Sho-Air TWENTY20 is entering its 15th year and remaining committed to creating opportunities for Olympic hopefuls, juniors racers, and women in the workplace by empowering them on and off the bike. The program’s long-standing goal has been to provide an environment that encompasses a stable work/life balance, which is vital to athletes and their developmental growth both on and off the racecourse. Many of the program’s athletes are dual-discipline riders, racing on the track and on the road, and have podium aspirations in multiple formats. The program’s unique format and racing schedule is designed to foster athletes’ individual, long-term goals and to serve as a safe haven for dual-sport growth and academic goals. Two current Sho-Air TWENTY20 athletes are PhD candidates in Chemical Engineering and Atmospheric Science.
Highlighting the roster for another season are multi-time World Champions and Olympic medalists Jennifer Valente (USA) and Chloe Dygert Owen (USA), along with Canadian Olympic medalist Jasmin Duehring and young Canadian sensation, Junior World Championship Bronze Medalist Simone Boilard.
“I am very happy and proud to be included on the Sho-Air TWENTY20 roster,” says Boilard. “I share the same values as the team, including looking for excellence and believing in hard work in both sport and academic domains. Sho-Air TWENTY20 also provides great mentors and role models.”
With seven Sho-Air TWENTY20 athletes positioned for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Jennifer Valente is an integral part of the Team USA medal campaign, and is currently ranked second in the UCI Omnium standings. She is in her seventh season with Sho-Air TWENTY20, and the 2019 season will help her balance track and road racing.
“I enjoy the road team atmosphere, and being a part of the road program allows me to channel my work ethic and maintain focus, all while being part of something more than just riding and racing,” says Valente. “It is a welcome contrast to the individual focus of the omnium, but at the same time, the program accommodates my Tokyo track focus. We have a motivated roster this year and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish.”
Demands of the team pursuit and omnium disciplines requires significant road fitness. Valente, who has natural leadership skills, has found that racing with Sho-Air TWENTY20 has brought her increased confidence in her role as team sprinter, along with increased fitness and power.
A reigning world champion on the track, 22-year-old Chloe Dygert Owen has been with the program since age 16, and has blossomed in her career with Sho-Air TWENTY20.
“I very happy to continue working with Chloe,” says Nicola Cranmer, General Manager of the Sho-Air TWENTY20 team. “2018 was a rough year for her. However, she is now more motivated than ever, and we will work hard to achieve her season goals. We have a very open and transparent dialogue with all of our athletes and we always focus on a balance combined with their high performance goals. With Chloe’s injuries last season, we offered her the latitude for plenty of recovery time and a proportional balance of track racing and road fitness. We know that when she’s on form, she will hit it out of the park. Managing long-term goals with patience is essential in this process of sport and high-performance development.”
Dygert Owen is set to race early season road events, building into the season with a focus on the time trial and sprints.
“My coach [three-time Olympic gold medalist and Felt legacy athlete] Kristin Armstrong and Nicola Cranmer have been there every step of the way, and it’s been challenging with a combination of injury and crashes,” says Dygert Owen. “I can’t say that there’s another team out there that would give me the support I need to be a dual athlete on the track and road. Likewise, our director Mari Holden is so supportive of Jennifer Valente’s and my goals and our difficult schedules. We both have lofty goals, so balancing it all is very important for us.“
“Our program has never been about doing as many races as possible,” adds Cranmer. “It’s about a healthy, balanced, structured season, year in and year out. It’s about developing strong, healthy, and successful athletes with valuable life skills. It’s about life experiences and adventure. I’m thrilled with the diverse opportunities we will be taking advantage of this season. Staying fluid in the changing landscape of cycling is key, and with some upcoming changes to the program, it provides nothing but pure opportunity for increased partner exposure.”
Another new addition to the program is triathlete-turned-road racer Jennifer Luebke. The Montana native majored in mathematics and Spanish at the University of Montana while a member of their triathlon team, and she made the switch from triathlon to cycling in 2015. Now, with two successful professional cycling seasons under her belt, she looks to improve on her 6th place at the 2018 U.S National Time Trial Championships and to advance her stage race experience with Sho-Air TWENTY20.
"I've always been impressed with Sho-Air TWENTY20's dedication to time trialing with everything from world class mentors like Mari Holden and Kristin Armstrong, to the very best equipment, to race day preparations,” says Luebke. “I'm really excited to join this program in order to take my time trial to the next level using the outstanding team resources, and to bring my energy to the program.”
Sports Director and Olympic medalist Mari Holden will enter her sixth year with the program, alongside Cranmer. Both women are significantly invested in the athletes, the ethos of the program, and pursuing ways to offer female athletes avenues for their sporting goals and dreams.
“We have a very talented group of women on the team this year,” says Holden. “There is a good blend of younger athletes, like Simone Boilard, and seasoned veterans. It will be fun to see the progression heading towards the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Jennifer Valente is medal-capable in several events, and Chloe Dygert Owen will have opportunities on the road and track. Georgia Simmerling is making her debut on the road this year after being out last year with injuries. It’s going to be an exciting year, and we have some very motivated athletes coming back from injuries. I think that people will underestimate our strength and that will work to our advantage.”
A new addition to the team staff is Adrian Hedderman as head mechanic. Hedderman is a highly skilled mechanic based in Asheville, North Carolina, and he had previously worked with the program in past years. He brings back an incredible knowledge and work ethic, as well as a spunky Irish sense of humor.
Sho-Air International has increased its long-standing support of the program as title sponsor, and owner Scott Tedro continues to be instrumental not only the TWENTY20 program but to the sport of cycling as a whole in the United States by supporting individuals and events.
The team will continue its long-standing partnership with Felt Bicycles, SRAM, Zipp wheels, Quarq power meters, Speedplay pedals, Arundel cages, and Kenda tires.
Sofia Arreola (MEX)
Simone Boilard (CAN)
Erica Clevenger (USA)
Margot Clyne (USA)
Allie Dragoo (USA)
Jasmin Duehring (CAN)
Chloe Dygert Owen (USA)
Jennifer Luebke (USA)
Shayna Powless (USA)
Stephanie Roorda (CAN)
Jennifer Valente (USA)
Melanie Wong (USA)
Jamie Whitmore (USA)
Amanda Coker (USA)
Emma Grant (GB)
Courtney Nelson (USA)
Georgia Simmerling (CAN)
Junior Development Team
Mallory Bryan (USA)
Coco Diemar (USA)
Hayley Diemar (USA)
Makayla Macpherson (USA)
Kate Seiler (USA)
Maize Wimbush (USA)
Homare Yamashita (USA)
Elite Mountain Bike Team
Lea Davison (USA)
Savilia Blunk (USA)
Brandon McNulty Il Giro di Sicilia in spectacular fashion on Saturday, with Rally UHC Cycling successfully defending his leader’s jersey on the legendary slopes of Mt Etna. McNulty finished fourth on the final stage after his teammates, one by one, sacrificed themselves en route to the greatest GC triumph in team history.
With tough early season contests in Spain and Oman under their belt, Rally UHC Cycling enters a second block of European racing with renewed strength and confidence. The team lands in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport Friday for a five-week campaign that begins in France and ends with England’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of cross-country mountain bike racing, or you’re looking to try your hand at your very first off-road race, your primary concern will undoubtedly be which bike to ride. Should you choose a full-suspension bike with both a suspension fork and a rear shock, or a hardtail with only a suspension fork?
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