HTC-Columbia’s women’s squad will contest its first race in Europe for the 2010 season at this weekend’s UCI Women’s World Cup opener: Trofeo Alfredo Binda. While the team has contested races in the Middle East, and individually the riders have been racing at their respective homes, the lack of racing kilometres against major rivals has left the riders uncertain of their form according to manager Ronny Lauke.
"Coming so early in the European calendar, nobody's really sure of their form or their rivals' form, so it can make for a very tense, hard-fought race and it's always very unpredictable, too," said Lauke. "All of our team here are great climbers, though, and that's ideal on this kind of terrain.
“We're taking the World Cup on a race-by-race basis, but getting a good result in Alfredo Binda would be the ideal way to kick off our European season," he added.
Included in HTC-Columbia’s squad for the race is Judith Arndt, who has been racing in the Australian summer where she finished on the national championships podium and even won a mountain bike race. Likewise Linda Villumsen contested the Women’s Tour of New Zealand with the BikeNZ squad after becoming a citizen of the country in January.
"It's the first race we've done in Europe this year and the riders are really keen to finally get going," Lauke said. "For Noemi, too, Alfredo Binda is near her home town in Italy and she's extra motivated as a result.
“There are a lot of World Cups rounds coming up in very quick succession,” he added. “Four in Europe in less than a month, then one in China, so this is the start of one of our most intense periods of racing. It's good to get the waiting over."