After two highly successful summers of racing the #RoxsoltLadies cycling team expands to full-year programme with aim of developing young Oceania talent.
#RoxsoltLadies burst onto the Australian domestic scene in December 2013 claiming victories in its maiden season at the Shimano Super Crit and the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. In 2014 the Sydney based team won the prestigious Launceston Stan Siejka Cycling Classic while one of it’s marquee riders, Kimberley Wells, went on to win the 2015 National Criterium Championship in January.
Team manager and owner Kelvin Rundle said despite the success the team has enjoyed over the past two summers the time was right to shift focus from performance to development.
“The Roxsolt team has always been about seizing opportunities missed by others, a concept in line with our sponsors’ mission statements,” Rundle said. “Two years ago we identified a need to provide a professional environment for some of our best female international riders to ride in when they came home and I think we exceeded our expectations in that regards.”
“Now I think there is a real need to foster and develop women’s racing at home,” Rundle continued. “Over the next two years we aim to provide a group of Australian and New Zealand women with the opportunity to gain valuable international experience while also being competitive at the National Road Series level.”
“Our team mission is consistency rather than podiums in our first season as a NRS squad,,” Rundle added. “We also want to finish our first year as one of the top teams in Australia.”
Both the decrease in funding of the women’s national road cycling program, which was announced in January 2015, and the cancellation of UCI ranked events in the Oceania region, were major motivating factors for this shift in focus.
The team will be made up of a group of seven Australian and New Zealand women and will focus on national road titles, the Oceania Championships and National Road Series while also looking to gain UCI race invitations to events such as the Tour of Thailand.
“I just had this realisation that there is a real need in women’s cycling in Australia, and also New Zealand, to provide alternative pathways to international racing for women,” Rundle said. “Seeing races like the women’s Tour of New Zealand cancelled actually makes me more determined.”
“Riders are packing themselves straight off to Europe,” Rundle noted. “There’s no intermediate step, and they get there and they’re like: ‘Woah, this is much harder than I expected.’ I don’t think that’s a good experience. I want to provide a race program that I know my riders gain confidence from and successfully complete.”
Rundle has identified Georgia Catterick from Blenheim, New Zealand as his first signing to the restructured #RoxsoltLadies programme The 18-year-old will represent New Zealand in both the time trial and road race at next month’s Junior World Championships in Richmond, USA.
“I’m really looking forward to the World Championships,” Catterick said. “I’m focusing on the time trial and my goal is to achieve a top five result.”
The World Championships, the marquee event for the junior women, will be Catterick’s first international racing experience outside of the Oceania region, but that is something she is looking forward to building on with #RoxsoltLadies in 2016.
“I’m excited to join Roxsolt in 2016,” said Catterick. “It will be cool to go further than Australia and get some international experience. I can’t wait to race with the older, more experienced riders. It will be awesome to learn from them.”
Rundle has yet to confirm which professional women may guest ride for his restructured National Road Series outfit in 2016 to mentor his less experienced team members. Some of Australia’s top professional women have donned the #RoxsoltLadies colours in the past including Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM), Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda) Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products), Loren Rowney (Velocio-SRAM), Jo Hogan (Tibco-SVB) and Carlee Taylor (Lotto Soudale Ladies). Rundle expects to retain the services of a guest rider of similar stature for select Australian summer races.
Current sponsors Seight Custom clothing and Skratch Labs will continue to partner with #RoxsoltLadies but in an expanded capacity as the team embarks upon its new pursuits. The team has selected Cervelo R3 bikes that will be professionally built & fitted by PaveTheWay Bike Fitters and will be packed in Scicon bike bags.
A full team announcement including team roster, staff and sponsors will be made in late September.