Building on a successful first season, ValueAct Capital Professional Women’s Cycling Team is adding talent and experience to their roster. Nicole Evans, Leah Goldstein, Marni Hambleton, Lara Kroepsch and Chrissy Ruiter have joined the squad. ValueAct Capital will definitely be in contention this season for wins in the major stage races as well as the criteriums.
“Our team goal is to be one of the top three teams in the NRC,” states Lisa Hunt, the returning Team Director. “We really have an extremely well rounded and balanced team. We have climbers, we have overall riders, we have sprinters…..we have strong stage racers. We are going to be able to do basically every NRC race.”
Nicole Evans rode for TEAm Lipton in 2007. She won both the 2006 High Uintas Classic and the Elkhorn Classic stage races. Evans was also 3rd place on GC at the 2007 Valley of the Sun Stage Race. Nicole’s strengths are in climbing and all-around riding.
Leah Goldstein is a three-time winner of Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. “We are targeting some of the key stage races…like Mt. Hood,” commented Hunt. “We plan to defend that title. Leah is our climber and our stage racer.”Goldstein is currently the Israeli national road race and time trial champion; she resides in Canada, where she trains in the mountains.
In 2007, Marni Hambleton joined the VAC team as a guest rider for Nature Valley, Altoona and Bermuda. Hambleton raced for the Symmetrics Women’s Professional team for the past 3 years, and was the silver medalist at the Canadian National Road Race in 2007.
Lara Kroepsch also comes to the VAC from TEAm Lipton. A talented criterium rider, Kroepsch has two collegiate national championships, along with top podium finishes at some of the NRC criteriums. She rode with T-Mobile prior to TEAm Lipton.“After racing professionally for many years you get adjusted to switching teams,” stated Kroepsch.
“It’s tough in the sport. I think women tend to form closer relationships with their teammates than men do. The good thing is….I have been riding a long time and I know these riders. It really is a small family out there competing. When you are selecting a team…it’s about the people you are riding with…the management…the riders…it’s everything. We become a family. We don’t get paid the big bucks so it has to be enjoyable. For me I made a conscience decision to join this team. I wanted to be riding with Lisa. I think riding for her will be very cool. I am very happy with being here.”
Chrissy Ruiter rode for Cheerwine in 2007. She was on the podium at the 2007 Athens Criterium and the Tri-Peaks Challenge. Her talent has earned her a spot on the US National Team for 2008, where she’ll be spending time in Europe with several other top US riders.
Sharon Allpress love for bike racing developed while she was sent on a UN peace-keeping mission to the East African country of Eritrea, a former Italian colony where cycling is the national sport. “My focus is on the stage races….to be helpful in climbing hills,” stated Allpress. “I love the stage races and the long endurance events. I love to them tactically because you have to be patient…..to let the race play out…..to read what is going on. I want to ride in support of my team….to get us the best possible finishes…to get us on the podium. I know we can do it.”
Hannah Banks is a promising young Australian with several national titles to her name. She spent 2006 racing with the Australian Institute of Sport National Team, which was based in Italy for the 2006 season and raced in the Women’s Giro di Italia and the Tour de l’Aude.
Courtenay Brown returns to the VAC team in 2008, but with a focus on multi-sport events. Last year, Courtenay transitioned to triathlons, and won her first two triathlons, including the Silverman.
Katie Mactier has two gold medals in the Individual Pursuit at the Sydney and Beijing World Cup Track events. “It’s a big year for me,” shared Mactier. “I have the Olympics coming up. I am preparing for the 3000m pursuit. I was really lucky last year as I had the opportunity to ride with VAC. They are a terrific group of girls. This year the program’s even bigger….and it’s a very important, key part of my preparation for August. We have some fantastic races lined up. Everybody here brings a unique element to the team dynamics. I am sure we are going to get a lot of great results. We also just enjoy each other’s company. We learn from each other….we share our different experiences. Everything I do this year is in preparation for August.”
“We are not curing cancer here. We are racing our bikes. We have been given an incredible opportunity…one that many would love. We have a team policy of, “No tears and lots of laughing.” We are very honest girls and give each other lots of encouragement. The girls here come from amazing backgrounds. They really are amazing. We sat around the other night and just shared tales…I feel very honored to be a part of this great team. Cycling is something we all share in common. Of course when we put our numbers on we are there to win but…..leading up to the race we want to have a good time.”
In 2007, Martina Patella finished on the podium at the Bermuda Grand Prix. “My personal goals are very vested in this team,” stated Patella. “When the team succeeds then I feel I have succeeded. We are going after the NRC title….and to keep establishing ourselves as a heavy hitting professional team….a team that can race their bikes and that are classy cyclists. I would love to see us as one of the top 3 teams in the country. I really believe we are capable of this….and that we have the chemistry to do it. We really work hard together. There are a lot of points available at stage races and we have great stage racers. In terms of personal goals, I would love to win a NRC race. I have been on the podium but I would love to get a win.”
Taitt Sato has been racing in Northern California since 2001. She enjoys hilly criteriums and flat road races. Before turning to cycling full time, her prior career was practicing transactional law. “This is my second year,” said Sato. “My goal for 2008 is to see how we can take this team to the next level….to make our presence known on the national arena. I am really focusing on riding in support of my team but also my have the opportunity to get my own name out there. I am really looking forward to seeing what we can do.
“Last year, we had a young, spirited team that really proved they had the ability to succeed. Katie Mactier’s wealth of experience really contributed to making this team ge,l” commented Hunt. “I wanted to build on that momentum, by adding more top stage race and single day race talent. It’s a great group of riders!”
The team will be contesting a full NRC schedule for 2008. Next on the schedule is the Sequoia Cycling Classic in Central California. The town of Exeter will be the start of Saturday’s Yokohl Ranch Exeter Time Trial, a 40-kilometer out-and-back course with two significant climbs, and neighboring Visalia will host Sunday’s Visalia Criterium.
Blue Competition Bicycles: www.rideblue.com
Columbia Sportswear: www.columbia.com
Pictura Graphics: www.picturagraphics.com
Ritchey Design, Inc.: www.ritcheylogic.com
Rudy Project: www.rudyprojectusa.com
Time Sport: www.time-sport.com
TRP Brakes: www.trpbrakes.com
For more information regarding the team, visit www.teamvalueactcapital.com