Rally Cycling has signed Holly Breck, Madeline Bemis, and Olivia Ray to its women’s team. The new additions bolster an already formidable roster that delivered stellar results during the shortened 2020 season.
Each of the newcomers spoke about joining the team, their hopes for the coming year, and what they’re looking forward to most.
New sprinter on the block
New Zealand native Ray has been racing in the United States while at college and is familiar with the setup.
“As soon as I got to the States to start college in 2017 my coach at the time said that if I did well, I could get on a proper American team like Rally and I was like, ‘Ah, that’d be really cool!’ Flash forward a couple of years and here we are!”
Not long after signing with the team, Ray took a fantastic victory at the New Zealand National Criterium Championships, proving her chops as a sprinter. Even more motivated with a win under her belt, Ray is looking to learn as much as she can at the top level.
“I think my biggest downfall so far is lack of racing experience, so the big goal for next year is to go to as many races as I can, learn as much as I can and, fingers crossed, go to Europe because that’s the make or break of cycling.”
Ray is looking forward to getting involved in the program.
“Even if I don’t get any results, I’ll still come away with life skills and the experience of being part of a professional team. I’ll be better off in every way.”
Bemis came up against Ray in college competitions while studying at Milligan University in Tennessee. The 22-year-old hopes one day to achieve her dream of teaching high school math, but until then, she’s hoping to increase her toolkit on the bike.
“My strength is holding steady power so I’m looking to excel in time trials. I’ve never actually owned a time trial bike but I think it’s something I could be good at if I can hone in the mental aspect. It also makes me well suited to a supportive role, getting my teammates to the bottom of climbs, being able to pull back breaks or drive breaks when needed.”
Having experienced the US racing scene, Bemis is now looking forward to everything that an international racing calendar has to offer.
“It’ll be awesome to go back to races like Colorado Classic that I’ve raced before and prove how far I’ve come. I’ve never really raced in Europe, so I’ll be ecstatic for that opportunity. It’ll be a huge step up and this season will be about growing and learning.”
Bemis can’t wait to meet her Rally Cycling teammates in the new year.
“I think I’ll be a bit starstruck because they’re women that I’ve followed and looked up to for years. Just to be able to meet them at team camp and then be surrounded by athletes who share the same level and the same drive to work towards a common goal will be awesome.”
Back in the pro ranks
Last but not least is Holly Breck. Based in southern California, Breck grew up racing motorcycles, and in her own words, “anything with two wheels and handlebars” gets her enthused. The 28-year-old has been waiting for a chance to ride in an orange jersey for years.
“I’ve always really liked what Rally Cycling stood for. I’ve been racing against them for at least four years now and I’ve always liked the way they race as a unit, it’s all for one on that team and everything’s really organized. It’s always been on my radar to race for them and to finally get that chance feels kind of like home.”
Breck’s attitude to racing is about as positive as it gets, and she knows just where her strengths lie.
“Single hard days are my favourite. I like to ride aggressively so if the race is hard it’s better for me, it whittles people down and gives me a chance to stay in and do some racing. I’m an all-around ready to pull a card and do what needs to be done.”
With lots of experience, especially on the US domestic scene, Breck is looking to balance teamwork with personal opportunities.
“If the dice roll in my favour, I’d love to get a few stage wins at the bigger local races in the States, like Redlands. On the European scene, I’m looking forward to working for my teammates. They’re all super-strong and they’ve won some races over there, so it would be great to ride for them and see the team get some more wins.”
Steering the ship
Sports director Joanne Kiesanowski is looking forward to welcoming Ray, Bemis, and Breck.
“We’re so happy about the addition of these three exciting women to Rally Cycling. Olivia and Madeline are proven performers, not only in the collegiate racing scene but also at the elite level. We are confident they are ready to perform during our international campaigns in 2021.”
“It feels great to welcome Holly back to a UCI team. She’s a fantastic team player who will be a positive force to an already cohesive unit that has established itself over the past few seasons.”
Kiesanowski explained how the three newcomers will slot into the team.
“Our new additions will complement the hard work and dedication already established by our existing core group of riders. We’re eager to watch them fully integrate into the team and continue the momentum into 2021.”