The annual team review by the numbers is back. The rankings below include several women’s teams that will vie for the top spot in 2014. This year we’ve included the 2013 Premier Series standings to help account for larger teams that will field a full roster throughout the long NorCal season. Teamwork and smart racing will be the single distinguishing feature at the end of the 2014 season.
Folsom Bike/Cervelo Womens Racing (181/825)*
Last year we predicted Folsom would come out swinging and they certainly made a huge impression in their first season. With the return of Marley Smith, Susannah Breen, the addition of Heather Van Sickle the team has some veteran horsepower to reply on. With promising developing riders like Claire Morgan and Diane Moug, Folsom will be in contention for the top spot in NCNCA. Some say this team is nibbling at the edges of greatness, while others say this is the team to beat.
Metromint Cycling (266/1548)
The always consistent and top-performing ‘Dots’ will no doubt find the podium and be in contention for every race they start. The Metromint women are the queens of homegrown talent, nurturing women through the lower ranks all the way to the most challenging races. Led by perennial powerhouse Molly Van Houweling this team also boasts stalwarts like Rikke Preisler, and has had a hand in developing top riders such as Joanna Dahl, Lisa Mueller and Lina Martennson. Amanda Seigle, arguably the best teammate in the NCNCA ,also returns to the Metromint squad. A renown animator in everything from crits to road races, look to Seigle to have a bigger presence this year. Despite graduating Hall and Huizar to the pro ranks this team returns with the bulk of its roster intact.
Pinnacle-Reactor p/b JL Velo (10/315)
Formerly Leopard Sapporo, Martin Santos’ team takes a step forward with the addition of State Road Race Champion Tina Hughes, up and comer Sara Bird, and former pro-rider/DS Felicia Gomez. With their eyes on a heavier NRC schedule in 2014 this squad could be on the road a lot, but plan on Pinnacle being contenders throughout the year. When in town, expect to see this squad at the sharp end of the pack or off the front, as seen recently at Snelling Road Race where both Bird and Jane Despas were breaking legs.
Threshold Sports-Leadout Endurance Coaching (5/335)
Formerly Fremont Bank this squad features returning ‘Capo’ Josie Morgan, and proven entities such as Kimberly Fong, Emily Thurston, and Heather Ross. To keep life interesting they are sponsoring a few enterprising kids including Clarice Sayle and Jeanette Haggas. With ambitious plans, Sayles and Haggas are both eager to make their mark early in the season. This team has demonstrated a willingness to animate races in its early season outings, so keep an eye out for the sharpest looking kit to be represented in a breakaway near you.
TWENTY16 Professional Cycling (88/-)
Last year TWENTY16’s NorCal duty was relegated to Alison Tetrick, but despite a lack of teammates, she won at will. Tetrick, who holds the NCNCA State Criterium and TT titles, will be teamed up with perennial points leader, and criterium maven, Mary Maroon. Since TWENTY16 has a nationally oriented focus, it is unclear whether this dynamic duo will be on the road or will be around to break NorCal hearts. If Tetrick and Maroon stay local, their individual point totals from last season alone could put them on the Premier Series Team podium. Here is some crit advice to the NorCal peloton… Attack before Tetrick, and sprint longer than Maroon. If you don’t take the fight to them you’ll get bored losing.
Velo Sports Group (282/836)
Formerly known as Pinnacle p/b Argon 18, VSG is the defending Premier Series Team Champion. Although graduating a few of their best women to pro teams (Thornquist & Headley) VSG likes to find unknown riders and develop them into winners. Returning to the team is Captain Jennifer Zierke, who will be joined by veteran riders Ginger Snell and Marissa Axell. The roster includes Lisa James and Erica Greif, who are both looking for early season successes. There is a lot of buzz around VSG rider Natalie Dell, a bronze medalist rower from the London 2012 Olympic games, who has recently switched to cycling. With an early season focus on development, several new recruits are expected to upgrade to Cat 1/2 squad mid-season. With Larry Nolan taking on the DS this team will be one to watch, again.
SB Racing, Mary Maroon’s 2013 team, and Phil Roberts Cycles Fanatic squad did a lot the last two years to support women’s racing in NorCal. Their rosters may not overflow with riders but the focused support, from experienced team managers, these teams provide is a crucial stepping stone for riders that want to take a run at riding professionally. Small squads with a tight focus may not win points series, but they produce big results for the riders.
There is always a solid crew of American and AZNAC riders on the VK Squad. Led by charger Liza Rachetto, and featuring CX stars Elle Anderson and Emily Kachorek, the VK squad has some heavy hitters, and god help you if they show up in force. Since their focus is on the NRC/NCC series the team misses a lot of the NorCal schedule, but they do pop in for select events.
Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club
As one of the oldest local clubs in the area, Los Gatos keeps the lights on and produces one or two fresh faces a year. They may not be a huge women’s team but the loose atmosphere is a great environment for independent minded riders to develop.
Did we miss your team? Send us your roster asap! Contact us at norcal (at) love dot com. We want to unveil your 2014 squad to Northern California.
* Numbers in parentheses are 2013 Premier Series/NCNCA BAT Points Series totals.
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