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2011 Team Introduction: Diadora - Pasta Zara - Manhattan
By Bart Hazen
Date: 1/18/2011
2011 Team Introduction: Diadora - Pasta Zara - Manhattan

2011 Team Introduction: Diadora - Pasta Zara - Manhattan
Introduction of the American UCI Team Diadora - Pasta Zara with a.o. Mara Abbott, Shelley Olds, Sinead Miller and Amber Rais. Team will be directed by success trainer Manel Lacambra.

Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan
The new team kit of the Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team Photo © Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan

The Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team turned into it's 16th season as a professional cycling team. Before the team was known as Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan. From the beginning the team was guided by Maurizio Fabretto. Since this year success coach and trainer Manel Lacambra has been added to the staff as team manager. He will be supported by Aldo Piccolo and former top pro and one of the best riders in history Diana Ziliute. It's the first season the team will ride as a USA team thanks to shoe main sponsor Diadora.

Mara Abbott
Mara Abbott will be one of the team captains. Photo © Bart Hazen

The history of the team began in 1996 and Fabretto was the first one who contracted riders to his team not coming from Italy. Particularly, Lithuanian and Ukrainian girls. He gave them the opportunity to live in Italy and grow as a professional cyclist in a good training environment near the town Cornuda. Amongst them also Diana Ziliute, now assistant manager of the team, who grew to a real symbol of the team. Next to Ziliute the team also had top stars as Edita Pucinskaite, Alexandra Koliasseva, Marion Clignet, Gabriella Pegnolato, Jolanda Polikeviciute, Zoulfia Zabirova, Nicole Cooke, Nicole Brändli, Gunn-Rita Dahle, Simona Krupeckaite, Marta Bastianelli and current World Champion Giorgia Bronzini in it's team. For the 2011 season the team is counting on Giro Donne winner Mara Abott, former Giro Donne winner Claudia Häusler and USA's topsprinter Shelley Olds. Next to Olds and Abbott the team has two more American's on the 2011 team with Sinead Miller and Amber Rais.

Claudia Häusler
Claudia Häusler will be one of the other GC riders of the team next to Abbott and Zabelinskaya. Photo © Bart Hazen

In the past 15 years the team had lots of success and gained lots of national titles, world titles and even olympic titles. The team also won several overall World Cups, the Tour de France, the Giro Donne, European Championships and many more. A part of the palmares of the team:

1996: Gold medal Olympic Games Atlanta (road, Zoulfia Zabirova)
1997: European Championship (time trial, Diana Ziliute)
1997: World Championship (track, Natalia Karimova)
1998: World Cup (road, Diana Ziliute)
1998: Tour de France (road, Edita Pucinskaite)
1998: European Championship (time trial, Diana Ziliute)
1998: World Championship (road, Diana Ziliute)
1998: World Championship (track, Marion Clignet)
1999: Tour de France (road, Diana Ziliute)
1999: World Championship (road, Edita Pucinskaite)
1999: World Championship (track, Marion Clignet)
1999: Italian Championships (time trial, Gabriella Pregnolato)
2000: World Cup (road, Diana Ziliute)
2000: Bronze medal Olympic Games Sidney (road, Diana Ziliute)
2000: Silver medal Olympic Games Sidney (track, Marion Clignet)
2000: World Championship (time trial, Marion Clignet)
2000: European Championship (road, Alessandra D’Ettore)
2001: World Championship (mountain bike, Nicole Cooke)
2001: World Championship Junior (time trial, Nicole Cooke)
2001: World Championship Junior (road, Nicole Cooke)
2001: World Championship (road, Jolanda Polikeviciute)
2003: World Cup (road, Nicole Cooke)
2003: European Championship (track, Giorgia Bronzini)
2004: Tour of Italy (road, Nicole Cooke)
2005: European Championship (road, Gessica Turato)
2007: World Championship (road, Marta Bastianelli)
2008: World Cup (track, Viljia Sereikaite)
2009: World Cup (track points race, Giorgia Bronzini)

Manel Lacambra
Manel Lacambra will direct the USA registered UCI team Photo © Cervelo TestTeam

A list of all the victories, can be found here

A list of all the national titles, can be found here

Shelley Olds
American Shelley Olds will be the main sprinter of the team. Photo © Bart Hazen

2010 season
The 2010 season for Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan was one with lots of ups and one big down. The season was overshadowed by the terrible training accident of young promising Marina Romoli in June. Romoli got seriously injured when a car pulled across her path to the south of Lecco in the North West of Italy. According her training companions the collision was unavoidable and she hit the side of the car, smashing through the window. The now 22 year old was taken to the hospital in Lecco with serious facial injuries and a fractured vertebrae. Later she was transferred to the San Rafaelle Hospital in Milano where she was placed into an induced coma. She underwent an operation of several hours, with doctors using 500 stitches to rebuild her face. The operation was succesful as the life of the young Italian was no longer in danger. A few days later she underwent another operation at her spine which wasn't possible in the beginning due to too much trauma in the area.

Marina Romoli
Marina Romoli (L) had a terrible accident in which she had to be operated in her face and spine. Now half a year later she continues to work hard and is not giving up her dream. On the photo we can see Romoli on the podium of the 2006 Junior World Championships together with her 2010 teammates Rasa Leleivyte and Eleonora Patuzzo. Photo © Bart Hazen

In the months after the accident Romoli underwent breathing exercises and intensive physical therapy in order to regain the use of her legs. Her motivation is to be able to walk normal again one day. Romoli, who is from Recanati in the Marche region near to the Adriatic coast, was already in her fourth season as a professional cyclist. The 2006 World Junior Championship silver medallist is one of the most promising young Italian riders. In her career thus far she finished third in the 2008 GP Elsy Jacobs, 8th in the 2009 Tour of Chongming Island collecting several top 10 finishes in the stages and 8th at the Italian Road Nationals in 2009. She started the 2010 season very well with a fifth place in the openings stage of the Tour of Qatar, a 10th place in the GP Comune di Cornaredo, a 12th place in the GP Liberazione and a 4th place in the Muri Fermani "Le Nostre Fiandre". Romoli does not know if she can ever get back to racing, but she has a strong will to get back and to have control over her body and her life again. Recently she posted on her Facebook "I continue to work hard ... I won't give up ... I can't stop pursuing my dream even if it seems so far away and unreachable!".

Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan
A part of the Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team at the 2010 Tour of Flanders team presentation. Photo © Bart Hazen

Despite the terrible accident the team had quite a good season with eight wins, three second places and fourteen third places in UCI races. It all started in the first UCI stage race of the season with young rising star Rasa Leleivyte (2006 Junior World Champion) winning the first stage in the Ladies Tour of Qatar. Leleivyte continued to impress with a third place overall and the win in the GP Comune di Cornaredo one month later. In September she was also the best in the fourth stage of the Trophee D'Or in which she finished as 13th overall. Leleivyte was also fourth in the GP Liberazione, 3rd in the road race at the Lithuanian nationals, 14th in the Route de France to end with an excellent eight place at the Worlds Road Race in Geelong. It made her the second best scoring rider of the team after Russian Olga Zabelinskaya.

Click on the photo for larger image
Alona Andruk
Eleonora Patuzzo
Alona Andruk (L) and Eleonora Patuzzo (R) will stay on the team in 2011. Photo © Bart Hazen

Talking about Olga Zabelinskaya. She is a former Junior ITT World Champion and U23 European ITT Champion (2002) and a winner of a Tour de L'Aude stage in 2006. In 2010 she returned to cycling from maternity leave, after having two children. The first part of the season didn't go well as she was knocked over by a car in April but she came back strongly with the overall win in the prestigious Thüringen Rundfahrt. She was also second (ITT) and fifth (RR) at the Russian Nationals, 9th overall in the Giro Donne, 3rd overall in the Route de France, 4th in the Memorial Fardelli, 3rd in the Chrono Champenois and 13th in the road race at the World Championships in Geelong.

Other succesful riders of the team were Inga Cilvinaite (Stage 2 Trophee D'Or), Alona Andruk (Stage 1 Trophee D'Or), Ausrine Trebaite (Lithuanian Champion RR) and Eleonora Patuzzo (Stage 3 Giro del Trentino). The latter one was also succesful in the Trophee D'Or with a third place overall and a third place in the fifth stage. She also finished on the podium in one of the stage of the Emakumen Bira. Viija Sereikaite second at the Lithuanian ITT Champs, Lorena Foresi third at the Italian RR Championships. Sylwia Kaputsta fifth overall in the Giro del Trentino and Oxana Kozonchuk fourth at the Russian Championships (RR) are other riders who achieved some good results in 2010.

For more of the 2010 season highlights click here

Sinead Miller
New signing Sinead Miller. Photo © Bart Hazen

2011 season
As we already mentioned will Diadora be the new main-sponsor of the Pasta Zara-Manhattan team which will be registered as a major US-team. The team will be captained by Giro Donne winner Mara Abbott. Other "big riders" on the team are Thüringen Rundfahrt winner Olga Zabelinskaya and 2009 Tour de L'Aude and Giro Donne winner Claudia Häusler. In 2010 Häusler was the best in the Emakumen Bira. USA's Shelley Olds will be the main sprinter of the ambitious team. Other American riders on the team led by sports-director Manel Lacambra are Sinead Miller and Amber Rais Pierce. Another interesting newcomer is Australian Rachel Neylan. She started cycling three years ago after she competed in running contest before. Last year she finished fourth in the road race at the Australian nationals but was sidelined last week due to an injury.

The team of team owner Maurizio Fabretto is part of the same structure as the men's Geox-TMC squad. Diadora is now owned by Italian shoe manufactuer. In 2011 the team will competes in both North America and Europe.

Rachel Neylan
New signing Rachel Neylan. Photo © Bart Hazen

It all started in July when Diadora sponsored the Giro Donne. It was a huge success for the promotion of the brand that the management of Diadora deciced to invest in women's cycling. The team will be part of a plan to conquer the American (cycling) shoe market. The main target of the team will be the Giro Donne with GC riders as Abbott, Haussler and Zabelinskaya.
Despite the early season racing in Australia and New Zealand the real season has still to begin but the team already started it very well with Shelley Olds winning the Grand Prix Vila de Parets on the circuit of Catalunya (Barcelona).

The real European season will kick-off for the team on March 17 in the GP Cornaredo followed by the GP Etrusca, Trofeo Binda and the classic races in Belgium and the Netherlands in April. Before Shelley Olds, Rachel Neylan and Amber Rais will kick-off the season for the team in the Tour of New Zealand, February 23 to 27 and Eleonora Patuzzo will ride the Tour of Qatar for the Italian national team.

In the USA the team will compete in the Tour of Gila, the Liberty Classic and the Nature Valley Grand Prix. For the whole race calendar, please visit the following link.

2011 Roster:
2 ANDRUK Alona
4 HÄUSLER Claudia
6 MILLER Sinead
7 NEYLAN Rachel
8 OLDS Shelley
9 PATUZZO Eleonora
10 RAIS Amber
11 STEFANI Francesca
12 UEBELHART Jessica

New in the team: Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12), Claudia Häusler (Cervelo TestTeam), Sinead Miller (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12), Rachel Neylan (Team System Data), Shelley Olds (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12), Amber Rais (Kuota Speed Kueens), Francesca Stefani (Elite) and Jessica Uebelhart (Bigla Cycling Team).

Out of the team: Lorena Foresi (Gauss), Eneritz Iturriaga (Lointek), Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss), Rasa Leleivyte (Vaiano - Solaristech), Svetlana Pauliukaite (Elite), Marina Romoli (sidelined after a terrible accident), Vilija Sereikaite (Elite) and Ausrine Trebaite (Elite)

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