Canyon-SRAM has unveiled the roster for its new development squad with riders that come from four different continents and seven countries.
More than 200 women applied to be a part of the Canyon-SRAM Generation team, with eight securing a spot on the squad.
The team was created as part of a diversity and inclusion program set up by the WorldTour squad last year. Recruitment was focused on continents and nations that were underserved in cycling, though applications were open to anyone.
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Among the successful applicants are riders from Paraguay, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Malaysia, Jamaica, Namibia, and Germany.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of applications from so many different nations, from all continents, through a wide variety of ages, and from all different backgrounds,” Christine Kalkschmid, the team’s diversity and inclusion expert, said.
“As the development team is part of the Canyon-SRAM Racing D&I program, we did not only want to ensure applications from promising riders from a performance point of view, we also wanted to make sure that we create a new team of ambassadors for diversity and inclusion. We requested information about performance data and previous successes of the applicants but also about their values and goals and how they think they can contribute to the team’s success.”
The eight riders will race at UCI Continental level and will be based in Europe during the season, giving them access to a solid racing program. Though it has strong links to the WorldTour team, Canyon-SRAM Generation will wear its own distinctive jersey.
Among the new line-up for the team is 25-year-old Paraguayan Agua Marina Espínola Salinas. She is a multiple national road and time trial champion and was the first to represent her country in cycling at the Olympic Games.
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Espínola Salinas has previously spent time on the UCI World Cycling Centre squad and raced with the Spanish Massi Tactic team over the past two seasons.
“This is a big hope for me. Since I started cycling, I sadly discovered how challenging it is to come from lesser-known countries and find a place in professional cycling,” she said. “The fact that such an important team such as Canyon-SRAM Racing believes in this project and has provided this opportunity is amazing and a sign that things can change for the better. I’m really happy to be part of this change and to have this opportunity.”
Canyon-SRAM Generation roster
- Fatima Deborah Conteh from Sierra Leone, 22, is a former winner of the Tour De Lunsar and a podium finisher in the road race at her national championships.
- Valentine Nzayisenga from Rwanda, 19, is a former national road race champion.
- Siti Nur Alia Mansor from Malaysia, 20, is a multiple national track champion.
- Antonia Niedermaier from Germany, 20, is a ski mountaineer who started racing a year ago.
- Llori Sharpe from Jamaica, 21, is a triathlete who has switched her focus solely on cycling. She claimed a bronze medal at the Caribbean Cycling Championships.
- Ricarda Bauernfeind from Germany, 21, was a bronze medalist in the road race at the national championships in 2021.
- Olivia Shililifa from Namibia, 19, is the reigning U23 road race national champion.
- Agua Marina Espínola Salinas from Paraguay, 25, is a five-time road race national champion and five-time time trial national champion.