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Rally Cycling adds developing talents Kaia Schmid and Makayla MacPherson

LEUVEN BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 25 Silver medalists Kaia Schmid of United States poses on the podium during the medal ceremony after the 94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 Women Junior Road Race a 752km race from Leuven to Leuven flanders2021 on September 25 2021 in Leuven Belgium Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Kaia Schmid (USA) who came second in the Junior road race at the World Championships in 2021 after a tight sprint battle for the victory with winner Zoe Backstedt (Great Britain) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Rally Cycling has added two strong developing talents to its women’s squad for 2022 and 2023, signing 18-year-old Americans Kaia Schmid and Makayla MacPherson.

The pair, who are both making the jump to the elite ranks from the under-19 development squad LUX Cycling, both finished in the top five at the junior road race at this year’s World Championships and at Saturday’s Into the Lion’s Den criterium.

“Both Kaia and Makayla have already shown their strength against the rest of the world at the junior World Championships this year,” women's team director Joanne Kiesanowski said in a statement. “Rally Cycling is so happy for the opportunity not only to invest in the next generation of American cyclists but also to move into the elites with strong and accomplished athletes.

“I have seen both of them show such maturity on and off the bike and I have a lot of confidence in them taking the step up to the elites. We look forward to working with them at their pace and monitor their performances and recovery to make sure they have the time to grow as athletes and individuals."

The US-based Continental team is looking to move up to the top tier of racing, submitting an application for a Women’s WorldTour licence for 2022 and 2023. It has been bolstering its roster in preparation for the move, bringing on experienced WorldTour racers such as German Olympian Mieke Kröger as well as promising young riders from inside and out of the United States.

“As an American team, these two young athletes, Kaia and Makayla, have a safe and good place, with an elite-level opportunity, and amazing support from our team as we look to compete in Europe,” Kiesanowski said.

Schmid, who came second in the junior race at the Road World Championships after a tight sprint battle with eventual winner Zoe Backstedt (Great Britain), also won three junior national track titles in 2021 and the junior world track title in the elimination race.

“I feel like I had a pretty successful junior career, so I’m feeling excited and confident that I’ll be able to make the jump,” Schmid, who describes herself as a climbing sprinter, said. “The race opportunities I will get with Rally Cycling are so important for my development and since it’s an American team, it’ll help with the transition to WorldTour as I’m doing it with people I already know really well.” 

Macpherson, who it the current junior national road champion, said she is looking forward to the “really big learning curve” she will face in 2022.

“I’m beyond excited,” MacPherson said from Milligan University, Tennessee, where she is studying nursing. “I’m looking forward to learning how to work in a professional team and seeing how Rally Cycling can help with my development so that two, three years down the road I can reach my full potential.”