Kristin Armstrong will bring her world-class expertise to the California-based Proman-Hitsquad women’s cycling team in 2010. The Olympic Games gold medallist and former UCI World Time Trial Champion, who currently rides for Cervelo Test Team, announced that she would retire from bike racing after next month’s International Cycling Union World Road Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
Team manager Nicola Cranmer said Armstrong’s involvement will provide the team with more sponsorship opportunities. “Kristin's exact role will be determined over the next few weeks," said Cranmer. “She’s really excited and I couldn’t be happier. She has a lot of energy and a lot to offer. She brings a level of experience and professionalism that is unmatched.
“She is so dedicated to developing women’s cycling and our focus on the junior program was really attractive to her,” she added. “Her focus is on the World Championships at the end of the season and she felt that now is the time to give back.”
The start of Armstrong’s next endeavor is aimed at helping develop women’s cycling in North America. She recently launched the Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy, based in her home city of Boise, Idaho, designed to develop junior level cyclists aged 15-18 within the United States of America.
“She really wants to share her knowledge with junior riders,” said Cranmer. “She mentored our team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix this year where we had a small, young team. She looked further at our program and called me to say she really wanted to work without us. Kristin is just exactly what we needed. The program will be development-based, but we will also have some key elite riders too.”
The Proman-Hitsquad Professional Cycling Team began in 2006 under Cranmer’s direction. Recently it has placed an emphasis on the development young American riders.
Coryn Rivera is an example of several junior athletes that have benefitted from the team’s guidance over the past three years. Rivera, 16, is a 24-time US national champion who has displayed her versatility in road, cyclo-cross and track. Rivera has enjoyed a break-out year, winning races at the elite/professional level in Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, San Rafael Twilight and the Cascade Cycling Classic stage four criterium.
“Last year we decided to have a junior program and it added a lot of depth to our team,” said Cranmer. “Kristin is a mentor to Coryn. It’s fun to work with the juniors and there really aren’t many opportunities for them in the professional peloton.
“People like Rivera and [Ruth] Winder, we put them in with the pros and they really excel,” she added. “You’re really only as good as your opponents are so it’s giving them an opportunity.”
Shelley Olds joined the team in its inaugural season and is an example of the team’s efforts in developing elite riders. This year Olds sprang on to the National Racing Calendar (NRC) circuit as a top American sprinter, winning the Tulsa Tough omnium followed by a podium finish in Philadelphia’s famed Liberty Classic in June. Olds’ achievements earned her a spot on the US National Team to participate in the Giro d’ Italia femminile, where she went on to place second on stage eight.
While there will continue to be a focus on the development of young talents, the 2010 roster will be bolstered by the addition of four to five elite American riders. Those riders will be determined at a later date.
“The riders we are looking at have Olympic potential,” said Cranmer. “That’s really important for us because even though our team has been very small, we’ve been developing a model to take riders like Olds and [Rachel] Lloyd who have Olympic potential and give them a little more personal attention and flexibility to do national team projects. We are not just chasing NRC points but really trying to develop champions.”
The 2009 roster included elite riders Olds along with Carri Higgins, Rachel Lloyd, Lorraine Jarvis, Rachel Neylan, Christen King and Hanan Alves-Hyde. Development riders include Rivera, Winder and junior riders Christina Yglesias, Nikka Van Den Dries and Claire Jensen.
The team’s 2010 roster is expected to be released soon.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.