The four Juniors with GM, Cranmer. Photo by Rob Evans.

Rachel Lloyd’s current summer team and team of her 2007 cyclocross season is expanding their junior women’s program to a national level. The team features four promising NorCal Juniors, including rising mountain bike racer, Ruth Winder. Winder is currently mentored by Lloyd, and may follow Lloyd’s multi-disciplined racing style and give cyclocross a try. Full press release below.

Building on Early Season Success of Its Junior Squad, PROMAN Plans National Campaign

Marin County, Calif., April 13, 2009 – The PROMAN Women’s Professional Cycling Team today announced plans to expand its new Junior development program. After successes at multiple NorCal regional events already this season, the four-woman squad will compete in its first national level event at Sea Otter this Thursday and Friday, April 16-17, with plans to participate in other national caliber events throughout 2009.

The four members of PROMAN’s inaugural Junior program are:

– Claire Jensen, age 13, 2008 National Track Champion and NCNCA State TT Champion
– Nikka van den Dries, age 14, 2008 NCNCA State Champion in RR, TT, Crit and Track
– Ruth Winder, age 15, 2008 NCNCA State TT Champion
– Christina Yglesias, age 16, 2008 NCNCA State Champion in RR, Crit and Track

Ruth Winder can win on the road and on the dirt. Photo by Robert Lowe.

“We’re excited about our Junior program and delighted about how well it’s come together already this season,” explained founder and General Manager, Nicola Cranmer. “We’ve built our team one step at a time with the help of extremely supportive sponsors and members of the community. We’re hoping to boost junior cycling at the national level by supporting young women who have already distinguished themselves at the regional and state levels.”

The PROMAN Women’s Professional Cycling Team is comprised of eight professional riders, including Track Worlds veteran Shelley Olds (2008 Elite National Scratch Race Champion and US National Team member), Rachel Lloyd (2008 PRO Super D National Champion and US National Team member) and Cari Higgins (2008 Elite 4x National Track Champion). These riders have been coaching and mentoring the PROMAN Juniors, sharing valuable experience to the promising young athletes.

All four Juniors participated in the USAC development clinics held in Santa Rosa, California, last year. While instructing these young riders, Cranmer and Olds came up with the idea of a Junior development squad. “The desire to start a Junior program was a direct result of observing these young women” reported Olds. “We wanted to help them succeed, as well as invest in the future of our sport.”

Cranmer went on to explain that there is still a disproportionate amount of money and product support going to men’s cycling programs and even to men’s squads on co-ed teams. The PROMAN Women’s Professional Cycling Team continues to raise awareness and build a following, with hopes of not only establishing itself as a prominent North American women’s team, but generating more interest and financial support for its Juniors who may go on to be some of the next generation of cycling champions.

“I feel that investing in Junior riders – girls in particular – is critical to the growth of cycling in the US,” asserted Cranmer. “Recently appointed USAC athletic director, Jim Miller, has assured me that he will continue to focus on women’s development. Miller has successfully expanded the women’s road endurance program resulting in world class contenders and Olympic gold. I have complete faith in Jim’s ability to continue to develop a new and exciting paradigm for female racers in the US.”

Passing it on: State and National Champs Olds, Cranmer, Higgins and Lloyd inspire - and are inspired by - their Juniors

About PROMAN Women’s Professional Cycling / UCI Pro Track Team

The PROMAN Women’s Professional Cycling Team is dedicated to promoting the enjoyable and ethical growth of American cycling for women, and serving as a platform for women to earn berths on the United States National Cycling, Mountain Bike and Cyclocross Teams. PROMAN works in partnership with USA Cycling, the UCI and the Agency for Sporting Ethics (ASE), which in 2007 created the most aggressive anti-doping program in professional sports. All PROMAN riders and staff support a strict Code of Conduct, striving to treat competitors, race organizers, national and international cycling officials, spectators and fans with the highest standards of fairness, character, kindness and respect. The team believes in and loves the bicycle as a force for positive social change, an environmentally responsible transportation option and a healthy, enjoyable way of life for boys, girls, men and women of all ages. Product sponsors include BMC, Rudy Project, SRAM, Northwave, WTB, Clif Bar, Skins, Arundel and Ritchey Design.

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