Oh bloody hell – it’s that time of year again when we try to keep up with which teams are calling it a day, which new ones are starting up, which riders are retiring and which ones are off to new homes. It’s a bit of a headache to stay abreast of it all, so if you hear anything interesting please let us know via Facebook or Twitter.
Unfortunately, with UK women’s cycling not in a good place financially right now, it looks likely we’re going to be saying goodbye to more teams than usual this year – you may already have heard rumours of a couple of well-known outfits shutting down in the near future. In most cases, the people behind those teams won’t just give up and will be working hard searching for new sponsorship in the hope of supporting their riders for another season. Neutral Service’s main aim is to spread awareness of women’s cycling in this country and, by doing so, hopefully help the sport develop into what we all know it can be: that’s why we won’t always publish rumours here, because in many cases doing so can cause problems when existing/potential sponsors hear about them. However, we’re still interested in hearing them, and will attempt to confirm or disprove them as soon as possible by talking to the teams in question and publishing facts as soon as those teams give us permission to do so.
Adalta’s women’s team, which has for several years been one of the most visible at races around London, will not continue in 2018 – a sad loss.
Leaving: Isla Rush (to Liv-AWOL), Rebecca Johnson (to Elmy Cycles for CX, to Fusion RT-Velo Performance for road), Joscelin Lowden (to Storey), Lauren Humphreys (to Boompods-EDCO)
The South-West team had a very successful first season in 2017 and announced a couple of big name signings when revealing its roster at the Cycle Show. Sadly, the team will lose – hopefully only temporarily, and the team emphasises that she’ll always be welcome back – Charlotte Colclough: Charlotte has been diagnosed with iliac artery endofribrosis, a disease which affects blood supply to the legs (also suffered by ex-Team Sky rider Joe Dombrowski, who underwent successful surgery and now rides for Cannondale-Drapac). As the condition can be caused by cycling, the team will be working to increase awareness of it in 2018.
Leaving: Charlotte Colclough (see above)
Joining: Becky Womersley (from Drops), Bethany Taylor (from Vertex-Biemme; Bethany won three rounds of the Odd Down Summer Series in 2017 and took numerous top ten placings – including a silver medal at the Welsh Circuit Race Champs), Georgie Panchaud
Staying: Jess Duffy, Emma Cockcroft, Georgie Panchaud, Ali Sheehan, Sarah-Louise King, Bethan Stubbs
Bonito Squadra Corse
After starting last season as DriverPlan-EDCO Continental Racing, EDCO rapidly became a well-known and popular team on the UK circuit, EDCO’s support continues and will be joined by backing from the team’s new title sponsors, Boompods and NRG Cycles, which ought to see the team go on to enjoy a great season – they’ve certainly got a much strengthened roster. In our opinion, they’re an early leader in the “best jersey design” contest too thanks to kit supplier Velotec.
NRG agreed to become a sponsor in January after the agreement with the previous bike supplier fell through. “We are extremely proud to ride the new season as Boompods-EDCO-NRG,” says manager Terry McDanagh. “Sadly, it seems a common theme for companies to promise support for women’s cycling and then not deliver.”
The team will target the Women’s National Road Series, Women’s Team and Tour Series in 2018 as well as other flagship races at home and overseas.
Leaving: Anna Kay (to Storey), Hetty Niblett (to Keukens Redant)
Joining: Rachel Jary (from VC Londres), Hannah Larbalestier (from Sunsport Velo), Liz Burrows (from Sunsport Velo), Lauren Humphreys (from Aprire-HSS), Jane Hellewell (from NCC-Kuota-Torelli), Miriam Jessett (from Tyneside Vagabonds), Rosie Walsh (from Sunsport Velo). Juniors: Cadi Jones (from Energy Cycles Junior RT),
Staying: Lauren Pestana (Lauren will also ride for Belgian team Isorex), Ellen Mcdermott, Jenn Batey, Hannah Farran, Sarah Walker. Juniors: Marie Lynn, Anna Armstrong, Olivia Fawcett
Emma Lewis is leaving the squad, but will continue helping and mentoring BowlPhish Racing in her spare time for the 2018 season.
This year, the team will be made up of riders from Kent and will focus on competing in regional and national races in order to develop and learn to race as a team in large fields.
Leaving: Cindy Berry (to Pedal Power RT), Emma Lewis (to Fusion RT-Velo Performance)
Joining: Freya Rawlins (from Project 51)
Staying: Zoe Bartlett, Tricia Freeland
British Cycling Academy/Team Breeze
Leaving: Mel Lowther (to WNT), Manon Lloyd (to Drops)
Cycle Engage UK
As the new name suggests, Drops now have increased backing from Trek. Loren Rowney joins as directeur sportif, and the team retains its UCI licence.
Leaving: Becky Womersley (to Bianchi Dama UK), Alice Barnes (to Canyon-SRAM), Ann-Sophie Duyck (reported by Dutch media; new team unknown), Martina Ritter, Rose Osborne (retiring – read about her decision and watch a short documentary about it here), Laura Massey (to NCC-Kuota-Torelli), Rebecca Durrell (to Storey), Sophie Coleman (new team tba)
Joining: Molly Weaver (from Sunweb), Taylor Wiles (from United Healthcare), Nina Buijsman (from Parkhotel), Manon Lloyd (from Breeze), Eva Buurman (from Parkhotel Valkenburg), Kathrin Hammes (from Tibco-SVB),
Staying: Anna Christian, Elizabeth Holden, Annasley Park, Abby-Mae Parkinson, Lucy Shaw, Abi van Twisk, Hannah Payton
Empella-Cyclocross.com have confirmed that Alderney Baker – formerly with Corley Cycles and the legendary Matrix Pro Cycling – has signed up for 2018, along with Melissa Baker and Sophie White. Despite the team’s name, if cyclocross isn’t your thing you may see the team at road and track events too.
Joining: Alderney Baker (junior; from Corley Cycles), Melissa Baker (U23), Sophie White (junior; from Wolverhampton Wheelers)
Staying: Xan Crees (junior), Kate Eedy, Tracey Fletcher, Tiffany Fletcher (U23), Alison Forvargue, Rachel Rutherford
5th Floor CC
Leaving: Adeline Moreau, Clare Ross
Leaving: Mel Brand (to On Form), Charlotte Broughton (to Liv-AWOL)
Fusion RT-Velo Performance
New sponsorship from Velo Performance (which organises coaching camps in Portugal) brings a change of name for the team that won two rounds of the prestigious Women’s Team Series in 2017. In addition, the team also has new backing from Brother UK.
“This is without doubt the most talented and strongest team that Fusion RT has had in its seven-year life time,” says manager Terry Williamson. “We now can impose ourselves on any race in the domestic calendar. Together with our new sponsors, who are fully committed to the team, Fusion RT Velo Performance will be a force to reckon with.” We’re inclined to agree – this is a very strong roster.
Joining: Rebecca Johnson (from Aprire-HSS), Corrine Hall (from Matrix Pro Cycling), Rebecca Goodson (from Velo Schils-Interbike), Emma Lewis (from BowlPhish Racing), Emily Meakin (from Mammoth Lifestyle RT), Fiona Redding (from Radeon-Cycology), Claire Steels (from Peterborough CC)
Staying: Jenny Hudson, Jenny Holden, Fiona Hunter-Johnson, Molly Patch
2018 will be Southampton-based Iris Racing Team’s third season, having started out as 3C Cycle Experience back in 2016, with the aim of supporting riders who had never raced before but wanted to give it a go. The team’s sponsors are mobile bike mechanic VeloCare, storage box manufacturer Really Useful Box, cycling clothing maker Jehu Bikewear and the well-known retail chain Nisa Local – as well as, of course, Iris Bicycles, who make titanium bikes.
Faith Fisher, a member of the team since the early days, returns to active duty after taking time out to have a baby. The team informs NS that it’s also tempted its coach Michele Ward back into competition – Michele enjoyed considerable success at numerous high profile events in the past including victory at the Cheshire Classic in 2004 and won a selection of silver and bronze medals at the National and EuropeanTrack Championships
Leaving: Laura Bailey, Kelly Bennett
Joining: Emily Slavin (from Bath University CC), Michele Ward
Staying: Sarah Hickman, Donna Lovelock, Ali Young, Harriet Hernando, Helen Nicholls, Faith Fisher
Jadan-Weldtite p/b Vive le Velo
Leaving: Holly Flannery (to Swaboladies.nl)
The legendary Les Filles remain with us for 2018, and it has to be said that women’s cycling would be a far poorer sport without them – they’re the friendliest and most fun team on the circuit (but be warned – go out drinking with them and you’re going to need a day off work to recover).
Several of Les Filles’ new members have also ridden as guests in the last few years, and since membership is as much a way of life as simply being part of the squad, ex-members (known in Filles-speak as “social members”) may also show up in the team’s rather fabulous kit at various times throughout the year.
Joining: Hannah Nicklin (from Velo Club Londres), Charlotte Heywood-Mahe (from Twickenham CC), Karla Boddy, Lydia Brookes, Jayne Paine (from Willesden CC)
Staying: Louise Heywood-Mahe, Nicole Oh, Tracy Corbett, Clare Gillott, Delia “Bad Ass” Beddis, Helen McKay, Louise Moriarty, Susan Freeburn
Social Members: Coralie Glaunes, Clem Copie, Laura Greenhalgh, Claire Richardson, Vikki Filsell, Sophie Curle
After a successful first season, the London-based team will be expanding to encompass both an an Under-23 squad and a youth development squad. The team’s first big announcement was rising star Clover Murray who, following a spell with Ford Ecoboost, moved to OnForm and picked up a selection of good results in 2017, including several podiums and a fine selection of wins. More big news came with the announcement that Isla Rush, who despite her young age has gained a wealth of experience including with the Matrix Pro Cycling team, has joined as road captain. This was followed by the team revealing that Charlotte Broughton, previously with Ford Ecoboost, had also come onboard.
The team’s sponsors are Giant Docklands/Liv, AWOL London, Perkins, City & Docklands and Life Residential, while the kit supplier is Forte of Assen. In addition, the team will work with a charity partner, the Basil Skers Multiple Myeloma Trust.
Joining: Clover Murray (from OnForm), Isla Rush (from Aprire-HSS), Charlotte Broughton (from Ford Ecoboost), Sarah Lomas (from Nutcracker Racing), Zoe Brookes (from Hillingdon Slipstreamers), Elizabeth Marvelly (from Hillingdon Slipstreamers), Emily Bridson (from Jersey CC)
Staying: Hannah Bayes, Issy Torrie, Hannah Graveney, Connie Hayes, Rosie Wallace, Savannah Hewson, Lauren Higham
The Youth Development squad consists of Charlotte McGreevy (road and cyclocross; from WXC World Cycling), Iona Moir (cyclocross; from Welwyn Wheelers) and Harley Pell (MTB; from CC Ashwell).
Another team that enjoyed a successful season in 2017, with one very notable highlight being Lauren Murphy’s epic victory at the first ever stand-alone National Junior Championships.
Leaving: Lauren Murphy (to OnForm)
Lovelo Squadra Donne
Lovelo Squadra Donne are the women’s team of Lovelo Cinelli, which has put on some of the biggest and best road and cyclocross races of the last two years – in every instance, giving the women equal (or even greater) billing to the men, with equal prizes to match. When we asked the team’s race organiser Nick Clarke why he felt it was important to do that, his amazement that anyone might do things any differently was plain to see.
They’re easy to spot with their unique kit design and are one of the friendliest teams around: “We’re still the same smiling LSD chicks enjoying our races,” says Melinda Atkinson. “Hoping for a fun season this year, see you at the races!”
Leaving: Amy Louden (to Team ‘Becoming a mummy’), Kerry McCann
Joining: Natalie Brooks (from Bedfordshire Road CC)
Staying: Zoe Allsop, Melinda Atkinson, Gemma Bitaraf, Charlotte Davis, Sam Fawcett, Becky Fawcett, Jennifer Lake, Alice Lethbridge (Alice will also ride time trials for Drag2Zero), Hannah Schnadt, Amy Shilliday, Kristin Stolpe, Bethany Thomson, Charlotte Verrinder
Leaving: Elinor Barker (to Wiggle-High5), Corrine Hall (to Fusion RT-Velo Performance)
Definitely a team to look out for in 2018 – following a good season in 2017, the squad has recruited a couple of top Elite names in Emily Kay, who won a series of medals on track in 2017, and Laura Massey who won the Ryedale GP, Stage 2 at the Tour of the Reservoir and was second at the incredibly tough CiCLE Classic.
A team that’s going places, no doubt about that.
Leaving: Jane Hellewell (to Boompods-EDCO/Autoglas Wetteren)
Joining: Emily Kay (from WNT), Laura Massey (from Drops), Georgia Mansfield (from RT23), Jen George (from Storey), Kim Baptista (from Nutcracker Racing), Jose Gilbert, Leah Dixon (from Wolverhampton Wheelers), Chloe Baggs, Autumn Collins (from Billy Bilsland Cycles), Steph Alden (from Malta), Hannah Gruber-Stadler (from Austria)
Staying: Alice Sharpe, Rhiannon Gornall, Sophie Thackwray
In addition, former French National Road Race and Time Trial Champion Edwige Pitel will race for the team at a few selected events in 2018.
A new team organised by three-time National Road Series Champion and former National Circuit Race Champion Nikki Juniper, who gave Neutral Service the chance to be first to announce the team’s existence to the world. It’s a strong squad with great depth of talent, and you’re very likely to see their jerseys (which we’ll also reveal soon) at the front of the peloton and on numerous podiums throughout the year.
The team is also organising a race to take place near Malvern on the 25th of March.
Joining: Nikki Juniper, Jo Tindley, Gabby Shaw, Kelly Murphy, Emma Coldwell, Maddie Gammons, Adele Martin, Jenny Rutter, Anna Weaver
Not many new teams would even dream of having a first season like the one enjoyed by OnForm – between the women’s and men’s team, they clocked up no fewer than 85 podiums and an incredible 65 victories, including first team overall at the Women’s Team Series and at the 3 Days of Bedford.
In December, OnForm announced that it had signed Amira Mellor to ride road races with the team. Mellor is best-known as a cyclocross rider and was Junior Hational Champion, but is also highly respected on the road; she’ll transfer to the team at the end of the ‘cross season in March.
The team has also announced that it will be backed in 2018 by Brother, a company which has provided a great deal of support to cycling in the UK for some years.
Leaving: Clover Murray (to Liv-AWOL), Amy Hill (to Masslandster International)
Joining: Amira Mellor, Jessica Finney (from Portsmouth North End CC), Mel Brand (from Ford Ecoboost), Lauren Murphy (from Liv-Epic) Gaby Homer (junior, from Team 22), Kate Wootton (junior, from Lee Valley Youth CC), Josie Griffin (junior, from Welwyn Wheelers), Alice Standish (junior, from Bourne Wheelers), Kess Claxton (junior, Ellen Barker (junior, from Manx Viking Wheelers), Alex Rimmer (junior, from Mountain Goat Coaching)
Staying: Sian Botteley, Gemma Lianne Sargent, Lucy Harper, Charlotte Redden, Alicia Speake, Anna Henderson, Charmaine Porter (formerly Ford Ecoboost and Army Cycling Union; Charmaine joined in September 2017, this will be her first full season with the team). Juniors: Elena Spanou, Emily Ashwood, Holly Hoy, Jessica Woodworth
Pedal Power RT
Joining: Cindy Berry (from BowlPhish Racing)
Staying: Gemma Melton
Staying: Isabella Stone and Amy Smith (both riders will also compete abroad for Isorex)
Sarah Storey’s team has announced that current National Team Pursuit champion Emily Nelson has joined with immediate effect ready for the winter track season. “The team are well known for helping riders with the balancing act of National Team membership and road racing so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to be able to continue my road development as I also focus on track goals with the British Cycling team,” says Emily – read more here.
Leaving: Jen George (to NCC-Kuota-Torelli), Laura Cameron (new team to be confirmed)
Joining: Anna Kay (from EDCO), Rebecca Durrell (from Drops), Ffion James (from Abergavenny Road Club), Joscelin Lowden (from Aprire-HSS),
Staying: Monica Dew, Neah Evans, EJay Harris, Chanel Mason, Hannah Dines, Beth Crumpton, Emily Nelson, Sarah Storey
Leaving: Hannah Larbalestier, Liz Burrows and Rosie Walsh are all off to Boompods-EDCO. Gabriella Nordin and Victoria Strila are going to the new TW1 team. Felicity Gledhill is joining Team 22.
Team 22 and Pink Jersey RT
Manager Colin Batchelor – along with a few notable others – has made it his life’s work to sort out junior girl’s cycling and with the sport all but forgotten about by the powers that be in cycling for so long, all those of us who care about the future of women’s cycling owe him and others who share his aims a very big thank you indeed. In 2017, Colin will be running a new team alongside Team 22, which has become an established part of the British scene – called Pink Jersey RT, it will be focused entirely on assisting a small squad of Youth A (U-16) girls as they embark on their racing careers. So far, four riders have joined up and will be joined by a fifth.
The team will announce a new sponsor in the near future.
Leaving: Gaby Homer (to OnForm), Savannah Morgan, Sophie Enever
Joining: Abby Stewart (junior; from Glasgow Riderz), Anna Shackley (junior; from Glasgow Riderz), Chloe Jones (junior; from Black Line), Felicity Gledhill (junior; from Sunsport Velo), Lydia Watts (junior; from Zappi’s), Tara Ferguson (U23)
Staying: Juniors: Georgia Ashworth, Lizzie Catlow, Lily Greenhalgh, Ellie Park, April Tacey; U23: Sammy Verrill, Flora Gillies, Phoebe Martin, Rosa Martin
Pink Jersey RT
A new team launched for 2018 by Twickenham CC. TW1 Racing will compete in the Women’s National Team Series, National Women’s Road Series and the Tour of Malta among other races. More on the team – and the importance of teams of this type – here.
Joining: Gabriella Nordin (from Sunsport Velo), Victoria Strila (from Sunsport Velo), Claire Hammond (from Twickenham CC)
VC St Raphael
Velo Club Londres
VCL, as the name suggests, are really a cycling club rather than a team. However, they’re such force in the British women’s cycling scene, both in London and elsewhere and on road, track and off-road, that they’re included here.
Leaving: Emma Jane Hornsby (interview here; new team to be revealed), Rachel Jary (to Boompods-Edco)
Velo Schils Interbike
Leaving: Caroline Guest (Caroline in fact left earlier this year to return to Ford CC), Rebecca Goodson (to Fusion RT-Velo Performance)
Joining: Sophie Holmes (from Team Terminator), Gabriella Duckworth (from Lune RCC), Isabel Darvill (from Vision Innovative Leisure), Natasha Smith (from Racing Chance)
Staying: Sandra Mackay, Nicola Soden
Vertex Biemme manager Emma Coldwell got in touch with us to explain the future of the team.
“We’re having to take a step back from managing the team for next year,” she said. “It will still exist but in a different form, and will be more self-managed as it was affecting work and family with time commitments. I work for Biemme UK and I am passionate about bringing some decent cycling clothing for women. That hasn’t changed! Rather than offer sponsorship to Vertex, I would still like to offer some sponsorship to some ladies teams this year – and I think it will be a better way of helping.” (See also NJC-Biemme-Echelon)
Leaving: Bethany Taylor (to Bianchi Dama UK)
Manager Richard Reddy says “We have funding for 2018 and will be running two teams, men’s and women’s, each of about 7-8 riders.”
Leaving: Maddie Gammons (new team to be revealed), Louise Hart (new team to be revealed), Isabel Darvill (new team to be revealed)
Joining: Olivia Bentley (from Didcot Phoenix CC), Clare Parkin (from VC Equipe-Flix), Connie Stevens (from Palmer Park Velo), Beccy Waters (from Performance Cycles)
Staying: Gabriella Butler, Maddie Howden, Natasha Reddy, Tamara Davenne
Leaving: Amy Roberts (to Parkhotel Valkenburg), Jolien D’Hoore (to Orica-Scott), Mayukp Hagiwara (t0 Ale-Cipollini), Claudia Lichtenberg-Hausler (retiring), Anna Sanchis-Chafer (unconfirmed)
Joining: Elinor Barker (from Matrix), Kirsten Wilde (from Cylance), Eri Yonamine (from FDJ Nouvelle Aquitane Futuroscope), Katie Archibald (from WNT), Lisa Brennauer (from Canyon-SRAM), Macey Stewart (from TIS Racing), Martina Ritter (from Drops), Rachele Barbieri (from Cylance),
Staying: Giorgia Bronzini, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Nettie Edmondson, Elisa Longo Borghini, Emilia Fahlin, Julie Leth, Grace Garner, Lucy Garner, Amy Cure, Eri Yonamine (from FDJ Nouvelle Aquitane Futuroscope)
WNT apeared on the scene two seasons ago and right away became one of the biggest, strongest and most successful teams in the country.
Their first new signing this year is Under-23 National Road Race Champ Mel Lowther, formerly with Team Breeze; though only 21 years of age Mel has extensive experience at the top UK races as well as in a variety of international events and has long been tipped as one of the most promising young riders around. Rider and team seem a very good match indeed, and it looks likely we’ll be seeing them on many podiums next year – more here. The team has also signed German star Lin Teutenberg, whose surname will be familiar – she’s the niece of former National Champ and Ronde van Vlaanderen Ina-Yoko, and is already following in her tyre tracks with National titles for the time trial and, on track, the points race.
Leaving: Keira McVitty (to Isorex), Emily Kay (to NCC-Kuota-Torelli), Katie Archibald (to Wiggle-High5), Gabriella Shaw (new team unknown), Rebecca Rimmington (to concentrate on triathlon), Hannah Walker (new team unknown), Rebecca Carter (retiring), Rose Osborne (retiring)
Joining: Mel Lowther (from Team Breeze), Aafke Soet (19-year-old Dutch rising star Aafke was fourth overall in the Mountains competition at this year’s Thüringen Ladies Tour), Lin Teutenberg, Henrietta Colborne (from SwaboLadies.nl), , Eva Buurman (from Parkhotel Valkenburg)
Staying: Lydia Boylan, Hayley Jones, Hayley Simmonds, Natalie Grinczer, Eileen Roe, Elise Maes, Anna Badegruber
WXC World Cycling
Leaving: Charlotte McGreevy (to Liv-AWOL)
Alice Cobb and Emma Grant are moving to Tibco-SVB from Lares-Waowdeals and Colavita-Bianchi.
Helen Wyman, who has won most of the top cyclocross races in the world and has no fewer than nine national championships and two European championships to her name, has started her own team named Xypex-Verge Sport – and, because she’s Helen and does a great deal more for women’s cycling than just win (lots of) stuff, it’s about more than racing. More details here.
Keira McVitty (formerly WNT), Lauren Pestana (who will also continue to ride for EDCO Continental), Isabella Stone and Amy Smith (who will continue with Project 51) will all ride overseas for the legendary Isorex NoaAqua, where they’ll join fellow Brit Genevieve Whitson who remains with the team.
Megan Chard, meanwhile, is leaving Isorex for the new HealthMate-CycleLive team.
Nikki Brammeier is leaving Boels-Dolmans team after two years with the Dutch outfit for a brand new team she’s set up called Mudiiita. More on that here.
Also making the trip to the Low Countries is Holly Flannery, previously with Jadan-Weldtite, who is off to the Netherlands to ride for SwaboLadies.nl.
Dani King is leaving Cylance and will race in 2018 with Marianne Vos’ team, now known as Waowdeals Pro Cycling.
Dani Christmas is joining Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias. Also moving to the Basque team is Henrietta Colborne, formerly of SwaboLadies.
Hannah Barnes remains with Canyon-SRAM. Alice Barnes is joining the team too.
Claire Rose is moving to Cervelo-Bigla from Visit Dallas-DNA.
Emma Grant is leaving Colavita-Bianchi, her new team is to be confirmed.
Lizzy Banks, who spent most of the 2017 season with Storey Racing, is heading west – she’s accepted an offer to join United Health Care, one of the top UCI professional squads. More on that here
British Cycling Junior Academy and Development Squad
Girls Endurance: Georgia Ashworth (team 22), Elynor Backstedt (Backstedt/HotChillee), Ella Barnwell (Towy Racing CC), Anna Docherty (Liv-EPIC), Pfeiffer Georgi (Liv-Epic), Ellie Russell (Sportcity Velo), Amelia Sharpe (RL360 Isle of Man), Ellie Smith (Ythan CC)
(If rumours have been published on other websites, we’ll include them here)