Emma Johansson says she ‘always dreamt about racing for a big team’
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Emma Johansson says she ‘always dreamt about racing for a big team’

by VeloNation Press at 7:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Swedish road and TT champion looking forward to riding for Orica AIS in 2013

Emma JohanssonShe’s been one of the best riders in the world for several seasons but Emma Johansson has said that it has taken her until now to feel ready to step up a level in terms of team size. The Swedish national champion has signed a contract with the Orica AIS team for 2013 and is excited by the new challenges that will present.

“I have always dreamt about racing for a big team,” she stated. “In the past, I’ve chosen to ride for smaller teams where I took on a bigger role in the inner-workings instead of focusing only on the sporting aspect. Now seemed like the right time to get onto a big team.”

Once she made that decision, she said that the Australian squad became an obvious candidate. “As I considered the bigger teams, ORICA-AIS stood out,” she continued. “The girls on the team clearly work well together, and they have demonstrated that they’re not scared to take risks in order to win big. Their way of racing fits my personal style, so my heart felt this was right. The team stands on stable ground, and it’s a bonus to be backed by the men’s team and Cycling Australia too.”

Johansson has been with a number of teams thus far in her career, starting with Bizkai Panda Software Durango in 2005 and 2006, then Vlaanderen - Capri Sonne - T-Interim, AA Drink, RedSun between 2007 and 2010. She competed with HiTec Products – UCK for the past two seasons.

In that time, she has clocked up some very impressive results. These include silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games behind Nicole Cooke, third and fourth in the world championships, first in the Ronde van Drenthe, Thuringen Rundfarht, Trophée d’Or Féminin and Tour de Free State, double victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and also two runner-up slots in the prestigious Flèche Wallonne Féminine.

She has also been Swedish national road race champion three times and this year also took the time trial title.

While she’s still only 29 years of age, she’s clocked up plenty of experience and having her in a position to be able to guide the younger riders is part of what attracted the Orica-AIS team to signing her. It previously had Judith Arndt in that position but with the German now retired, Johansson will step into that role.

“As an Aussie team, we have many younger riders who typically haven’t been exposed to the rigours of tough, gritty, stressful European races from an early age,” explained directeur sportif David McPartland. “The luxury of having riders of Emma’s caliber proves useful in narrowing the gap by teaching and speeding up the acclimation process for our talented Aussies. We are very excited to have Emma for her experience.”

Johansson had a disrupted 2012 season due to being hit by a car in Gran Canaria last January. She fractured both collarbones and as a result her early season was set back. However she returned to clock up several decent results, including sixth in the Olympic road race. She’d determined that 2013 will be a big year.

“I want to win races,” she said, but also made clear that she is prepared to help others too. “It doesn’t really matter who wins – if it’s me or a teammate. I just want to see us win. There is one race that stands out to more than others: the Tour of Flanders. It’s close to my base during the season, and it’s one of my favourite races. It’s a race I hope to win during my career.

“Apart from good results, I really want to have fun on my bike,” she continued. “I want to enjoy it all again. That’s something I hope to achieve. After the Road World Championships, I had the opportunity to spend two days with some of my new teammates. We had a lot of fun together. I think this will be a great year that way.”


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