TWENTY20 Junior Cycling Squad Bolstered by new and returning talent
Junior cycling has always been an integral component to the team for TWENTY20 founder, Nicola Cranmer. Heading into 2021, team partner, Julia Violich and the Bear Development Team, will remain focused on mountain bike development, while TWENTY24 will continue to support junior athletes on the road, track, gravel, and eSports. The program not only focuses on performance but connecting our juniors to colleges is a priority.
“With continued uncertainty of the 2021 race schedule in North America, I felt it important to continue to support a junior program as there are a number certainties and controllables; the junior team will continue to race regionally where applicable, and there will be regular junior Zwift meet-ups to connect the athletes located across North America and Canada,” commented team general manager, Nicola Cranmer. “We are excited to partner with Kristin Armstrong and KX3 Coaching, a new online coaching and educational platform launching in January. Through KX3 Coaching, we can set home training goals and Zwift and STRAVA challenges for each athlete and facilitate regular Zoom sessions, which will cover a wide range of topics such as a pathway to performance and connecting high school athletes to colleges. As a part of KX3 coaching, there will be an option for each junior athlete to be assigned a mentor partnering with one of the team’s professional athletes to offer guidance throughout the year. If racing happens, that will be a bonus,” added Cranmer.
While only in the 15-16 category, Lilly Mcleod is returning to lead the team’s junior squad in 2021. Lilly has accomplished seven National titles and more than 100 podiums, and she will be a strong leader alongside Canadian newcomer Coralie Levesque (17-18), who will compete in her final year as a junior. Coralie was slated to compete in the Junior World Championships this year, but with the cancellation, she is even more driven for a successful 2021 Junior World Championships. Cassidy Hickey (17-18) returns after a season on the Bear Development Team, while Mallory Bryan continues in her fifth year, and Coco Diemar her sixth.
Hailing from Minnesota, twin sisters Ragan and Lauren Weigel will bring cross-disciplinary strengths to the team. Maize Wimbush and Homare Yamashita return to the team in the 15-16 category. Maize is focused on the road and her determination to be the first African American female Olympic cyclist is a force to keep an eye on for 2028. Homare who rode a 2020 season of track PRs will continue with a strong track schedule.
Junior team and ambassador enrollment remains open through March 2021.
KX3 Coaching membership options will be available to the public starting January 1, 2021.
The team’s junior program has developed notable riders including Jennifer Valente, Coryn Rivera, and Chloé Dygert.
“Finding the right environment for your development in your sport is so crucial,” said 10x World Champion, Chloé Dygert. “I’m so honored to say that mine was with the Junior Development team, TWENTY16/TWENTY20. The team has access to every tool necessary to turn an athlete into the best cyclist you can be. But what made the difference in my career and as a person, was what I received off the bike. The love, belief and support the team gave me is why I am who I am today. The amount of injuries I endured being a part of this team is baffling, but there was never a hint of doubt from anyone that I wouldn’t be able to return. Having that kind of trust in your team makes the recovery and healing process that much easier. But it goes both ways, I had to devote myself to the team as much as they did to me. I can honestly say that without Nicola and Team TWENTY20, I would not be in the sport today,” Dygert continued.
For thirteen consecutive years, the team has been awarded the USA Cycling Centers of Excellence Award, which is awarded to select junior and Under-23 development teams that excel in the development of young cyclists into nationally competitive athletes. Developing future champions on the bike and leaders in the community are at the core of the team’s values, with an emphasis to support athletes in obtaining the best education possible for life after cycling.
The team is a valued recruitment platform for young athletes heading to college, and many universities are now offering partial and full scholarships to capable female cyclists for their varsity programs.
“If we can connect our athletes to collegiate scholarships, this is a win and mission accomplished for me,” commented Cranmer.
Research has shown that the disciplines associated with sport prepares students for the workplace. Athletes learn many skills that will help them throughout their adult lives, from managing their time to succeeding under pressure. Successfully balancing academics and sport can prepare you for the pressures in the workplace. Forbes Magazine reported that companies should hire athletes; their drive for success and achieving goals, inclination to take the lead, desire to work hard and balance multiple projects, think strategically and tune in to the big picture and long-term goals.