A pared down UnitedHealthcare pro women’s team will return just four riders from the 2016 team, as the roster is whittled down from 13 this year to 10 next season.
"I’m excited about the roster we’ve put together,” said retruning director Rachel Heal. “Like the men’s team, it's a great mix of youth and experience. We will be focusing on all the big races in the US next season as well as a selection of international stage races."
The team will look to Katie Hall, a four-year veteran of the US team, to carry the banner in the stage races next year. Hall had a breakout season this year, winning a stage, the Mountains Jersey and the general classification at the Tour Femenino de San Luis in Argentina in January.
She followed her San Luis success with a second place finish during stage 1 at the Tour of the Gila and the mountains classification win at the Aviva Women’s Tour in Great Britain.
"I will focus on the GC next year, both in American stage races and abroad," Hall said. "It's great to be back on the team with the knowledge that I will have so much support. Being here allows me to really focus on my performance. I am looking forward to another season as part of the UnitedHealthcare team."
Buchanan rode the 2016 season as a triple New Zealand national champion [criterium, road race and time trial], while Peñuela was an integral part of the team’s lead out train and will be a key asset in bunch sprints again in 2017. Morelli returned from the Rio Paralympic Games with two gold medals and a Paralympic Record.
Wiles and Hall are the key new additions for 2017.
Coming from Orica-AIS, Wiles, 27, is a strong time trialist and savvy road racer. In 2016, Wiles placed third in the individual time trial at the Energiewacht Tour and then followed that with podiums on stages of the Tour de Feminin in the Czech Republic and La Route de France. Wiles road for Specialized-lululemon and Velocio-SRAM before moving to Orica last year.
"My big focus for 2017 will be time trialing and stage racing in the US as well as in Europe" Wiles said. "I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to be a leader on the team and to work with such an incredible group of women. UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling is a very well supported program and I'm excited to see the gains I can make for the team in 2017."
Hall, 37, is a wily sprinter who won Gent-Wevelgem with the US National Team in 2014. She comes to the team from one season with Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank. Before that she raced with Twenty16-ShoAir and Optum.
The experienced American spent the past three years racing a mixed calendar of the American races and select international events. A one-day specialist, Hall has a strong finishing kick and an ability to make select groups that form at the end of long races.
UnitedHealthcare 2017 roster:
Returning: Rushlee Buchanan, Katie Hall, Diana Penuela, Shawn Morelli
New for 2017: Janelle Cole, Lauren Hall, Lauretta Hansen, Kate Sherwin, Tayler Wiles, Ruth Winder
Not Returning: Laura Brown, Annie Ewart, Cai Higgins, Abbey Mickey, Laurel Rathburn, Iris Slappendel, Lauren Tamayo, Linda Villumsen
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