Liv Racing announced that cyclist Ayesha McGowan will be joining its women’s WorldTour team as a satellite racer, making her the first Black American woman to be a pro cyclist.
She will start training with the team at a training camp in March.
McGowan has been outspoken about increasing diversity in the sport, and she has written several stories for Bicycling.
Ayesha McGowan, 33, will officially be racing in the women’s WorldTour, the highest level of pro road cycling. Her team, Liv Racing WorldTeam, announced on February 16 that she’s joining as a satellite rider for the 2021 season.
McGowan is the first Black American woman in history to become a pro road cyclist.
McGowan has been a sponsored elite rider for Liv Cycling, a women’s-specific bike company, and has been racing at the Pro/Cat 1/Cat 2 level for a few years now. She first took up road racing in 2014, after being a commuter and bike messenger for some time, and dabbling in alleycats and crits. During only her second year racing, in 2015, she won the New York State Cat 3 road race championship, and she’s been aiming for the top ever since.
She’ll start training with the WorldTour team at an upcoming training camp in March and will aim to start competing after August 1.
“Working with this world-class organization is a dream come true,” McGowan said in the team’s announcement. “I’m excited to spend more time with my teammates during team camp next month and training hard before setting race goals for August and beyond.”
Eric van den Boom, the owner and team manager of Liv Racing WorldTeam, said in the announcement that the team first met McGowan at a training camp in 2019.
“As Ayesha works with our team resources, including ongoing training and monitoring, we look forward to investing in her development. We will aim to guide Ayesha as well as possible including equipment, training programmes and our knowledge and expertise. In this way we hope to take her to the next level in her career, just as we have done with many other talents before. Together with Ayesha we are excited to get started,” Van den Boom said.
Since 2015, McGowan has been outspoken about striving to become the first Black American woman in pro road cycling and about fostering greater diversity in the sport. McGowan has a longtime blog called A Quick Brown Fox (along with a podcast of the same name), where she self-publishes her thoughts on cycling, diversity, gear, bike repair, and more, including features on other cyclists. She has also been a contributor for Bicycling.
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