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Get to Know TWENTY20

By: Page Heller  August 29, 2020

TWENTY20 Pro Cycling is an elite Women’s Olympic Development Cycling Team. Their mission is to excel at the highest level as athletes while inspiring others to perform at their absolute best, lead healthy lifestyles, and be engaged participants in the sport of cycling and in their communities.

Through commitment, sacrifice, passion, sports(wo)manship, and teamwork, TWENTY20 will be exceptional athletes, mentors, and role models alongside their competitors, supporters, friends, and family.

We had the opportunity to connect with Nicola Cranmer, TWENTY20's general manager, and ask about their history, performance, goals, and team kits!


History

When the team was formed in 2005, the goal was to create a pathway for athletes to the 2012 London Olympics, and accordingly, the team would be called TWENTY12. It was crucial that as the structure of the team developed over time, there would be opportunities for athletes at the elite, junior development, youth, and para-cycling levels of the sport. This would provide a consistent athlete talent pipeline to groom across the various disciplines and categories of the sport, with a focus on road and track, but also room for athletes who excel on the trails.

In addition, they would impart a shared emphasis on the importance of teamwork, sacrifice, and commitment, as character traits that would make for stronger performance as individuals, as a team, and would also carry over to everyday life, the workplace, and in the community for life beyond cycling.

The team has since sent athletes to compete as members of TWENTY12 in London, TWENTY16 in Rio, which produced 4 Olympic medalists, 17 World Champions, and the current roster boasts 5 National Champions hailing from the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Directed by 3x Olympic gold medalist, Kristin Armstrong, the team model enables experienced and elite riders to perform at their highest potential while offering junior riders a groundbreaking mentor program.

Working with athletes at the highest level of the sport, the team has learned the importance of details and small percentages which add up to significant gains. This includes being at the forefront of esports in cycling with partner Zwift, and working diligently with partners, innovators, and leaders in the sport for product and service advancement.

From grassroots beginnings fourteen years ago to competing on the biggest international stages around the globe, it is the team's mission to inspire others to perform at their absolute best, lead healthy lifestyles, and be engaged participants in the sport of cycling and in their communities.

Performance


TWENTY12 two Olympic medals; Kristin Armstrong (USA) brought home her second consecutive Olympic gold in the Individual Time Trial and Lauren Tamayo (USA) won silver on the track in the Team Pursuit event, the only U.S based road program to achieve cross-disciplinary medals. Following London, the team set its sights on the 2016 Rio Olympics, adopting the respective name.

TWENTY16 was the first American team to recruit a para-cycling athlete, Jamie Whitmore (USA) to the roster of a professional squad and became the only professional team to have an integrated junior program. The team replicated its success with gold, silver, and bronze in Rio. Kristin Armstrong (USA) became the most decorated female cyclist in history with her third consecutive gold in the Individual Time Trial; Chloe Dygert (USA) and Jennifer Valente (USA) captured silver in the Team Pursuit; Jasmin Duehring (CAN) and George Simmerling (CAN) won bronze in the Team Pursuit; and Jamie Whitmore took home gold in the Paralympic Road Race and silver in the Paralympic Individual Pursuit.

TWENTY20 now has Tokyo on the horizon (Postponed until 2021). The team will have a minimum of four athletes competing at the Games, including Chloe Dygert (USA), Jennifer Valente (USA), Jasmin Duehring (CAN), Georgia Simmerling (USA). Three additional teammates are still aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in track, mountain bike, and Paralympi road and track.

A few notable juniors and collegiate riders that have been with the program are; Jennifer Valente(8 years), Chloe Dygert(6 years), Coryn Rivera(5 years), Ruth Winder(2 years), and Megan Guarnier(2 years).

Future


Youth cycling remains an important component of the program. They support eight of the top juniors in the nation ranging in ages 11-18 years old. 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.

For ten 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 teammates values, with an emphasis to support athletes in obtaining the best education possible for life after cycling.

The story behind this years kit

Conceptualized by Thereabouts Gus Morton and Isaac Karsen in collaboration with team general manager, Nicola Cranmer; and created by Berlin-based designer, illustrator, and cyclist, Barry McWilliams; the kit represents the circle of life of the team, the interconnectedness of the riders and staff, and a connection to the natural world.

“The foundational concept for our new kit design came about after the team lost our title sponsor at the end of 2019 and we were heading into an Olympic year,” said Cranmer. “We took stock of what we had and were reminded why it was that we all rode bikes to begin with. We thought of all the things we loved about cycling—the freedom, nature, mate-ship, overcoming, belonging, and support, and then looked to find a representation of these in the wild. That’s when we found the aspen tree. Aspen trees coexist and are held up by a single interconnected root system. Team Twenty20 isn’t all that different.”

What the team didn't expect was that everyone would be forced to retreat from society as the COVID-19 pandemic flipped life on Earth upside down, just as this message and mission were to be introduced. Ironically, the lessons from the aspen tree of interconnectivity, community, and camaraderie are needed now more than ever, and with that in mind, the team is reaching beyond traditional competition for a greater good.

With the 2020 cycling season on hold, TWENTY20 is focused on keeping the cycling community connected and inspired through a variety of efforts in collaboration with various team partners. One such opportunity is this virtual introduction of their new team kit design with partner Zwift, and their continued involvement in esports training and racing.

If you are interested in helping clubs like TWENTY20 grow the sport of cycling, please consider donating to the USA Cycling Foundation's Center of Excellence: DONATE HERE

Photo Courtesy:

Juniors on bikes photo: Brian Hodes

Medal photo: Joe Savola

Maize photo: Dominion Cycling Photography

World Champ Chloe photo: Barbara Kreisle Photography

Juniors piggy back photo: Marcia Seiler