The American women’s cycling team Twenty16 have returned to the UCI ranks after a one-year hiatus and have secured Sho-Air as a sponsor. New signings Carmen Small and Lauren Hall will lead the Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air squad in a race program largely focussed on domestic events and preparing their riders for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"Scott Tedro and his Sho-Air brand have been synonymous with the growth and success of mountain biking in the US and our partnership transfers his expertise to the development of women's road cycling," said Twenty16 General Manager, Nicola Cranmer, "As both an entrepreneur and investor, Scott will work with us to grow the sport, increase UCI women's races and promote expanded media coverage."
Sho-Air International is a transportation and asset management company based in California and sponsors the US-based professional mountain bike team, Sho-Air/Cannondale. In a team statement, Sho-Air International CEO Scott Tedro said that he was a fan of both road and mountain biking, and has been waiting for the right opportunity to show support for the road side of the sport.
"I am doubly excited to be involved in sponsoring a woman’s team as they are all too often over-looked. My wife Kimber and I met Mari, Nicola and Kristin at a charity event and it was apparent to us all immediately that we should be working together," Tedro said. "Their program is amazing. It hits all of the community, youth and professional targets that are important to us and we are looking forward to a long lasting relationship."
Cranmer founded the team in 2005 as ProMan Hit squad but renamed the team Twenty12 in 2009 with a focus of preparing riders for the 2012 Olympics in London. They also brought on Exergy as a title sponsor and acquired UCI status. In 2013, the team was rebranded as Exergy Twenty16 with a focus on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, however, Exergy’s commitment to the team ended that year.
The team stepped down from the UCI ranks in 2014 but continued as an elite women’s program and raced many of the events on the domestic circuit.
In 2015, Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air is one of five UCI teams registered in the US alongside Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, UnitedHealthcare, Team Tibco-SVB and newcomer Pepper Palace Pro Cycling presented by The Happy Tooth.
Olympic gold medallist and former world champion Kristin Armstrong will continue on as the team's high performance director but will take on a more behind-the-scene role, while Mari Holden will direct the team on the road.
"We are thrilled to have Sho-Air as a new sponsor. The partnership we have cultivated with Sho-Air has already become a cornerstone of our program. I can’t say enough about Scott and Kimber, their passion, drive and generosity towards our sport is tremendous," Armstrong said.
Small and Hall add strength and experience to American squad
Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air has signed on two powerhouse riders in Carmen Small, who comes from Specialized-lululemon, and Lauren Hall, who raced with Optum Pro Cycling.
Small is a two-time world champion in the team time trial (2013 and 2014) as a member of Specialized-lululemon. She is also a former US national time trial champion and secured the bronze medal in the individual time trial at Worlds, both in 2013. Last year, she won the overall title at the North Star Grand Prix, won the circuit race at the Amgen Tour of California and placed second in the time trial at the US national championships.
Hall's 2014 season highlights include a win at Gent Wevelgem and third at the Philly Cycling Classic. She has also won stages of the Tour of the Gila, Nature Valley Grand Prix and was fourth in the team time trial at Worlds with Optum Pro Cycling.
The nine-woman roster was listed on the team's website and also includes Andrea Dvorak, Lauren Komanski, Jess Cerra, Katie Antonneau, Allie Dragoo, Allison Jackson and Alison Arensman.
In addition, the Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air will continue to work closely with USA Cycling and the women’s national team program directed by Jack Seehafer. It will also support the track team, two Para-athletes, a junior development team and new for 2015 is a junior scholarship program.