With the dawn of each new season, local domestic teams undergo the same shuffling of riders and new sponsor affiliations that are seen at the international pro level. Sometimes, the changes are drastic and difficult to become accustomed for many a cycling fan. Occasionally, while always a few changes are seen, less change is seen that one would perhaps expect.
The latter appears to be the case with respect to the roundup of women’s Pro/1/2 squads for the 2015 road season in Northern California. There are some big changes in sponsorship, but roster contiguity is the trend for this year. While the riders of the discontinued Velo Sports Group have scattered throughout the lineup of teams, the core team talent has remained relatively undisturbed for most squads.
Last year’s top three Best All-Around Teams are no exception. Series winner Metromint Cycling (now Metromint p/b The Freewheel), followed by Folsom Bike/Cervelo and Threshold Sports p/b Leadout Endurance Coaching (now Lulu’s Moving p/b Endurance Leadout Coaching) continue with largely similar rosters in 2015. Metromint p/b The Freewheel retains Premier Points Series and Best All-Around Rider (BAR) winner Joanna Dahl, sprinter Mary-Ellen Ash, who placed third and fifth in those respective series in 2014, and most of the rest of their roster. Folsom Bike/Cervelo is astonishingly unchanged, and still contains a core longtime riders including powerhouses Marley Smith and Heather Van Sickle, sprint talents Judith Wexler and Sofia Marin, and 2014 Premier Series runner-up Diane Moug. Lulu’s Moving p/b Leadout Sports Group brings back Jeanette Haggas, sixth in last year’s BAR, and an essentially unchanged roster otherwise.
The prominent Velo Sports Group of 2014, third and fourth in the Premier Series and BAT competition last year, will not be around this year, and has evenly distributed its riders among other teams. Hedrick p/b Novatec, new this season, has taken riders from last year’s fifth place Premier scorer iRT/Reactor p/b JL Velo, as well as Velo Sports Group. ICE Sportwear p/b Pinnacle Racing remains unchanged in name with a largely similar roster to 2014. ICE, which is led by Felicia Gomez and Jane Despas, place Despas fourth in last season’s BAR contest.
While not near the top of last year’s BAR or Premier contest final tallies, the ever-dangerous Vanderkitten squad, lives on with new sponsorship as BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental. Their roster includes heavy hitters like Elle Anderson, Korina Huizar, Robin Farina, and Liza Rachetto. One fresh face on the scene this year is the Jakroo Racing Team, captained by Amanda Seigle.
Not to be forgotten are the local wild cards. This list includes NCNCA area residents who ride for pro teams and travel a great deal, but may show at local races to mix it up between travel to events away. Olivia Dillon (FCS Cycling), Evelyn Stevens (Velocio Sports), Katie Hall (UHC), Sarah Headley (TIBCO), Tayler Wiles (Velocio Sports), Alison Tetrick (Optum Pro Cycling), and last year’s BAR third-ranked Mary Maroon are a few notable examples.
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