Video: Ellen van Dijk on TTT worlds triumph, Specialized lululemon, 2013 goals and Vos’ character
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Video: Ellen van Dijk on TTT worlds triumph, Specialized lululemon, 2013 goals and Vos’ character

by Shane Stokes at 7:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
Multiple world champion speaks

Ellen van DijkShe’s won world titles on the track in the past but the rainbow jersey Ellen van Dijk picked up in September may well be the most memorable of her career. It was her first such triumph on the road, it was taken with her Specialized lululemon team-mates and, best of all, it happened on home soil in Valkenburg, the Netherlands.

Van Dijk was one of a squad of riders who scooped gold in the first-ever time trial championships for trade teams, beating closest rival Orica AIS by 24 seconds. The race was a major target for them and in achieving their goal, the sense of satisfaction was considerable.

“2011 was a really important year, of course, with the Olympics, but also the world championships going on the Netherlands,” the blonde Dutchwoman told VeloNation in a video interview conducted at the Specialized lululemon training camp in southern Portugal. “That was pretty big for me, personally. Also it was the first time the team time trial was held and we won it. It was one of the main objectives of the season and to achieve that was just so satisfying, it was really cool.

“To start with such a win was already the highlight of the world championships for me.”

Van Dijk was one of ten Specialized lululemon riders who got together for this month’s training camp [Ina Yoko Teutenberg was absent – ed.] and clearly enjoyed the time with her team-mates. She’s been within that setup for several years, starting with it when it was named Columbia High Road in 2009 and then remaining part of the team when it morphed into Specialized lululemon one year ago.

That was a nervous time for the squad as HTC’s decision to walk away from the sport plus the inability of the team to find a replacement sponsor meant that its existence hung in the balance for a while. The men’s team was forced to stop, its riders being scattered in different directions. Thankfully things were different for the women and both Specialized and lululemon stepped up, agreeing to take over the backing of the team. The rebranded outfit went on to have an extraordinary season with over sixty successes and that world title.

In the video interview below, Van Dijk speaks about that nervous transition period and how the two team setups compare to each other. She also talks about the work team owner Kristy Scrymgeour has done, being appreciative about how she has put the team together and the balances she has struck.

“She is always working a bit behind the scenes…if there is nothing wrong, you don’t hear so much from her,” she said of Scrymgeour. “But if there is a problem, she can fix it in no time. She is really good in putting the right people together. It is one of her biggest qualities, I think.”

Like the Australian, Van Dijk has clear opinions on what needs to be done to help the growth of women’s racing. She believes big men’s events could be used as a platform to secure more awareness of that other side of the sport, and that doing so would not pose major challenges for race organisers or media outlets.

“I would like to see more women’s races with the big men’s races,” she said, naming various Classics and the Tour de France as examples. “It is so easy to set it up as the whole course is already there. I don’t think it is a big effort for organisers and if they can broadcast a five minute summary from the race, it would be already so much attention for us.

“I think the sport would grow so much from it if people can see what we are doing.”

Van Dijk states that when viewers get a chance to see women’s racing, the reaction is often very positive. She holds the Olympic road race and the world championships up as examples, saying that the feedback was very good and that she was told by some people that the races were actually better than the men’s events.

The Dutchwoman elaborates on these topics in the video interview below, as well as discussing several other subjects including her big goals for 2013. She also gives a character assessment of compatriot Marianne Vos, who she helped win the Olympic road race in July.

More to follow soon from the Specialized lululemon camp in Portugal.

Also see:

Feature: World TTT champions Specialized lululemon clock up pre-season kilometres in Portugal
Video Interview: Evelyn Stevens discusses best season yet, women’s racing and 2013 goals


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