An eight-rider roster was announced today for the Canyon-SRAM Generation team, a new UCI Continental squad that is part of the Diversity and Inclusion programme for Women’s WorldTour Canyon-SRAM Racing.
Ricarda Bauernfeind, who earned a bronze medal in the German road nationals as a 21-year-old, and Antonia Niedermaier, who has a background in competitive ski mountaineering, are the two German riders named to the squad. Olivia Shililifa is the current U23 road race champion of Namibia, and also has mountain bike racing experience.
Four other nations are represented in the diverse German-registered squad: Fatima Deborah Conteh of Sierra Leone, Valentine Nzayisenga of Rwanda, Siti Nur Alia Mansor of Malaysia, Lioi Sharpe of Jamaica.
Canyon-SRAM Racing opened rider applications in September of last year and received 239 applications from interested riders from 62 countries.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of applications from so many different nations, from all continents, through a wide variety of ages, and from all different backgrounds,” said Christine Kalkschmid, the team’s consultant for diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Nzayisenga is one of the veterans at just 21 years of age. She won her country’s road race title in 2019, then followed last year with a pair of silver medals in Team Time Trials (women’s and mixed relay) at the African Continental Championships.
Sharpe took the bronze medal in the time trial and was fifth in the road race at last year’s Caribbean Cycling Championships. Conteh had a podium finish at her nation’s road championships last year, and Alia Mansor earned multiple titles in track racing.
One of the few women’s professional teams with a two-tier structure in place to offer a channel for development, Canyon-SRAM launched the squad to also support riders from nations currently underrepresented in the women’s peloton and who share values of the team.
“As the development team is part of the CANYON//SRAM Racing’s D&I program, we did not only want to ensure applications from promising riders from a performance point of view, we also wanted to make sure that we create a new team of ambassadors for Diversity and Inclusion,” Kalkschmid added. “We requested information about performance data and previous successes of the applicants but also about their values and goals and how they think they can contribute to the team’s success.”
A distinct dark blue jersey with mint green diamonds on the shoulders and sleeves will be worn by riders for the Canyon-SRAM Generation team. A similar ‘Astral Burn’ design theme, which is part of the newly-unveiled jerseys for the WorldTour parent team, was incorporated into a darker background by designer Ultan Coyle and created by apparel provider Canyon.
Canyon-SRAM Generation will race on Canyon WMN Ultimate CF SLX Disc bikes equipped with SRAM RED eTap AXS and Zipp wheels.
“Making it as a professional cyclist is never easy, and it’s almost impossible for riders who don’t have access to the support networks they need. Through the CANYON//SRAM Generation team, we look to help change that by identifying and nourishing new female racing talent to achieve its full potential from across the globe. I cannot wait to see what they achieve,” said Roman Arnold, founder of Canyon Bicycles.
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