Feature: World TTT champions Specialized lululemon clock up pre-season kilometres in Portugal
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Feature: World TTT champions Specialized lululemon clock up pre-season kilometres in Portugal

by Shane Stokes at 9:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Gallery of images from warm-weather training

Specialized lululemonThe winning squad in the first-ever world championship time trial for trade teams, Specialized lululemon, is working towards what it hopes will be another superb season in 2013.

The American-sponsored team has been based in a rural hotel near Moncarapacho since December 2nd and has been clocking up the kilometres since then, while also getting acquainted with new team-mates.

Yesterday saw the riders complete a four hour session, with several of them doing team time trial training in the first hour and then the whole group heading into the mountains for some steady climbing. Today brings another ride of a similar length and more mountainous work, although the pace is again controlled in order to build a solid base prior to bigger efforts.

“So far things have been going pretty well,” team owner Kristy Scrymgeour told VeloNation at the camp. “The terrain around here is amazing, and we are getting some good spins in. We also have lots of media and some Specialized dealers coming in, so it's kind of exciting.”

The team was in its first year of existence this season, building up after the previous HTC HighRoad setup stopped at the end of 2011. Several riders from the previous team stayed on board and with Scrymgeour and the new sponsors Specialized and yoga company lululemon working hard to get things in place, the squad was able to hit the ground running this season and have a very successful year.

“We couldn’t have asked for much more,” Scrymgeour admits, smiling at what the team achieved. “We won more than sixty races, we won the team time trial at the world championships…basically in 2013 we want to try to do that again. Our goal is always to go into every race and try to race hard, but also to try to make it fun.”

World championships aside, the team also racked up victories in other big events. Evelyn Stevens was the most consistently successful, winning Flèche Wallonne, the Exergy Tour, La Route de France, Gracia – Orlová, the Tour of New Zealand and a stage of the Giro d'Italia Femminile. Other riders also topped the podium in different events, while the squad as a whole took team time trial victories in the Open de Suède Vargarda, the Energiewacht Tour and the Brainwash Ladies’ Tour.

Of last year’s lineup, Stevens, Ellen Van Dijk, Trixi Worrack, Lisa Brennuauer, Katie Colclough, Loren Rowney, Ally Stacher and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg all return, the latter deciding to compete for another year rather than retiring.

That octet are joined by three newcomers, additions which Scrymgeour describes as ‘pretty exciting.’

“We have a girl called Gillian Carlton from Canada. She hasn’t done much road racing before but is a super track rider and I have big hopes for her,” she said of the Olympic team pursuit bronze medallist.

“We have an American called Tayler Wiles. She is young, she is also 22, and she is going to be super-good as well. And we have Carmen Small, also from the United States. She is a bit more experienced. We brought her in to help Evie in the hills and we think she can be a good leader…she has got a great personality.”

Team manager Ronny Lauke believes they are settling in very well, and that Scrymgeour has once again found the right balance of personalities.

Building steadily:

The weather in Portugal may be deceptively mild and sunny, but there’s still well over a month before the riders will get to compete. Rowney is the exception as she will do the Australian nationals, but the next set of riders won’t pin on numbers until the Tour of Qatar.

Lauke is content with where the riders are at, saying that they started off with three hour rides when they arrived at the camp and will do up to five and a half hours at the end. It runs until next Friday, December 14th.

“For now they are all building their condition and form…we are happy; everything is on track,” he told VeloNation.

Asked what she wants the riders to achieve in 2013, Scrymgeour is aiming for a season with a similar number and quality of wins. However she also has a very different target. “Another goal we have is to try to grow women’s cycling,” she said.

“We have got a great team, and I think there are some really fantastic teams registered for next year with some good talent spread across the board. I feel like next year is going to be a really good year of racing. One of our big aims is really to just try to contribute to that and grow women’s cycling.”

Stevens also hopes for growth in the sport, saying that she would like to see races like the Tour de France plus some of the Classics to each consider introducing a women’s event.

These would be run off in advance of the men’s race and would benefit from the same route, media presence and spectators, thus boosting awareness of and interest in women’s competition. “The Olympic road race showed how good women’s racing can be,” she said. “Flèche Wallonne and Flanders already do it and it works out really well. It would be a big step forward.”

More will follow from the Specialized lululemon camp over the next few days.

Specialized-lululemon team roster 2013:

Lisa Brennuauer, Gillian Carleton, Katie Colclough, Loren Rowney, Carmen Small, Ally Stacher, Evelyn Stevens, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Ellen van Dijk, Tayler Wiles and Trixi Worrack

Click on the first image below for a full training ride gallery




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