By Susan Westemeyer
Amber Neben is looking forward to the new season wearing the jersey of her new team, Equipe Nürnberger – except, of course, when she is wearing her World time trial championship jersey.
Winning the Worlds title last fall in Varese, Italy, was "a dream" that had been eight years in the making, she told Cyclingnews. "Having to overcome and persevere through all kinds of difficulties, experiencing a lot of highs and lows along the way, and just getting to the point where you win a world championship makes holding the title amazing and very humbling at the same time." She feels "very honoured" to be among those in the world championship ranks.
Those difficulties and low times include many injuries and illnesses, but she says her faith has helped her through the bad times. Deeply religious, Neben noted that "It was smaller challenges, where you grow and develop character and persevere and then the next one is a little bit bigger so you're kind of equipped as you go."
The most recent of those injuries was a broken arm last fall. Neben laughingly admitted that it was "embarrassing" to have crashed on her first training ride for the new season. The arm is still not 100 percent "but it's good enough."
After four years with the Dutch team Flexpoint, the 34-year-old switched to the German Equipe Nürnberger. "The timing was right," Neben said. "It was intriguing. It presented a new challenge and a new opportunity with new riders and the chance to work with another fantastic organisation, one of the best teams in the world."
The American's rider's goals for the 2009 season are simple: to aim for the big stage races and to defend her Worlds title this fall in Mendrisio, Switzerland.