Illuminate to add women’s team in 2017

Former Airgas-Safeway squad has revealed it will expand in 2017 with the addition of a women's UCI team.

Just a little over a week since signing former IAM Cycling rider Simon Pellaud (SUI), Team Illuminate has revealed it will field a women’s UCI team for 2017. While no official roster details were released, the American Continental program formerly known as Airgas-Safeway did reveal that the team would predominantly sign domestic riders.

“The majority of our roster is from the US, although we do have some international riders on the team,” said team director Chris Johnson. “Honestly, we have put together an incredibly strong roster and I feel lucky to have such a great group of women to work with in our first year.”

According to Johnson, the addition of a women’s team is a natural progression for the team, which adopts a community-first approach and made the switch to an all-black kit, devoid of sponsor logos.

“When you look at our overall model, we’re really building a club that is led by the professional riders,” he said. “We want people to join us, to follow the riders and to interact with the team. Our team is about bringing people together, and in order to do that we need to have a men’s and a women’s program.”

The San Francisco-based squad has targeted the Tour of California to open its racing calendar in May before heading east for the summer.

In addition to the signing of the 24-year-old Pellaud prior to the announcement of its new women’s program, the men’s team recently announced it has re-signed Colombian national champion Edwin Avila, as well as Americans Connor McCutcheon, Griffin Easter and Cullen Easter. According to news reports, the team will unveil its final men’s roster via social media.