Simone Boilard, who won the bronze medal in the junior women's road race at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships last month, will turn professional with the Twenty20 Pro Cycling team in 2019, the team has announced.
The 18-year-old Canadian took third place at the Worlds road race in Innsbruck, Austria, on September 27 behind new junior world champion Laura Stigger of Austria and France's Marie Le Net, and Boilard also took fifth place in the junior women's time trial.
Boilard, from Quebec, is also the current junior women's individual pursuit national champion, although the 2018 season is Boilard's last in the junior ranks. With no under-23 category in women's racing, she was hopeful off the back of her Worlds bronze medal of finding a women's team with whom she could turn pro next season.
The call came in the shape of Twenty20, who, since the team's inception in 2005 – when they were known as Twenty12 – have supported young women in the build-up to the Olympic Games, both on the road and the track.
The current team includes Chloé Dygert, who won both the junior women's road race and time trial World Championship titles in 2015, and is a five-time world champion on the track, having won the team pursuit with the USA team for the past three years and the individual pursuit in 2017 and 2018.
It's also home to 23-year-old American Jennifer Valente, who has also been part of the successful US team pursuit squad at the past two world championships, and, with Dygert, was part of the team pursuit team that won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"I'm very happy to be included on the Twenty20 roster," Boilard said in a team press release. "I believe I share the same values as the team, which is always looking for excellence and hard work in both sport and academic domains.
"I chose the Twenty20 programme because I believe that it provides a great learning environment for me. Providing great mentors and role models inspires an ideal environment for women cyclists. Their knowledge will help me reach the highest level of cycling by giving me the opportunity to do a progressive transition from junior to elite," she said.
Twenty20 general manager Nicola Cranmer is certain that Boilard will be a perfect fit for the team.
"While Simone is only 18, she has been competitive since age three. She is very mature for her age and will easily transition into the professional ranks," said Cranmer.
"She fits the mission of the team in both high performance and development. She has the same drive that both Dygert and Valente had at age 18. I am thrilled to be working with her.
"We will script a balanced season for her so she can remain focused on her education as well as developing as an elite athlete," Cranmer said.
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