TWENTY20 Pro Cycling announced on Thursday a stacked 2018 roster of international talent that includes Arizona’s Erica Clevenger.
The team picked up Clevenger to help lead the team up climbs during the Tour Down Under in Australia and to gain world-class racing experience, according to the their press release.
“TWENTY20 is known for taking new up-and-coming riders and developing them into top-notch athletes and people,” Clevenger said in an interview with Clipped In. “I am excited to continue my path toward becoming one of the many well-decorated riders on the team.”
Clevenger, 23, competed in triathlon for nearly four years before fully switching over to bike racing. As a University of Arizona Wildcat, she won 2016 USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals and the road race at the 2017 USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals.
She guest rode for Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling at Tour of the Gila, graduated college, then signed with the team for the rest of the season.
“I was given the opportunity to attend as many races as possible last summer in order to build on my race experience and skills riding with the team,” Clevenger said. “We had a great mix of seasoned athletes and new riders and I learned a lot in my short time there.”
Clevenger said with DNA, her teammates felt like family, so much so that British National Time Trial Champion Claire Rose, a former DNA teammate, is now her coach.
“I’ll certainly be missing them this season, but I am very excited about racing on TWENTY20 with Nicola [Cranmer] and Mari [Holden] to help guide me further into my career,” Clevenger said.
She got the nod from the team in a phone call from Holden this fall and accepted.
Clevenger said the 2018 season is one of the few opportunities she will have to race and train without full-time work or school. As a recent graduate of chemical engineering, Clevenger is finishing up an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she works on renewable energy and water treatment.
“My objective is to reach a new level with my riding, and I believe that TWENTY20 is the right place for me to be to reach that next step,” Clevenger said. “Nicola and Mari have both expressed how supportive they are of their riders reaching their goals whether it be in cycling, career or academics.”
Clevenger will be joined by Olympic silver medalists in track cycling Chloe Dygert Owen and Jennifer Valente from the U.S. and Olympic bronze medalist Jasmin Duehring of Canada. The three, along with majority of the roster, will balance a track and road program during 2018.
Holden, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist, returns to direct the squad.
“We are excited for the year ahead, as we balance a strong roster of athletes with an ever growing race calendar,” Holden said. “We have strong women with their individual goals for world championships and are looking to the 2020 Olympic Games, and a crew of younger athletes that will benefit greatly from these experienced women. I hope to be able to blend this group together as a team as we did this season and showcase the strength of individual events into the road season of racing.”
2018 TWENTY20 Pro Cycling Roster
Sofia Arreola (MEX)
Erica Clevenger (USA)
Margot Clyne (USA)
Allie Dragoo (USA)
Chloé Dygert Owen (USA)
Jasmin Duehring (CAN)
Scotti Lechuga (USA)
Marlies Mejias Garcia (CUB)
Danielle Morshead (USA)
Shayna Powless (USA)
Steph Roorda (CAN)
Georgia Simmerling (CAN)
Jennifer Valente (USA)
Larissa Connors (USA) Mountain/Road
Rachel Beck (USA) Mountain/Road
Jamie Whitmore (USA) Para-Cycling
Cranmer said the team’s short-term goal is to accomplish two elite world championship jerseys in 2018. It’s long-term goal is to have seven riders go to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“While we will certainly have a very competitive team for the 2018 season, we are looking ahead to our long-term goals and will develop the individual strategies moving towards Tokyo,” Cranmer said.
The powerful engines of Powless, Simmerling, Roorda and Lechuga will support up-and-coming sprint sensation Mejias of Cuba. The multi-time Pan American medalist and London Olympian scored several wins on the PRT calendar this year.
“Mejias is impressive,” Cranmer said. “Several of the TWENTY20 athletes brought her to the attention of team management after watching her compete in the London 2012 Olympics omnium finishing eighth place. She competed on less than ideal equipment and her competitors both Canadian and USA believed she should be given the opportunity to compete on the best equipment possible to level out the playing field. We are excited to invite her to our program, with her team debut at the Tour Down Under in January.”
Cranmer developed the program 12 years ago, with the intent to grow women’s cycling and allow young riders a balanced program to grow in sport, confidence and life skills. The program has produced world champions and Olympic medalists.