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Building success in the women's peloton

The growth of women's cycling in North America has been tremendous in recent years, and the success is due in part to the US Women's Cycling Development Program (USWCDP), which was founded by Michael Engleman in 2006. Engleman, a former world-class cyclist for Coors Light and former director of T-Mobile has been the face of women cycling development for over a decade. Cyclingnews' reporter Kirsten Robbins talked to Engleman to find out how the USWCDP's growth became so rabid over the previous year.

In just two year's the USWCDP has flourished beyond anyone's imagination, as witnessed by the quality of racing in the recent Redlands Bicycling Classic. On every stage there were several riders that have come out of Engleman's development program in the top ten and on the podium. The riders can easily be picked out in their black USWCDP hats in support of the program.

Mara Abbott, Katherine Carroll and Katheryn Curi are three of the women who had success at Redlands. Abbott and Curi are teammates racing for Webcor-Builders and finished on the podium of several stages of the race, along with second and third placed overall. Aaron's new rider Katherine Carroll finished fifth place in the five-kilometer prologue after racing in her second season as a professional rider.

The USWCDP main goals are to scout and develop talent, answer questions and provide a network for female cyclist to grow. While the program is not involved with the US national team, its ultimate goal for riders sign contracts with professional teams or to be funneled into the national team ranks. "I spend all year on the road looking for the talent," Engleman said. "We accept resumes too. What we also do is match a rider with a team based largely on their talent and personality because it is important for a rider to fit into a team well."

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