Building on Success: Specialized-lululemon announces 2013 roster
Specialized-lululemon today announced the team roster for the 2013 season. Both title sponsors will continue with the team next year, and the core of the roster will remain the same with eight riders returning. Team owner Kristy Scrymgeour has subtly altered the mix on the team with three new signings, and the U.S.-registered team will include eleven riders.
“We made a decision post-Olympics that we wanted to make some changes,” Scrymgeour told Cycling Illustrated. “I’m pretty excited about the team. I think every year, you have to mix it up a bit.”
Eight riders will return from the 2012 edition of the team. They include track and time trial talent Lisa Brennauer, British all-arounder Katie Colclough, up-and-coming Australian Loren Rowney, super-support rider Ally Stacher, the smiling American Evelyn Stevens, veteran sprinter and road captain Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Dutch hard woman Ellen van Dijk, and classics specialist Trixie Worrack.
Though Teutenberg has hinted at retiring, as of now, she is on the roster for next year. “At the moment, you know, I have a contract with her,” said Scrymgeour. “At the same time, she’s been racing a long time, 31 years or something. You don’t know what she will decide to do. I think she’ll race, she loves it.”
Specialized-lululemon brings three new riders to the roster for 2013. The newcomers include Carmen Small, Tayler Wiles, and Gillian Carleton.
Carmen Small joins Specialized-lululemon from the U.S.-based Optum team. The 30-year-old Small is known as a dedicated team rider. “She’s a really good team rider,” said Scrymgeour. “That’s pretty much a prerequisite to be on our team. You have to be willing to do that.” Scrymgeour also expects to see Small in a leadership role in the coming year. “She came into her own this year. She had a really good year, and I just think she’s going to get better over the next years.”
Canadian Gillian Carleton comes to Specialized-lululemon from track cycling. At the 2012 Olympics, the 22-year-old Carleton rode to a bronze medal with Tara Whitten and Jasmin Glaesser in the team pursuit. She also finished second in the prologue at the Exergy Tour. “I think she’s going to be pretty good on the road,” said Scrymgeour.
Tayler Wiles, meanwhile, won the U23 national time trial championship in 2011. Currently 23 years old, Wiles rode the 2012 season for Exergy-Twenty12. While racing for the U.S. national team, she finished third overall at the challenging Tour de l’Ardèche stage race. “With Taylor and Gillian, I’ve taken young riders where you don’t know how they’re going to go,” said Scrymgeour. “But I have a pretty good feeling about them.”
Four riders from the 2012 roster have left the team. Canadian Clara Hughes has retired after a long career of elite-level competition in cycling and speedskating. Chloe Hosking and Emilia Fahlin, meanwhile, have transferred to the Norwegian Hitec Products team, who have gone on a hiring spree after the departure of Emma Johansson. Amber Neben has also not re-signed with Specialized-lululemon and has yet to announce her plans for next season.
Women’s team rosters are typically announced later in the year than the men’s teams, but that did not stop the internet from generating panicked rumors about the future of Specialized-lululemon. “I thought our team was stopping,” said Scrymgeour, laughing. “We’ve had it organized for a while, but we just decided not to announce it until now.” Scrymgeour was not bothered by the rumors. “I don’t mind it. It creates conversation about women’s cycling.”
The Specialized-lululemon team started out as a stopgap measure to keep the mighty HTC-Highroad women’s team together through the 2012 Olympic Games. The women wanted to continue racing together. Scrymgeour formed a management company and stitched together the sponsorship agreements to keep the women on the road through London. The team found success.
One of the top teams in the sport last year, Specialized-lululemon finished the season second in the world ranking behind the Rabobank squad of Marianne Vos. “We had a great team this year. I couldn’t be more happy about the results,” said Scrymgeour. “The girls were awesome all year.” Along the way, the team scooped up more than 60 victories, including Flèche Wallonne where Evelyn Stevens outsprinted Marianne Vos on the Mur de Huy and a gold medal in the inaugural world championship team time trial.
In addition to their successes on the road, Specialized-lululemon partnered with Right To Play, a commitment the team will continue in 2013. The organization provides education and sports equipment to children who otherwise would not have access to it. Specialized-lululemon is supporting a program in Rwanda, and pledged to raise $100,000 during 2012.
Throughout the month of November, Specialized-lululemon will auction equipment from its industry partners. All proceeds go to the team’s Right To Play project in Rwanda. The first auction is on now, and features a Stinger Disc wheel from HED Wheels.
In addition to title sponsors Specialized and lululemon, the team is also supported by HED Wheels, Oakley, First Endurance, HTC, SRM, Ceramic Speed, Contintenal, Lezyne, PowerBar, Skoda, Elite, SciCon, Defeet, Action Wipes, BG Sportpartner, SVL Sport Insurance, and DZ Nuts. “These eleven women are more than a race team but an inspiration to female cyclists everywhere,” said Erin Sprague, the Specialized women’s product manager in the press release. “We are proud of what they have accomplished and are looking forward to the future.”
With their victories on their road and their commitment to Right To Play, Specialized-lululemon hopes to inspire more women to embrace cycling. Though finding sponsorship support and grabbing media attention remain challenging for women’s cycling, Scrymgeour is optimistic about the road ahead.
“I think what we’ll see in the next five or ten years is that women’s cycling will grow,” she said. “There’s good people trying to do good things for the sport. I think we’re in a good spot right there. I have a lot of positive things to say about women’s cycling.”