The Exergy Twenty12 women's squad today announced a revamped 16-woman roster led by Olympic gold medalist and former double world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong.
General Manager Nicola Cranmer will register the predominantly American team with the UCI, and along with Armstrong it will include Kaitlin Antonneau, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Jackie Crowell, Andrea Dvorak, Cari Higgins, Kristin McGrath, Greta Neimanas, Jessica Phillips, Coryn Rivera, Lauren Tamayo, Alison Tetrick Starnes and Tayler Wiles. International riders include Canadians Rhae Christie Shaw and Heather Logan-Sprenger along with Switzerland's Pascale Schnider.
Cranmer confirmed that Exergy Twenty12, known this year as Peanut Butter & Co/Twenty12, will seek a UCI license and focus its attention on the select UCI-sanctioned events in the US along with the National Racing Calendar (NRC). In addition, the team's primary goal is to supports its riders in their individual quests to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics Games in London.
"Our ambitions are much the same as they have been the past, to continue to develop the next generation of young US athletes and to also support the elite athletes in their goals," Cranmer said. "The long list for the Olympics, I believe, will be released December 31 and we are hoping to have at least four American riders on this list and two international riders on their respective lists. Most of the elite riders will race on their respective national programs, which we always support and encourage."
The team has signed a new title sponsor, the Exergy Development Group, a Boise-based renewable energy company. CEO of Exergy Development Group, James Carkulis' decision to sponsor a professional women's team is the company's latest investment in the sport of cycling.
His company currently supports a men's UCI-Continental program, Exergy Pro Cycling, and also title sponsors the national US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross (USGP) series. The men's and women's programs are separate from one another and Cranmer noted the enthusiasm of Carkulis and Vice President Elizabeth Woolstenhulme in their recent support of women's cycling.
"James approached me during the Exergy men's presentation back in early 2010," Armstrong told Cyclingnews. "He said he liked what we were doing with women's development in cycling and to let him know if he could help. After sponsoring a men's team, I knew that he really meant what he said. I wanted to make sure that team Twenty12 was moving in the direction Nicola and I set out for before contacting James. After two years of hard work with Nicola and the team, and a very clear plan, I decided to give James a call and ask for help. The rest is history."
"Exergy Development Group is going to be game changers for women's racing, not just for our team but they will also pay special attention to races and prize money," Cranmer said. "There are a lot of talkers in this industry it's so apparent with all the tweets and blogs about women's teams and races, but Exergy Development Group really do walk their talk and we are very proud to represent them."
The additional financial support from Exergy Development Group has allowed the team to expand on its existing Junior Elite team. Those riders include Jennifer Valente, Tara McCormick, Kayla Sterling, Sarah Huang, Maddy Tuggle and Veronica Church.
"We have bolstered our junior development program identifying five 17-18-year-old national and junior world championship medal capable athletes, this is a very important aspect of the program that we had not focused on this year," Cranmer said. "These young athletes are some of the best in the US and include a current junior world champion and multiple national champions. A solid mentoring system will be in place for these riders on and off the bike."
Kirsten Frattini has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level all the way to the World Cup. She is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. Kirsten has worked in both print and digital publishing. She started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006, and was responsible for reporting from the US and Canadian racing scene. Now as a Production Editor, she produces international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits global news and writes features.
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