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New USA women’s team Cynisca Cycling unveils inaugural roster

Rising stars Zoe Ta-Perez and Katherine Sarkisov will be on 11-rider roster of team that aims to give North American women more European racing experience.

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Nascent U.S. women’s cycling team Cynisca Cycling has unveiled its inaugural roster for 2023, including rising U23 star Zoe Ta-Perez and junior talent Katherine Sarkisov.

Cynisca Cycling launched over the summer and aims to give female riders from North America an opportunity to compete regularly in Europe.

The squad will be based out of Château de Saint-Martory and boasts a roster that is 75 percent North American — seven from the USA and one from Canada — with three riders from France. It will be run by sport director Marion Clignet and general manager Chris Gutowsky.

“We’re excited about the Cynisca project and to announce the first riders,” Gutowsky said. “Cynisca will provide the platform for these talented cyclists to train and compete at the highest level and help aspiring athletes realize their dreams. These women represent the future of cycling.”

Also read: Meet 20-year-old Zoe Ta-Perez: US elite nationals breakthrough star

The team has partnered with USA Cycling and worked with the governing body to build its lineup for next season. USA Cycling and Cynisca Cycling already worked together this season to send a group of riders to Europe for six weeks in August and September.

“USA Cycling is committed to developing more women into elite cyclists, and this partnership is a critical step forward towards our long-term goals at the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. Thanks to Cynisca, we’ll welcome a new team of American women into the European peloton and strengthen the next generation of up-and-coming riders,” USA Cycling CEO Brendan Quirk said.

Ta-Perez enjoyed a breakthrough season this year, storming to the U23 TT title at the national championships in June and claiming third in the elite competition — the two races were combined. Meanwhile, Sarkisov claimed both the time trial and road race junior titles at nationals and went on to race at the world championships in Australia.

Other riders on the team include Tour of the Gila stage winner Maddy Ward, former USA Cycling collegiate national champion Cara O’Neill, and former junior triathlon champion Kyleigh Spearing.

Grace Williams, Claire Windsor, and Émilie Fortin complete the North American side of the roster. Williams is a former endurance runner who finished fifth in the 100-mile event at Unbound Gravel this year, Windsor was third in the U23 national criterium in 2021, and Fortin won a stage of the Tour de Charente-Maritime Féminin in July.

The team’s three French riders are Pauline Allin, Chloé Fourmigué, and Greta Richioud. Both Allin and Richioud have spent the past two seasons racing for the Arkéa team and bring a wealth of experience to the squad. Meanwhile, Fourmigué has recently transitioned to cycling after beginning her career as a cross-country skier.