Having spent the last three seasons with Orica-AIS, Shara Gillow is "excited" for the next chapter in her cycling career at Rabo-Liv in 2015. The 26-year-old time trial specialist won several races against the clock including two national titles and the Oceania championships.
Gillow explained to Cyclingnews that the genesis of the deal with the number one women's cycling team came about through almost by chance.
"I first talked to Rabo-Liv at the Sweden World Cup [in August] when we were staying in the same hotel and it eventuated from there," Gillow said of her first contact with the team. "I signed the contract with them a month later and then came back to Europe with all the new bikes and kit they've given me and they have been really helpful so far and great to deal with."
The opportunity to race alongside the likes of multi world champion Marianne Vos and current road world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, while also given her own opportunities for success, sealed the deal for Gillow.
"I'm really excited to ride with them. Marianne Vos is an amazing rider, she's an Olympic champion, she's a world champion in so many disciplines in the cycling world and also the current world champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and so it's a really exciting time.
"When you look at that, it's pretty cool. They all really stepped up [and] it really excites me that not just one or two are really good in the team, it's everyone and the way they go about racing is really cool."
As the only Australian on the Dutch team, Gillow praised the management for being "really good with the communication even though they are over in Holland" as she prepares for her first goals of the new season, the Australian national championships in January.
Gillow won the national time trial title three years straight from 2011 to 2013 but had to settle for the silver medal this year and is hungry to retain her crown. A win would see Gillow move to within one title of Kathy Watt who holds the record of five green and gold jerseys.
"Of course, I am really looking forward to it and its one goal I'm starting the year off with," she said of the time trial. "The road race, I am really looking forward to that as well."
With the remainder of her racing calendar and training schedule to be decided after she flies to Europe after the national championships, for now, a jubilant Gillow is simply focused on the present.
"I am just taking it one day at a time," she said of her preparation for 2015. "It's been really great working with Rabo-Liv so far, everything's just fallen into place and they are really good the way they go about things. I am really happy."
While Rabo-Liv had a disastrous world championships team time trial in Ponferrada as a multiple-rider crash resulted in a DNF against its name and Anna van der Breggen suffered a broken pelvis, the opportunity to atone for that result on the Richmond Worlds course was another attraction for Gillow who has a silver medal in the discipline on her palmarès from 2012.
"That's a really big thing," she said. "It's really exciting for me because I love time trials and also team time trials and the way that they are going for the world championships title is really exciting."