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VELO BELLA - The Elite Women's Cyclocross team

Velo Bella Website


The women of team Velo Bella are ready to make a muddy splash in their sophomore year as the first all female cycling team to compete on the national circuit. The surprise team of the 2004 US cyclocross scene, Velo Bella looks optimistically towards an exciting 2005 with a troupe of strong riders and big ambitions for the season.


All 6 of last year’s riders have returned to the team, including two 2005 US National Cyclocross Team members, Sarah Kerlin and Barb Howe; the 2005 NCAA National Cyclocross Champion, Melodie Metzger; and 2003 US National Cyclocross Team member Christine Vardaros with veteran Bellas Erin Kassoy and Sami Fournier adding their power and cunning to the bunch.  New to the team, but not to the podium is Ann Fitzsimmons. “We’re honored to have Ann on the team,” explained team founder, Sabine Dukes, “She entered her first cyclocross race two years ago as part of a Dirty Dozen contest we held to encourage beginners. To see her racing on the elite level now is extremely rewarding.”


In 2005, Velo Bella’s elite cyclocross team will focus on the US Gran Prix Cyclocross Series and the National Championships. Velo Bella’s calendar includes over 30 local races, UCI events, and regional championships. The team plans to win North American UCI events, place in the top three at Nationals, and send at least two riders to the World Championships.


The team will race on custom designed blue or pink Rock Lobster cyclocross bikes which will feature the lovely pink Chris King headset. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the headset will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Other sponsors include Easton , Crank Brothers, Fizik, Limar, Wipperman, IRD, Good Vibrations, Mr Grumpy’s, and the never grumpy Sheila Moon. The team is actively searching for a title sponsor, as currently the riders are funding their own racing. “We had to scramble last year to help send our two riders to Worlds”, said Sabine, “Fortunately our cyclocross community came through to help the team”.


Velo Bella’s contagious spirit and unique approach to women’s competitive cycling have created a following across the United States and around the world. The Bellas encourage women to cycle, no matter what their level.  The distinctive Velo Bella kit can be found on recreational riders, elite level racers, and all those in between.


The soul of Velo Bella can be summed up by racer Sarah Kerlin: “I love the Bellas because I found a circle of friends on and off the bike, and an established network of women I wanted to hang around with and who could support me at each level of progression in my cycling career, I’ve made some GREAT long term friends and I know we’ll help each other for years to come.” 


In addition to national racing, the elite team will be joined by dozens of amateur racers who will compete in local races throughout Northern California, Minnesota , Mid Atlantic, North Carolina, Michigan , Tennessee , Connecticut , Georgia and other events across the country. Velo Bella is also promoting the Surf City Cyclocross Series and the 5th stop of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross, as a fundraiser for the team and as an excuse to try our hand at the limbo.


The Velo Bella Elite CX team members are:


Christine "Peanut" Vardaros ( Mill Valley , CA )

Sarah "Bella Loca" Kerlin ( Santa Cruz , CA )

Barbara "Barbarella" Howe ( Marin , CA )

Erin "Biscuit" Kassoy ( Palo Alto , CA )

Melodie "Sweet Pea" Metzger ( Berkeley , CA )

Sami "The Flash” Fournier ( Washington , D.C. )

Ann “Needs a nickname” Fitzsimmons ( Morgan Hill , CA )

Velo Bella is a non-profit, grassroots, multidiscipline cycling team based out of Watsonville , CA . The Velo Bella mission is to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle through cycling and laughter. They inspire women to get out and ride a bike, race a bike, and to eventually grow the pool of talent and have a lot of fun along the way. While the core Velo Bella Team is a committed group of female racers, membership includes female cyclists interested in completing their first race, century, or even group ride. More information on Velo Bella can be found on their website: www.velobella.org.  



The Velo Bellas compete in the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series. The series schedule for 2005 is as follows:

October 8, Portland, Oregon
October 9, Seattle, Washington

October 29, Gloucester, Massachusetts
October 30, Gloucester, Massachusetts

November 19, San Francisco, California
November 20, Watsonville, California




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