van Moorsel's mark in February 2015. Bradley Wiggins currently holds the men's Hour Record at 54.526km.

You can watch the event live on Cyclingnews Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. (EST).

The Happy Tooth Dental Professional Racing roster announced

The Happy Tooth Dental Professional Racing team announced their 2016 line-up Tuesday, bringing in resources from 2015 Pepper Palace Pro Cycling and BMW Happy Tooth UCI women’s teams, according to a team press release.

Owned by Molly Cameron and directed by Robin Farina, the team’s roster headlines American sprinter Tina Pic, a six-time national criterium champion who has represented the US at six World Championships.

The roster also includes Christina Gokey-Smith, Courteney Lowe, Laura Jorgensen, Jannalyn Luttrell, Ashlyn Woods and Monica Volk.

“I leapt at the opportunity to work with Happy Tooth Dental to build upon their national calibre racing programs in 2016,” said Cameron, who owns Portland Sports Group, the team’s management company.

“Together with our partners we have built a team with winning professional riders, hungry young elite talent and we provide a clear path to develop amateur women through our development program. I can not express enough how honored I am to have Robin Farina directing our team.”

Farina is a founding board member of the Women’s Cycling Association and raced professionally for 13 seasons. She is a former US road champion and last year raced for BMW-Happy Tooth.

“After a long and satisfying road career, I am excited to change gears and direct a dynamic team of women that want to excel on the road and in their professional cycling careers, said Farina, the 2011 US Road race champion. “There is no better time than now for me to be involved in women’s cycling and help grow our sport to a more professional level. I am thrilled about what 2016 will have in store for our new team.”

Happy Tooth Dental Professional Racing team will begin their season at Redlands Bicycle Classic, followed by the USA Cycling Criterium National Championships and then a team camp and media presentation in Chapel Hill, NC.

USA Cycling today announced it has hired Joan Hanscom, former director of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross, as the organisation’s new director of events services.

Hanscom joins USA Cycling as it seeks to transform itself into an innovative, customer-driven organization and substantially expand its support of mountain biking and events like gran fondos and gravel grinders.

The Event Services Department team includes Colorado Springs-based event services coordinators (formerly membership service coordinators), providing customer service, as well as field-based event services regional managers (formerly business development managers), providing on-the-ground support and guidance.

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