Another looks at the 2013 season with an analysis of last years BAT standings and how the teams are shaping up for the coming season.
1 Pinnacle Training Systems pb Argon 18 (formerly) Stevens Bikes p/b Pactimo 1074
In their first year Stevens made their presence known. The riders showed up for what seemed like every race, and raced to win. Team manager Bill Nicely has plenty of detractors but his first year outfit won a lot of NCNCA races and enabled a few guest rides for up and coming big shots, like Loren Rowney, at west coast events like Cascade. In 2013 Nicely has cleverly hooked his team up with Felicia Gomez, a coach, pro director, and pro rider who can act as a mentor to women making the jump from local to national level racing. The whole squad is capable of winning any particular race but Amy Thornquist looked to be one of the next NorCal riders that could move up a level if she chose . The craziest part is the hardest woman in NorCal, Jane Despas, is riding in Pinnacle colors.
2 Metromint Cycling 1070
The “Dots” always do well under Molly Van Houwelling, whose TT abilities make her a contender for any local event. The leadership that MVH, Robertson, and other women on the team provide attracts talent from across the bay year after year. Reikke Preisler and Laurie Furman came on strong in 2012 and will add a lot of depth to the team in 2013. Mary Ellen Ash is rejoining the squad after spending the year on Stevens and despite living in SoCal, where she withers every day, Lisa Mueller managed a strong race in Arizona at the Valley of the Sun stage race, picking up a second place finish in the crit. My pick for breakout star of the year, if she is training and not working or studying or something, is Julie Bellerose. Bellerose is still relatively unknown on the west coast but looks to have a big engine. If these women don’t let their PhD’s and day jobs get in the way of bike racing they might come out way on top this year in the BAT standings.
3 Touchstone Climbing 686
Gone! Another NorCal institution bites the dust. Touchstone launched a lot of women riders and their memory should not be forgotten! Some of the team (Axell, Neilsen) has found a home on Freemont Bank Cycling Team. The Fremont Bank Cycling Team should play a factor this season since they have picked up a few younger riders like Heather Ross and former junior national champion Jerika Hutchinson. An infographic tracing the evolutions of the major area teams would be helpful when mapping out who is who.
4 Team TIBCO II 415
This collection of juniors and Cat 3/4 riders is a bit of a mystery to me. Several of the juniors were top notch, national championships and everything, but they mostly raced out of state. Locally TIBCO II has brought up some interesting riders like Heather Ross and Adrienne Belliveau who both had good results in 2012. I expect there will be a few breakout riders in any TIBCO II cohort, who it is hard to say when their time will come. The concept behind TIBCO II, which I interpret to be, providing juniors and developing riders infrastructure and exposure to elite riders and races, seems like an important one for any team that wants to succeed long term in this “club” driven sport.
5 Los Gatos 308
Los Gatos keeps on trucking. They’ve been around so long at this point they need a name like the Los Gatos Lions, or the Los Gatos Armadillos. Something like how the Aussies call themselves the “Cyclones.” The current roster isn’t very deep but Lucia Mokres has signed on again, and she’s one hard nut. With out many teammates, and nothing to loose, Mokres will be a threat to any break she can sneak into.
If there is any team that can challenge the NorCal hegemony of Pinnacle/Argon it’s gonna be Folsom Bikes. Folsom and Pinnacle will be working out some grudges, which I have yet to fully grasp, that only a season of first class racing can cure. Marley Smith, Susannah Breen, Chandos, Strouts, and the rider with the best name in the women’s peloton, Sunshine Townsend, all spent a lot of time on the podium last year and want to make their new venture a success. It’s good to have rivalries, this could be a biggie in the making.
Since NorCal fields about half of the women’s Pro peloton you never know when the big shots might show up. NOW-Novartis always sends Dillon & Newell to a few events. With Maura Kinsella joining them they might have enough to ride in the carpool lane at rush hour on their way to Hellyer. Ali Tetrick had a convincing win at VOS, so if she can stay upright for a whole year I think she will lead Exergy 2016 to victory in any race she shows up for in NorCal. Ruth Winder has picked up Kachoreck and Rachetto, which will give Winder some real lead out power in any sprint finish. Kachoreck and Rachetto, are battle hardened pros, with titanium bones, so they will likely pick up a few local wins before they hit the road for the money races around the country.
I think writing about TIBCO II made me forget about TIBCO. First of all I hope that Linda Jackson and Nicole Justice both have quick recoveries from their recent accidents. While former NorCal rider Shelley Olds is one TIBCO’s leaders, she resides in Europe now, so she won’t likely be back much during the year. TIBCO used to show up for some of the early season races like Merco, Snelling, etc, but with their renewed focus on the European theater, that looks a little less likely. Lindsay Myers should be around for some races through out the year and she was killing it in the early season last year. It would be fun to watch Myers crank it up another level over the next year or two.
The NorCal Aussie/NZ contingent has been diminished a little this year.Loren Rowney will be spending most of her time in Europe this year while most of the others;Jazzy, Wombat, Collins, Bridie, have opted for UCI or Aussie winter teams.
I’m sure I’ve missed some good teams and riders so throw them in the comments and I’ll be sure to follow up down the road.
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