Sho-Air Twenty20 has moved to bolster its roster ahead of the US pro championships with the addition of track specialist and sprinter Jennifer Valente and the return of Allie Dragoo, who raced the first part of the season in Europe with Cervelo Bigla.
"We have added two gifted athletes to our National Championship squad for next week," said Sho-Air Twenty20 Director Mari Holden. "I have been watching Jenn Valente since her years as a junior in San Diego. I'm thrilled that she will be returning to the team to race with us on the road. Her track power and speed will add incredible depth to our squad. She will really benefit from some road endurance over the next few years on her journey to Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It was a big surprise to have Allie decide to come back to our team. We welcome her with open arms and I am excited for the opportunity to work with her again."
On the team Twitter page, Cervelo Bigla said Dragoo left the team because of a desire to be closer to home.
"I am excited to finish the 2017 season with Sho-Air Twenty20," Dragoo said. "I cannot thank Nicola and staff enough for taking me on board and being 100 percent supportive. I am thrilled to share some of road experience with this squad and look forward to the races ahead. Being close to home makes my heart happy and a happy heart makes a happy person, athlete, and adds to my overall performance.
"A special thank you to Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling team and staff for having me for the first part of the 2017 season," Dragoo added. "The program, team and staff were all amazing and I am very grateful for the experience I had with them."
Valente won a gold medal at the UCI Track World Champions this spring, along with a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2016 Rio Games.
Sierra sweeps Cuban championships
Amgen Women's Race revelation Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women's Team) swept the national championships in Cuba over the weekend, wining both the individual time trial and road race titles after earning silver medals in 2014 and 2015.
The 24-year-old grabbed the spotlight last month in California in the Amgen race, taking three top-five finishes in four stages and finishing on the overall podium in third. Sierra also won the points jersey and was the best young rider.
After the podium at Amgen Women's Race, Sierra returned to Cuba, where she participated at Copa Cuba de Pista, winning both Points Race and Madison (together with Jeidy Pradera). She then started training ahead of the her first participation to the Giro Rosa.
"Before the ITT I did a 10-day cycle of training, and I felt a bit tired so I wasn't sure to take the start," she said. "I took a decision at last minute and the victory came a bit by surprise, but it means I did a good job. I'm very proud to have the possibility to bring Cuba flag on my jersey around the world and represent my country on the most prestigious races."
Lepistö wins 4th consecutive Finish TT and road titles
Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) took her her fourth consecutive Finish national time trial and road titles last week. The Gent-Wevelgem winner rode the 23km time trial course in a time of 33:45, eight seconds faster than her nearest rival.
“The race was really hilly here in the north with almost 400m of climbing,” she said. “It’s always nice to win. It always means something to win the national title. I feel like I can’t ride without my flag, I am very proud. I’ve been a little sick so the preparation wasn’t perfect coming into the race. Last week I did a race with the men here in Finland, the oldest race here. Then I did good training so the signs are that the form is improving now finally after illness.”
Lepisto followed her time trial the next day with a win in the road race, also her fourth consecutive championship.
Tibco's Bruderer takes Guatemalan TT championship
"It is a dream come true to be Guatemalan National Champion," Bruderer said. "Wearing my national colors is a very special feeling. It makes all the time being away from home very worthwhile. My thanks must go to Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank for believing in me in 2017 and giving me the opportunity to chase my dreams."
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