Boels Dolmans announced Monday that they have signed mountain bike specialist Annika Langvad to the team for the 2019 season. The former world champion will compete in a series of road races, while also continuing with a mountain bike schedule.
"When I got the chance to ride a number of races with the Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team next year, I was immediately enthusiastic," Langvad said in a team press release. "I've been following women's cycling on the road for a while and I love to see the developments."
Langvad is a former double world champion in two mountain bike disciplines and a triple winner of the Cape Epic. Although she has had a successful off-road career, she has also dabbled in road racing. She is a former Danish road and time trial champion, and she has raced in the UCI Road World Championships. This year, she was 37th in the elite women's road race at the Innsbruck Worlds, where she supported Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, and she was sixth in the time trial at the Florence Worlds in 2013.
This will mark Langvad’s first year signing with a road team, but her biggest focus will remain on mountain biking.
"I do not necessarily define myself as a mountain biker, or a road cyclist," she said. "I am just a cyclist who is mainly on the MTB, but I have already tried an attempt in road racing.
"Compared to mountain biking, in which you mainly race as an individual - or sometimes as a duo - it is mainly about teamwork on the road. I think that's very nice. It is a new dimension for me, which made me equally positive when the idea was suggested to join the team."
Langvad joins a world-class roster that includes current road world champion Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Eva Buurman, Karol-Ann Canuel, Jolien D'hoore, Amalie Dideriksen, Katie Hall, Christine Majerus, Amy Pieters, Skylar Schneider and Jip van den Bos.
"My personal ambition in this adventure is to experience what good teamwork is and to contribute to that," Langvad said. "That is what I am looking forward to the most. I am genuinely enthusiastic about it when I consider that you are part of a larger whole. That enthusiasm and experience I hope to take back to mountain biking. And if I can also contribute to winning for the team, that's a personal bonus.”
As for her future in cycling, Langvad said she doesn’t look too far ahead. She is only focused on competing in a full mountain bike schedule and trying out a new road season with Boels Dolmans. She is not yet concerned with the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
"There are many competitions and events throughout the year and what keeps me motivated is the focus on the process, rather than the goal," she said. "It may sound like a cliché, but that is really what I get on my bike every day. The biggest goal for 2019 is to become part of Boels Dolmans Cycling Team."
Langvad is supported by Specialized in mountain biking, and the Boels Dolmans team is also sponsored by the American bike manufacturer. Last year, Van der Breggen competed in a series of mountain bike events, such as the Val di Sol World Cup, where she and Langvad had a chance to discuss cycling.
"We are in the luxury position that we get full support from Specialized to share our passion and knowledge, within multiple disciplines. That Anna van der Breggen raced several times with Specialized Racing last year was very motivating. Just the little things, such as asking her how she approaches certain things, that was very inspiring."