Bridie O’Donnell announced in Amgen Tour of California Invitational Women’s TT Lineup

Bridie O’Donnell

3 Time Oceania Champion and 2009 Australian Open Pro Time Trial Champ Bridie O’Donnell has been announced as one of the ten elite women to contest the 2nd annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s TT presented by SRAM.
The event, run in conjunction with the Mens Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California in Bakersfield, is set to once again showcase the very top female Time Triallists in the world, with 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Kristin Armstrong (USA) recieving top billing against esteemed company including Sweden’s Emilia Fahlin (Specialized Lululemon) and USA’s Alison Powers (Now and Novartis for MS).

For Vanderkitten-Focus, the invite represents an important milestone in the development of the squad as a top tier team.

According to Vaderkitten-Focus Sports Director Jono Coulter: “Vanderkitten has always strived to empower women through athletics, and we are thrilled that AEG and Medallist have once again created an event in which the worlds best female cyclists are showcased alongside the best male riders in the world at their event. ¬†Vanderkitten owner Dave Verrecchia has consistently built upon the success of the program every year, and we were thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium in 2008, where the kitties were among the crowd favourites! Over successive years we have built an International squad capable of competing on the world stage and now, with the inclusion of Bridie, have one of the worlds top Time Triallists on our team. To have Bridie rocking the Vanderkitten-Focus kit in one of the most prestigious specialty women’s events in the USA. We could not be more happy”.

Bridie will race a 2012 Focus Izalco Chrono 1.0 at the event, with Kask K.31 Chrono Helmet giving her an aero advantage over the 29km slightly rolling course.

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Emily Collins and Kate Chilcott Sizzle Down Under!

Emily Collins throwing down. (c) Anthony Sill Photography

Kiwi Kittens Emily Collins and Kate Chilcott rode impressively the past two weekends in Australia and New Zealand. At the NSW Skoda International GP, Emily Collins scored 5th overall after two days of competition against the best teams in Australia including BikeExchange.com.au, Specialized SA and Jayco AIS (now GreenEdge-AIS).

Dimunitive Kate Chilcott was impressive in her debut for Vanderkitten-Focus

The weekend after their Aussie foray, the two athletes travelled from Auckland to Christchurch to compete in the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling, which drew hundreds of competitive and recreational cyclists from across NZ. Emily led out the day 1 Watarai 90Km Challenge, finishing 2nd int he headwind sprint with Kate in 3rd.
The following day the Vanderkitten-Focus riders were caught out by a solo move late in the race and finished 2nd and 4th.
This gave Emily and Kate 1st and 2nd Overall for the weekend, a fantastic sign as they head into NZ Criterium Championships this weekend, followed by RaboDirect NZ National Elite Road Championships in January.

Kate rocking it in Australia (c) Anthony Sill Photography

Emily Collins Wins the Safeway Pleasanton Fast and Furious Criterium

Emily Collins 1st

20 year old Kiwi sensation Emily Collins has won the 2011 Safeway Pleasanton Fast and Furious Criterium in California. Collins bested Taylor Wiles (Peanut Butter &Co TWENTY12) and Liza Rachetto (Primal/ Map My Ride) with a swift sprint at the end of a hard fought criterium in downtown Pleasanton.
This inaugural event with a Women’s prizepurse of over $3000 saw competitors from some of the best teams in the USA vying for line honours. Strong moves by multiple time Irish National Champion Olivia Dillon (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) and USA National team representative Alison Starnes (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) were marked by riders from Primal/ Map My Ride, Red Racing, Fremont Bank and Emily”s Vanderkitten Focus teammates Jenn Reither, Jasmin Hurikino, Starla Teddergreen and Courntey Dimple.
In the last lap, Alison Starnes made a strong solo bid, but it was Starla Teddergreen who drove the pace to put Vanderkitten-Focus back in contention going into the final two turns.
In the finale Liza Rachetto hit out before the final turn but the young Kiwi speedster Collins showed a clean set of heels to win the sprint in front of an awesome crowd.
Collins will be headed home to Auckland at the end of the month, after a spectacular season that has seen her podium at some of the biggest races in the USA. Her win has proven her ability as one of the top riders of the new generation in international Women’s Cycling.

The previous day, Jazzy Hurikino and Jennifer Reither placed 3rd and 5th at Strawberry Crown Criterium in Watsonville, CA. Jazzy was part of a racelong breakaway that went on lap 2 containing Pascale Schnider and eventual winner Coryn Rivera.
In the finale Jazzy used her tactical sense to try and outplay two of the fastest riders in North America, but had to settle for a fantastic 3rd. Reither went ahead of the field with Starnes in the final 5 laps, and Emily Collins won the bunch sprint for 6th. On the same day in Southern California, Jen Weinbrecht scored 5th place at the prestigous Brentwood GP. A great day to be VK!

Hurikino 3rd and Reither 5th at Strawberry Crown Criterium