British rider Katie Colclough has signed a deal with the US-based HTC-Highroad women's squad for 2011.
Colclough, who turned 21 yesterday, finalised the deal over the Christmas period after the team's manager contacted her Olympic Academy coach Simon Cope.
"It's late in the season, but it's a bonus because they're fully supportive of my track commitments so it's just what i needed," Colclough said. "It means I still get the highest level of road [racing] and can still focus on 2012."
Colclough has come through the whole British Cycling system on her journey to the top ranked UCI pro team. She was selected for the Talent Team before moving on to the Olympic Development Programme and finally the Olympic Academy.
"I never thought I'd make it through all the stages," she said. "I went along to the local Talent Team club and did a test - didn't even know what it was. I got through one stage, and then the next, and then went aong to the track and before I knew it I'd picked road and track as my thing."
Colclough joins 2004 road world champion Judith Ardnt, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Charlotte Becker, Amber Neben, Chloe Hosking, Leigh Howard, Amanda Miller, Ally Stacher, Evelyn Stevens, Adrie Visser and Emilia Fahlin at HTC as they look to take on a strong Garmin Cervelo line up and the new Italian team backed by Mario Cipollini.
But before she races with her new team mates she will focus on gaining selection for women's team pursuit first the Manchester World Cup and then the World Championships. Both a women's GB team and a 100% ME team will ride at Manchester, although there are currently nine riders vying for those six positions.
Those six positions will become four for the world champs with three to ride in the emerging discipline. Colclough's chances are good after she won bronze at the Melbourne round of the UCI track World Cup, and was part of GB's gold medal winning team pursuit squad at the European Championships.
The HTC-Highroad squad is also training in Majorca, based on the other side of the island near Palma. Earlier this week, one of their riders, Carla Swart, was tragically killed after being hit by a truck while out cycling in her native South Africa.
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