Philadelphia, PA- Fresh off their first victory of the season with Alona Andruk's 1st place finish in the final stage of the Tour of New Zealand, the Diadora-Pasta Zara women's professional cycling team held their official team presentation at Diadora headquarters in Caerano di San Marco, Italy over the weekend.
Slated to be one of the most competitive teams this season, Diadora-Pasta Zara's impressive roster, featuring two Giro Donne winners, positions the team at the top of women's cycling.
Fuji Bicycles will be the official bike sponsor of the Diadora-Pasta Zara team, supplying the women's pro squad with Fuji's women-specific road bike, the Supreme, as well as Fuji D-6 time trial bikes.
"We are so proud to be sponsoring Diadora-Pasta Zara this year," said Karen Bliss, V.P. of marketing for Advanced Sports International, the parent company of Fuji Bikes. "Fuji has had a long history of sponsoring women's racing, and as a Fuji-sponsored athlete in the '80s, I am happy to keep Fuji involved - and at the forefront - in this amazing sport."
The former U.S. Women's National Cycling Champion added, "Many of these women have reached the podium of some of cycling's most prestigious races. Maurizio Fabretto has put together a tremendous international squad."
Mara Abbott, 2010 U.S. Cycling Female Athlete of the Year, 2010 U.S. women's road champion, and the first-ever American winner of the Giro d'Italia Femminile will lead the Diadora-Pasta Zara squad in 2011, along with German Claudia Hausler, the 2009 Giro Donne Winner.
Other front runners include Americans Shelley Olds (2010 U.S. Women's Criterium Champion), Sinead Miller (2010 U.S. Under 23 Women's Road Champion), and Amber Pierce (winner of the 2008 Nature Valley Gran Prix).
The team has decided to dedicate their 2011 season to former teammate Marina Romoli. While training last year, the 2006 World Junior Championship silver medalist was struck by a car and flung over her handlebars into the side window, suffering a punctured lung and fractured vertebra. The horrific accident has left her paralyzed from the waist down.
A pink heart inscribed with the name Marina is on all the team cars, as well as on other support material. She serves as an inspiration to the team and her fellow Diadora-Pasta Zara riders vow that she will always be a member of the team.
On Sunday, March 13, Diadora-Pasta Zara made their European race debut in the cold and rainy Trofeo Vannucci, where Shelley Olds sprinted to 4th place. The team will now hold training camp in Cecina in preparation for the first race of the 2011 Women's World Cup: the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio in Cittiglio, Italy on Sunday, March 27.
For behind-the-scenes photos and insider info on the team presentation, training camp, and the team's performance in the Tour of New Zealand, please visit Fuji's Diadora-Pasta Zara blog at https://www.fujibikes.com/womensproteam And be sure to check back for the latest blog entries from riders Mara Abbott, Shelley Olds, and Amber Pierce.
Diadora-Pasta Zara 2011 Roster