The Canyon-SRAM team celebrated winning the last ever women’s team time trial title at the World Championships with hugs, smiles and even some tears, proud to have beaten pre-race favourites Boels Dolmans and Team Sunweb, and to have become the ‘forever winners’ as the last winner’s in the record books.
The team won the first edition of the women’s team time trial title in 2012 as Specialized-Lululemon and has now taken a fifth world title after other victories in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The UCI have already confirmed the team time trial will not be contested by professional teams in 2019, with combined squads from national men’s and women’s teams expected to decide the future world champions.
Trixi Worrack, Hannah Barnes, Alice Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein and Alena Amialiusik won the final women’s team world title with a time of 1:01:46 for the 54.1km course along the valley toads to Innsbruck, beating Boels Dolmans by 21 seconds and 2017 winners Team Sunweb by 28 seconds.
Canyon-SRAM started several minutes before their rivals. They sat in the road after setting the fastest time ahead of Wiggle-Hgh5. They were tired and breathless after a huge effort but were able to savour the moment of victory as Boels Dolmans and Team Sunweb failed to beat their time.
“I came to this team in 2016 and they had won every TTT, then in the last three years we had many ups and downs and maybe more downs than ups. But after Bergen last year we were so disappointed that we really wanted to turn it around. I think every piece of the puzzle fell into place today and this was one of best TTT we ever did,” Cecchini explained in the press conference, as the riders continued to celebrate.
Klein suffered a front wheel puncture just before Canyon-SRAM started their ride but she and her teammates stay calm and collected, if with a little extra adrenaline flowing.
“Everything happens for a reason. It was good to have it before the race; we were already done with punctures. We had a great race and were a great team,” she said.
23 year-old Alice Barnes made her debut in the team time trial and won her first title along with her sister Hannah, who had won a silver medal in 2016.
“We only started to believe we’d win when the other teams finished,” Hannah Barnes explained. “But we’d ridden the course nine times, so knew that if we dialled it well, we’d have a good ride. It was a classic ride.”
While their rivals eventually lost riders and finished with the minimum of four needed to stop the clock, Canyon-SRAM finished with all six riders together.
“I think one of the keys of the TTT is to have as many riders for as long as possible,” Worrack explained. “We decided to do that here because of the length of the race. We had to do 15 minutes more than others TTTs and so it was a big factor.”
It was an especially emotional moment for Worrack. She won her fifth world title with the team at the age of 36 and will move to the new Trek team in 2019.
“For sure it’s nice to win the last one but that does not really matter,” Worrack said calmly before shedding a few tears.
“We weren’t the favourites but we knew that if we rode well we could have a chance to be on the podium and that if things went perfectly we could do even better. It’s good to believe in ourselves even if the outside world did not.”