Emma Trott Interview: Raring to go with new Nederland Bloeit team
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Emma Trott Interview: Raring to go with new Nederland Bloeit team

by Ben Atkins at 3:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Spring Classics, Tour of Qatar
 
Youngest member of Marianne Vos’ team can’t wait to get racing in 2011

emma trottEmma Trott is the latest and, at just 21 years old, the youngest recruit to the Nederland Bloeit team for 2011. The rider from Cheshunt, just a few miles north of London, and just half an hour away from the new Olympic vélodrome, took a few minutes out of her recent training camp on the island of Gran Canaria to talk to VeloNation about a very mixed 2010 and look forward to 2011.

“Yeah, I am pretty happy with that,” she laughed when we mentioned her new contract with the team of World number one Marianne Vos.

After riding on Nicole Cooke’s Halfords Bikehut team in 2008, Trott spent two years at small Dutch team Moving Ladies; for 2011 it was time for her to take a step back up to a bigger UCI team. She spent a frustrating time in the second half of the season though, as negotiations kept reaching dead ends.

“There were times last year when I was thinking [getting a new team] just wasn’t going to happen and it takes so long, and I was stating to get worried,” she explained. “Then it all happened and I’m going to be riding with Marianne Vos, and these other riders, and it’s fantastic.”

One of the factors that saw Trott win her contract with Nederland Bloeit was victory in the time trial stage of last year’s Gracia-Orlová race. In the 18km test she beat new teammates Vos and Annemiek Van Vleuten by 15 seconds, and opened a lot of eyes.

“I don’t know, everyone seemed to be shocked by that result, including me!” she laughed. “I thought ‘they’ve got the result wrong,’ it was absolutely crazy; I was totally blown away! But I think that ride did me a lot of favours; in a time trial it’s just you against the clock and that’s it so everyone can see if you’re on a good day or not.”

The shock result made her more attractive to her new team than she realised at the time.

“I spoke to Jeroen [Blijlevens], the team manager,” she explained, “and he was like ‘we really wanted to sign you after that ride’. I just thought, ‘why didn’t you come and say then!’ it would have made my life so much easier!”

The 18km distance though, was not a bad one for a British rider brought up in the UK time trialling scene. “The distance wasn’t much more than a 10-mile time trial,” she said, so I think the course suited me really well.”

Sadly for Trott though, and other members of the Great Britain team, shortly after they’d returned to the team’s base in Belgium, the group of riders was hit by a car while out training; she broke her collarbone and her season was in tatters.

emma trott“I was starting to feel absolutely on fire, literally,” she explained, “I was feeling fantastic and I knew that the prologue of the Tour de l’Aude was up for grabs, and now I’ll never get the chance again; the biggest race on the women’s calendar has just gone.”

Although her injuries made a mess of her summer schedule, Trott concedes that it could have been a whole lot worse. Hannah Mayho was the rider who came in direct contact with the car and broke both legs as well as her right arm and wrist.

“It could have been a whole lot worse for all of us,” she said, “just to say that I ‘only’ broke my collarbone was in a way kind of nice, but I can only say that. Someone like Hannah: her whole year was off, so she’s building now to try to get back where she was.

“Some of the girls had a couple of bruises and they were feeling sorry for themselves and you were thinking ‘Jesus, think yourself lucky!’ Some of us are stuck on the turbo for a month, at least you can get out on your bike!”

Luckily for Trott, a spate of broken collarbones in the Great Britain camp made medical personnel look at her injury closely and realise that the bone needed to be pinned. Had this not been noticed at the time it might have been another two weeks, when she returned to the UK, before it was dealt with.

Operations of any kind though, are not to be taken lightly…

“I was feeling worse and now I’ve got have an operation and I’m terrified that I won’t wake up again… it’s the end of the world, I won’t be able to ride my bike… and it all went through my head…

“But it worked out fine; I’d actually hit my head as well and my head didn’t really feel right, but when I woke up [after the operation] I was absolutely fine; so in a way it kind of helped in more ways than one.

“So, I was really happy,” she said. “Well, as happy as I could be…”

On her return to racing, Trott scored her first ever good results in the British national championships, finishing sixth in the road race in June and fifth in the time trial in September. With these placings she finally laid to rest a run of bad luck in her domestic championships.

“I think I was really good in the nationals this year, road and time trial,” she said, “but this year would have been my third year riding the road race and so far every time I’d turned up everything had gone wrong. I was so desperate to get one great ride, so now I think I’ve broken my nationals jinx!

“In the time trial I was just beaten by the big girls [Emma Pooley, Julia Shaw, Wendy Houvenaghel and Sharon Laws] but I’m still young, and they say in time trialling you get better as you get older.”

All of these results have added up to the reward of a place in the team of the World’s number one rider, where she is expecting to carry on developing as a rider.

“I’m kind of half and half,” she explained, “we know a few races that I can target, that they’ll allow me to target, but then I’m also there to develop and find out exactly what races suit me.”

While Nederland Bloeit is undoubtedly built around Vos, the team’s biggest star, it is also home to a number of other big riders.  2010 results for the rest of the team include the Route de France for Van Vleuten, and the Ronde van Drenthe World Cup and Dutch championships for Loes Gunnewijk. The team has also signed super domestiques Sarah Düster and Patricia Schwager, as well as Swiss national champion Emilie Aubry; three riders from the Cervélo TestTeam who haven’t moved across to Garmin-Cervélo.

“What I like about [Nederland Bloeit] is that they want to win, but they always want to win with the same bike rider,” she said. “The atmosphere in the team is great, and now I’ve met everyone; it’s so nice to be in a team where everyone’s smiling, everyone’s joking; they’re serious when they’re working.

“You can be too serious for too long and you start to not enjoy it, and that’s why you have to relax…”

Having just turned 21 years old on Christmas Eve last year, Trott is the team’s youngest rider. Aubry is also currently 21 years old, but not for much longer, which has already given rise to Trott’s new nickname.

“She’s nearly a year older than me because her birthday is in February,” she said “I’m not liking it because they call me ‘baby’!”

A big part of Trott’s development will be learning from the riders around her. Although Vos is still just 23 years old, she has been at the top of the sport for almost five years; while a rider like Düster has been with some of the sport’s top teams for even longer.

“Marianne is her own person,” said Trott, “she’s her own rider; she won the World Championships when she was 18-years-old, and no one else has done that, so you can’t compare her to anyone.

“I’ve been lucky so far; I’ve been on the same team as Nicole, now I’m with Marianne. I’m riding a lot with Sarah Düster, I’m learning so much from her; I’m just trying to take a little bit from every rider…”

The races of 2011 just can’t come soon enough for the 21-year-old from Cheshunt; her first race for the team will be the Ladies Tour of Qatar, starting on February 2nd, before returning to Europe and the classics season.

“I’m really looking forward to this year actually,” she enthused. “I said last night to Sarah that I can’t wait for the season to get going!

“I just want to get going!”

And you just know that in 2011, nobody’s going to put Baby in the corner.

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