Rocky Mountain Chocolate Durango Devo Sweet Elite team announced

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite mountain bike team is heading into its second season with another strong line-up. The development team, based in Durango, Colorado, will focus on regional events, some national-level events and the Windham World Cup.

Four riders are new to the team including Sarah Sturm, Lauren Catlin. Payson McElveen and Sepp Kuss. Tad Elliot and Colton Anderson are both returning members.

In its short history, the team has claimed several national championship titles thanks to Howard Grotts, Alicia Rose Pastore, Tad Elliot, Sage Wilderman and Teal Stetson-Lee. Sturm is also the current collegiate short track national champion while Caitlin is the current collegiate cross country national champion.

Chad Cheeney, also the manager of the Durango Devo (non-elite) program, is taking over as manager of the team for 2012. "Last year I was busy with the other Devo stuff, but I helped with the idea to have this team back in the day. Durango Devo was seven years old and our under 19 members started graduating from our program and they had nowhere to go, so we created this elite team. This year I'm pumped to be more involved."

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite was formed in 2011 with a goal of promoting and supporting riders age 17-25 that are prepared to move to the next level of race competition. The team focuses on providing riders coaching, management, equipment, and funding to travel and compete at a regional and national level. The Sweet Elite is an extension of the successful Durango Devo Youth Cycling Program that provides riders age 5-19 structured after school riding programs with an emphasis on creating life long cyclists.

To be a member of the Durango Devo Sweet Elite Team, you have to be a non-elite Devo program graduate, be a college student at Durango's Fort Lewis College or be a Durango local.

Speaking of the squad's schedule for 2012, Cheeney said, "We're not really targeting any series. We're staying mostly within the Rocky Mountain Region. We'll go to the Colorado Springs and Missoula US Pro XCTs, and we'll go to the Windham World Cup. We'll do Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho - that's our number one race. We hope to also send riders to Worlds." He also mentioned targeting events like the 12 hours of Mesa Verde, the Ironhorse Classic, the Teva Games and the Whiskey 50.

2012 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite Team Roster
Tad Elliot (elite man)
Colton Anderson (elite man)
Sarah Sturm - (Cat. 1 / elite woman)
Lauren Catlin (U23 woman)
Payson McElveen (U23 man)
Sepp Kuss (Junior man)

Team Steering Committee
Ned Overend - Former World and National Mountain Bike Champion
Chris Wherry - Former US Pro Champion
Sarah Tescher - Director of Durango Devo
John Glover - Manager of Mountain Bike Specialists
Gaige Sippy - Director of Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.