Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24 Team has announced their UCI roster for the 2023 season, featuring a diverse squad of track, mountain biking, gravel, Zwift eSports, and para-cycling athletes. The 2023 Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24 Team is a strong team combining experience and newcomers.
Jennifer Valente Returns
Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24 roster includes longtime team member, Tokyo Olympic gold and bronze medalist, and 2022 Omnium World Champion Jennifer Valente (USA). Valente has re-signed for her twelfth season with VBR TWENTY24.
“I’m very excited to continue riding with VBR Twenty24 for the coming year. This program has been a pillar for my career and foundation of Olympic and World Championship success. The team provides the latitude for me to race road or other disciplines while having a continued focus on the track discipline.” Commented Valente. “The approach of this team has aligned with my long-term planning on and off the bike and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue in 2023. The model of this program has allowed me to focus on performance while understanding a necessary balance away from elite sport. The group of athletes in this program have a mix of athletic backgrounds that creates a vibrant environment throughout the year. I’m looking forward to lining up alongside old and new teammates in 2023 and building on the achievements of the past decade with this team.”
Mejias and Arreola Return to Roster
Co-Captain, two time Olympian and road sprinter Marlies Mejias Garcia (CUB), will continue with the program on a multiple-year contract following impressive 2022 race results. Sofía Arreola (MEX), another long-time team member and returning force on track and road. She will continue her dual role as sprinter and opportunistic breakaway rider. The dynamic Latina duo of Mejias and Arreola put their heat on the criterium circuit this year including dominating Intelligentsia Cup overall win and Gateway Cup in September. “The team that we have built for 2023 is very powerful, we have multiple athletes capable of winning but also a team that will work hard for each other. We have some very strong new athletes that I am excited to race with. We all make each other better.” Said Mejias. “I look forward to seeing what we can do together!”
Mountain biking and gravel superpower Melisa Rollins (USA) has also renewed to race in 2023. Rollins displayed her determination at Unbound Gravel back in June. She placed 5th place overall, and 3rd in the LifeTime Grand Prix competition that day. Rollins also secured a top 10 overall at the conclusion of the series. Rollins will race a combined road and mountain bike/gravel schedule in 2023. Emily Ehrlich advances into her second year with the team and will have a stronger road and time trial focus.
Jennifer Valente (USA)
Laurel Quinones (USA)
Nicole Steinmetz (USA)
Melisa Rollins (USA)
Dani Morshead (USA)
Marlies Mejias (CUB)
Caileigh Filmer (CAN)
Emily Ehrlich (USA)
Sofia Arreola (MEX)
UCI Junior Trainee
Homare Yamashita (USA)
Samantha Scott (USA)
Rounding out the full squad is multi-time Paralympic medalist Jamie Whitmore (USA), ultra-cyclist and world record holder Amanda Coker (USA), who will compete on the road again in 2023 ultra races and lead the team’s Zwift community rides. Development athlete Rukhsar Habibzai (AFG) continues to advance in her skills while championing women’s rights here in the U.S. after leaving her home in Afghanistan.
ESports team captain Kristin Kulchinsky (USA) will be returning to lead the squad of Elena Wu Yan (USA), Mairen Lawson (CAN), Alana Brady (USA) Ashlee McIntosh (USA) and Naomi de Pennington (GBR). They will be joined frequently by UCI team members to compete in Pro level Zwift Grand Prix events and Zwift Community events hosted by WTRL. The Zwift team is currently ranked #1 worldwide with Kulchinsky ranked as the #1 female athlete.
The team has added four new cyclists this year, including Caileigh Filmer (CAN), Danielle Morshead (USA), Nicole Steinmetz (USA), and Laurel Quiñones (USA). Filmer, Morshead, and Quiñones all share a common background in rowing, a sport they say is strategically much different from cycling. However, their love for endurance remains the same on the bike as it was on the boat. Some have already familiarized themselves with cycling in Virginia’s Blue Ridge during a fall training camp this past November.