Colavita Forno D'Asolo will make its debut with a nine-woman squad at the San Dimas Stage Race held from March 25-27 in California. The team met for a ten-day training camp last week to get to know one another, meet the sponsors and log in some extended hours on the bike, just prior to the season opener.
"Everyone got along really well," said directeur sportif Rachel Heal."There are no stresses, no dramas and the new riders have blended and fit straight into the team. We have a lot of different characters but they all get along really well and it shows on and off the bike."
Last year, the team Colavita-Baci won the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series team classification along with the best rider competition with New Zealander Cath Cheatley. This year, it merged with Italian women's team ASC Chirio Forno D'Asolo and was newly named Colavita-Forno D'Asolo Pro Cycling, retaining its Italy-registered license with the International Cycling Union (UCI).
The international roster is a total of 19 riders including current UCI Elite Road World Champion Georgia Bronzini from Italy. The domestic-side of the team includes Cheatley, Kelly Benjamin, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Andrea Dvorak, Lauren Hall, Janel Holcomb, Leah Kirchmann, Heather Logan-Sprenger and Kristin Sanders.
The nine riders met for an opening training camp held at the Club Circle Resort in Borrego Springs, California and will be competing this weekend at the San Dimas Stage Race followed by the NRC kick off Redlands Bicycle Classic held the following weekend.
"The first reason was to try and get all the riders together to get to know each other because we have four new riders," Heal said. "We also wanted to get some good training in together. I decided to make the camp longer than it has been the previous years which allowed the camp to be more relaxed and we didn't have to cram everything into a couple of days. We had time to meet the sponsors, do some good training and have the riders get to know each other in a relaxed environment.
"These first two races have strong fields and they are going to be really good races," she said. "I'm confident going into them that a lot of our riders are going really well and they are keen to get racing. I'm optimistic they can get some good results."
The team will compete in many of the NRC stage race and one day events including the Redlands Bicycle Classic, USA Crits Speed Week, SRAM Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race, Liberty Classic, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Cascade Cycling Classic.
"With the changes that they have made to the NRC scoring this year, we are going to be going to the races to focus on that race itself," Heal said. "The NRC ranking is done on the top three riders at each race. We didn't start out last year focused on winning the NRC, we set out to do as well as we possibly could in each race that we went to.
"Our focus is for the team to perform as well as we can at each race and then the NRC is more in the background," she added. "It is important, good for the team and the sponsors, but we are not sacrificing individual races for the NRC."
Two Italians, Bronzini and Barbara Guarischi will join the team Stateside for a series events that include Chrono Gatineau, Grand Prix cycliste de Gatineau, Tour of Somerville, Liberty Classic and Nature Valley Grand Prix.
In addition, some of the domestic riders will travel overseas to join their European counterpart for events Tour of Flanders, La Fleche Wallone Feminine, Ronde Van Drenthe, Giro del Trentino, Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, Trophee d'Or Feminin, Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l'Ardeche and Giro Toscana Int. Femminile.