The owner of US-registered Rally Cycling Women’s team has confirmed in an interview with VeloNews and a statement on the team website that they intend to apply for a UCI Women’s World Tour license for the squad for 2022 and 2023.
“We’ve grown every year since 2007 and this is the next step,” team managing director Charles Aaron said. “This has been the goal since the formation of the women’s WorldTour.”
Rally introduced their women’s team in 2012 as Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies before becoming Rally Cycling Women in 2016. The squad are currently at the second-tier Continental level meaning they are only invited to certain Women’s WorldTour races.
In previous seasons their programme has focused mainly on North America, however this season the team have been a regular feature of European Women’s WorldTour races such as La Course and Vuelta a Burgos as well as 1.1 level races like the Navarra Classics.
As part of becoming a Women’s WorldTeam Rally will be automatically invited to WorldTour races. They will also be bound to the UCI requirements for Women’s WorldTeams including a minimum salary, paid holiday, and maternity support amongst other financial requirements.
The current roster consists of Madeline Bemis, Holly Breck, Katie Clouse, Kristabel Doebel-Hickok, Heidi Franz, Leigh Ann Ganzar, Clara Koppenburg, Poidevin, Olivia Ray, Emma White, and Lily Williams. There are currently no riders officially signed to the team for the 2022 season.
Team manager Jonas Carney said: “Our team is growing. It’s an exciting time for women’s cycling and upgrading to women’s WorldTour is the next logical step.”
The team recently raced the Giro d’Italia Donne but faced a series of bad luck including Clara Koppenburg and Krista Doebel Hicock leaving the race with injuries, Holly Breck missing the time cut in the individual time trial, and an incident in which Heidi Franz claimed to have suffered bullying in the grupetto.
Rally are not the only American team to state their intention to apply for WWT status for 2022 and beyond. Team Tibco-SVB also revealed last month that they will be applying for Women’s WorldTeam status for next season after a sponsorship boost. As part of their Agenda 2022 the UCI is hoping to reach a figure of 15 Women’s WorldTeams for next season. Currently, there are nine WWT teams: SD Worx, Trek-Segafredo, Canyon-SRAM, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, Liv Racing, Movistar, BikeExchange, Team DSM, and Alé BTC Ljubljana.
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