British criterium champion Barnes, Laws and three others complete women’s UnitedHealthcare team
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

British criterium champion Barnes, Laws and three others complete women’s UnitedHealthcare team

by VeloNation Press at 1:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
New squad will debut in 2014, joining existing men’s squad

UnitedHealthcareFollowing on from the July announcement that UnitedHealthcare would set up a professional women’s team for 2014 and a later confirmation that riders such as Giro d’Italia champion Mara Abbott, US national criterium champion Alison Powers and Olympic silver medallist Lauren Tamayo would be involved, five more riders have been named to the squad.

Team owner Momentum Sports Group said that the Britons Hannah Barnes and Sharon Laws plus the Americans Katie Hall, Cari Higgins and Jacquelyn Crowell would compete the lineup of riders, making for a total of a dozen competitors.

They will be directed by the former pro Rachel Heal, who worked on the running of the Colavita and Optum teams in recent years.

General manager and team director Mike Tamayo said that he and the team were pleased to have what he termed ‘five outstanding professionals’ to join the setup.

“These additional five women complete a great lineup that we expect to be a force in the sport. When hiring this year’s team, I wanted more speed and more climbing strength. Bringing Sharon on gives Mara a lieutenant in the mountains, while Hannah gives us a one-two punch in the sprints with Coryn Rivera. And you can never have enough depth, and Cari, Katie and Jackie just bolster that for us.”

The women’s squad comes five years after the healthcare company backed the men’s squad, and four after it decided to take over title sponsorship.

Barnes competed with MG Maxifuel in 2013 and took a number of good results, including the British national criterium championship, the national series winner, the IG London Nocturne elite women’s criterium.

Laws is a former winner of the British national time trial and road race titles, and has taken runner-up slots on stages of the Giro Donne and the Giro del Trentino. Higgins has represented the US at worlds and pan-American championships, plus the track World Cup. Her results include two top six finishes at the worlds, plus seventeen national championship medals.

Hall raced with Metromint Cycling in 2013 and won the Mount Tam hill climb plus the Mt Hood Cycling Classic. As for Crowell, she is a past national points race and team pursuit champion.

Apart from the newly-announced group, the team will also include Abbot, Tamayo, Ruth Winder, Rushlee Buchanan, Coryn Rivera and Alexis Ryan.

Its establishment is a further sign of the growth of the women’s racing scene. New UCI president Brian Cookson and women’s commission chief Tracey Gaudry have pinpointed the development of this area of the sport as a priority.

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