The Medica Collegiate All-Stars will be back at the North Star Grand Prix this year. The goals of this program are to give collegiate women a full pro experience, to identify women who have the talent to ride for professional teams and to promote cycling as an intercollegiate sport.
This special squad has been selected based on the final individual road race and criterium omnium standings at USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals held May 13 – 15.
The 2016 Medica Collegiate All-Stars include:
- Amy Benner – CSU – Channel Islands in Camarillo, CA
- Kate Buss – Virginia Polytechnic University in Blacksburg, Va.
- Jennifer Caicedo – King University in Bristol, Tenn.
- Janelle Cole – Brevard College in Brevard, N.C.
- Katherine Shields – Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Monica Volk – Penn State University in State College, Penn.
Buss, Cole and Volk are riders from Division 1 (15,000 or more students) and Benner, Caicedo and Shields are from Division 2 (fewer than 15,000 students). All are invited to participate in the North Star Grand Prix, to be June 15 – 19 in five cities across Minnesota, along with a pre-race residential camp June 10 – 14.
The pre-race camp will be held mostly at a Wisconsin farm, where team members can get to know each other and be coached in some of the finer points of professional stage racing.
The six women will receive free race entries to the North Star Grand Prix, professional coaching, team support, ground transportation, housing, team uniforms, media opportunities and a generous travel stipend.
The coach and director sportif of the Medica Collegiate All-Stars will be Patricia Schwager, a six-time Swiss National Champion. She raced for a number of the best European pro teams including: Cervélo TestTeam (alongside two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong), Nederland Bloeit (teammate with Marianne Vos, the 3-time World Road Race Champion and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist) and Faren-Kuota.
Schwager is currently working with US-based Team TIBCO-SVB along with being a coach with ALP Cycles Coaching where she helps riders of all abilities reach their cycling goals. She has two diplomas from the Swiss Federal Office of Sport as a Cycling Coach, plus a Pastry Chef diploma in her pocket.
This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, regardless of any rider’s long term cycling goals. But it’s a particularly important opportunity for riders who want to be considered for a pro team contract. The pro team managers will be at the North Star Grand Prix and look to the Medica Collegiate All-Stars as a source of undiscovered talent.
Collegiate All-Stars alumna include:
- World Champion and Rio Olympic Team Member Kelly Catlin;
- National Criterium Calendar and USA Crits Champion Erica Allar;
- National Champion Amanda Miller;
- Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare);
- Carla Swart (HTC/Highroad and South African Olympic Team member);
- and Kristin McGrath (various pro teams).
“Being part of the 2014 Collegiate All-Stars was definitely a boost to my career,” said World Champion and USA Olympic Team member Kelly Catlin. “I learned a lot, got some great exposure, and had an amazing experience. I highly recommend this program for any collegiate woman, particularly if they want to advance their cycling career.”
The 17th annual North Star Bicycle Festival presented by North Memorial Health Care is a multi-day, multi-location celebration of cycling. Held June 10 – 19 in seven locations across Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, the festival features a wide range of events, including the MN Fixed Gear Classic velodrome race, the Life Time Fitness Hillfest recreational ride, and North Star Grand Prix stage race. In addition to professional bicycle races, the public is welcome to spectate and enjoy bike expos, food truck and kids activities such as the Park Dental Tour de Kids presented by Shimano. To date, the MN Fixed Gear Classic and the North Star Grand Prix have attracted 2,500 of the country’s top professional and elite cyclists, including 32 Olympians. This year, hundreds of cyclists and thousands of fans are expected at the Festival, which will benefit Special Olympics Minnesota. Come for the races, stay for the fun. Get the details at northstarbicyclefestival.com.