Rally Cycling strengthened their women's program after adding legendary sprinter Ina Teutenberg as a co-director for the 2018 season. Teutenberg joins current director Zach Bell in leading the team at select events throughout the year.
"Jonas [Carney] has approached me over the years and I wasn't ready," Teutenberg said. "Zach has been doing a great job with the women's team, and Jonas asked if I would be willing to do some schedule with the team this year, just to step in and out. I'll step in to give Zach a break here and there. I'm not doing a full season, but some events.
"I think Zach is doing a really good job and he has more experience directing than I do. He is a super nice guy and we will be good together."
The team hired Zach Bell as the women's director in 2016, under the title sponsorship Optum. The Canadian Olympian stopped racing at the end of the 2014 season after nearly a decade of top-level competition. He noted the importance of including Teutenberg in the team's set up for this season.
"She comes with a huge body of racing instinct which she is very good at articulating in a simple straightforward way. She balances that enormous and prestigious race history with a personality that helps the young riders see that they don't need to be defined by the sport and put so much pressure on themselves. But they can still hold themselves very accountable to their own performances in order to improve. Those things can be hard to separate as a young athlete without a role model like Ina helping you navigate that separation.
"She is a great role model who is still excited about good racing. When you have a legendary role model excited about how you are racing it is a huge confidence builder to have that meaningful energy in your corner as an athlete."
Teutenberg began her position with the team at last weekend's Chico Stage Race, where her experience and knowledge of professional bike racing proved invaluable. The four-stage race started on Friday at the Thunderhill Circuit Race, where Rally Cycling's Summer Moak won the bunch sprint and took the early leader's jersey. Sara Bergen won Chico's Paskenta Road Race on Saturday and Moak was second.
The racing continued with the River Road Time Trial on Sunday morning, where Twenty20 p/b Sho-Air's Allie Dragoo took the win and the race lead, Bergen was third and Moak fifth. Katherine Maine won the downtown criterium on Sunday afternoon to close out the four-stage race, but it wasn't enough to take the overall win away from Dragoo.
"The team did a great job, the young riders were good," Teutenberg said. "We didn't get the GC but overall we did well.
"It was a good experience for me to get back into it. It was nice to see how they work together and how the whole team is doing. I was just on the side, doing what needs to be done to help Zach."
Teutenberg will next join the team at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, but the rest of her schedule depends largely on where the team receives invitations. "It's good for me to do a little bit and then go home and have time at home, and not be on the road too much."
Teutenberg retired from professional bike racing in 2013 after winning over 200 races during her 12-year pro career. She competed for teams Specialized-lululemon, HTC-Highroad, T-Mobile and Saturn Pro Cycling.
She won 21 stages of Tour de l'Aude, six stage wins in Route de France, 11 stage wins of Giro d'Italia Femminile, four Liberty Classic Philadelphia titles and a win in the women's edition of the Tour of Flanders.
During 2016, Teutenberg took on a temporary directing role with USA Cycling, guiding the junior women's and men's program overseas, where she worked with young talents Chloe Dygert and Emma White.
She is currently living in San Luis Obispo, California, and after recently completing a massage therapy certificate program, is setting up her own business in the area.
"It was good to go to school and be totally away from cycling for a while. After getting my certificate, I'm establishing a business. It will be set up in San Luis Obispo. I have a good set up to work out of home."