by Stephanie Gutowski & Lyne Lamoureux

Team Director Carmen D'Aluisio has brought back five key riders from the 2007 squad and added some strong young riders to bolster the 2008 team. The 2007 team was ranked third overall in the NRC for the year with two riders in the individual top five standings.

Aaron


Returning to the team is Katharine Carroll-winner of the Athens Twilight Criterium, the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Sprint Jersey and final stage of the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l'Ardeche. Also returning is Felicia Gomez, winner of the Queen of the Mountains Jersey and a Stage at the Mount Hood Stage Race and ranked fourth overall on the NRC standings. Division I Collegiate National Champion Rebecca Larson and winner of the Sprint Jersey at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, U.S. Masters National Time Trial Champion Kristin Sanders and Carmen McNellis round out the returning riders. Catherine Powers will also return to the team on a part-time basis while balancing her new teaching career.

New riders for 2008 include U23 U.S. Criterium National Champ Erica Allar, U23 Canadian Time Trial National Champion Julie Beveridge, Canadian standout Allison Testroete, cycling track star Anna Lang and former TEAm Lipton powerhouse Meredith Miller.

RoadBikeReview spent a windy and cold morning in Santa Cruz, California meeting this exciting 2008 Aaron's Women Pro Cycling team.

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Team Director, Carmen D'Aluisio -We have a very strong team this year. We are racing for the NRC. The goal of the team is to be on top this season. I think that the competition is going to be very tough . I am really looking forward to how this group will ride.

Erica Allar - A senior at Penn State University, Erica looks forward to graduation so she can put all of her energy into being a professional bike racer.

Julie Beveridge - I'm second year in university. We have such a strong team, we can win a lot of races, we can win crits, we can win hilly races. I just want to help out whoever is riding well that day. If Felicia and Allison are climbing well, Kristin or anyone, I want to get them where they need to be.

Katharine Carroll - When I came in last year, it was a new group, a lot of riders that had shown some potential that had never really proven themselves either in a leadership role, and I think we answered a lot of question about ability and strength last year. I think the goal for the team this year is to take it to the next level where... when you're called on to do something, to do your job as a team member whether to be the sprinter at the end or the GC leader, that you just get it done and everybody else is in full support of that team goal.

Felicia Gomez - I'm super excited to be on the team again, I think we have a super strong team, we have young talent which I'm really excited about and the addition of Meredith Miller who has a lot of international experience. I think she can really lend a lot to our team as well. For me, in terms of team goals, I think we can contest the NRC , I think we can be...we finished third last year in our first real pro year and I think with the team we have that we can do better than that this year.

Anna Lang - I will continue to do both track and road…but road is very much in the forefront. I want to get into my road schedule. Track is still an integral part of my road racing and training. I wanted to be in a place where the team would work with my schedule. What convinced me was that I could be who I wanted to be here. Carmen said that she was looking for a true sprinter....someone who is not going to be afraid to go for the win. I am racing to win.

Rebecca Larson - For the team, it is to win the NRC which I think we have a good shot at. There are six of us that came back from last year so we had a year of racing together so that's going to make a big difference. And the new girls are great I think we have a strong team and the fact that we've been having so much fun at camp I think it's just going to keep building.

Carmen McNellis - I am on the National Team and plan on doing a full National schedule. I am not going to do that many races with Aaron's…I'll do Montreal Word Cup, which is an important race, Nationals, and Nature Valley. I'll be spending most of time in Europe. My personal goal on the national team is to learn at every race. I am very new. My goal is to learn and get better at every race.

Meredith Miller -I have always been involved in team sports all my life. So for me, team will always come before my individual goal. Yes individually, I would like to go to the World Championships at the end of the year. If I win a couple of races along the way that's great. But I am more concerned about the success of the team and whatever success we have making sure it has been a team effort. I guess my goal with this team is to make sure that we do come together as a team, I think there are so many opportunity, we have so much potential on this team that everybody is going to have an opportunity to do well. Whether it's myself or someone else I just want to encourage every body to take that opportunity and go for it, and just make sure it's been a team effort along the way.

Catherine Powers - I just want to support the team, I'm a domestique, I pretty much retired. I'm teaching in a bilinguial program in middle school in Boulder, so I'm just racing part time. I love my team and I couldn't give it all the way up. I just want to support people, be a good domestique. If I end up in a break and get a good result that would be awesome but it's all good.

Kristin Sanders - My main focus this year is the team. I really only have one personal goal and that's to go to Nationals. I just want to race my bike for the best results for the best of my team. Whatever that is defined by the team…that will be my goal.

Alison Testroete - What I was really looking for is someone like Carmen who is really well organized, with direction and then a good team, somewhere I just fit in. I feel that if you're really comfortable in your environment you'll maximize your performance. And also to have role model in the team, someone I could really look up to that would really help me out.

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Aaron's Women's Pro Cycling's first race will be the Santa Rosa Women's Grand Prix on February 18, 2008

Aaron's Women's Pro Cycling