Van Vleuten signals interest in track racing - Women's news shorts

No 'cross for De Jong, Ale Cipollini signs Mayuko Hagiwara, Schmidt to Virtu

Time trial World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) is considering giving track racing a shot in 2017-18, targeting the World Championships in Apeldoorn at the end of February, according to a report on WielerFlits. The road time trial specialist said she is excited to take on the challenge of the individual pursuit.

"I had long been thinking about the individual pursuit," Van Vleuten told WielerFlits last week at the Superprestige cyclo-cross race in Gieten. "I'm fine at short efforts. The individual pursuit may well be for me. Last February, I have already finished working with the track selection, and in June I took another block. We are going on the EK Baanwielrennen to see how far I can get on the individual pursuit and whether I have anything to look for at the world championships next year."

Van Vleuten finished well behind the specialists in Gieten, more than seven minutes back in 29th place. Nevertheless, Van Vlueten said she enjoyed the new adventure and is looking forward to more.

No cyclo-cross for Thalita de Jong

Former cyclo-cross World Champion Thalita de Jong has had to hold off starting her season due to a lingering knee injury from a crash at the Hoogerheide World Cup in January.

The Dutch rider raced some of the road season with Lares Waowdeals, and signed with Experza-Footlogix Ladies Cycling Team for 2018, but has been unable to train adequately for 'cross because of her injury.

"I'm listening to my sensations," de Jong said to NOS. "I've been cycling for a week and only two hours a week. One time I can spend half an hour, sometimes just half an hour less."

De Jong suffered a torn muscle and swelling to her knee in the crash in Hoogerheide and was unable to defend her world title. But she is unsure of whether it was this crash or another earlier last season in the Spa-Francorchams race that has led to her ongoing pain. 

She began her road season with some strong results, including fifth place in Dwars door Vlaanderen, but soon her knee was acting up and she took a break in May. She tried to come back for the Dutch championships in June, and again in September, but says it only got worse.

"It is going differently than planned," De Jong said. "I was making positive steps back in August towards a better level. But in September I had another setback, and that was after a period of hard work."

Ale Cipollini signs Mayuko Hagiwara

Two-time Japanese time trial and road champion Mayuko Hagiwara will move to Alé Cipollini for the 2018 season, the Italian UCI women's team announced today.

Mayuko comes to the team from six years with Wiggle High 5, dating back to 2013. The 30-year-old scored her biggest career win in 2015 at the Giro Rosa when she rode a long solo breakaway to victory in Morbegno, finishing 24 seconds ahead of a group led in by eventual overall winner Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans). She won Japan's time trial title in 2010 and 2016, and she took the road race title in 2014 and 2015. Her best result this season was third at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in January.

"I am very happy to be part of the Alè-Cipollini-Galassia Cycling Team next year," Mayuko said in a statement released with the team's announcement. "It will be for sure a nice experience, then I will meet again Chloe Hosking; we were already teammates in the past. I can't wait to begin."

Trine Schmidt to Virtu Cycling

Team Virtu Cycling announced the signing of Danish rider Trine Schmidt to a one-year contract for the 2018 season.

The 29-year-old returned last year to professional cycling after a hiatus to complete her studies, and raced this year with Lotto Soudal

"2017 was a startup year for me after a five-year break from cycling, and I had the opportunity at Lotto to slowly get back and test myself. I sign with Team Virtu Cycling, because I hope it can help me become even better. I have had a year of learning, and now I know what I need to improve," Schmidt said in a press release.

Schmidt's return started off well last year with a silver medal in the Danish time trial championship, and she hopes she can further step up her time trialing prowess next year.

"I can feel that the level has improved in the past five years, but I hope the team also can raise my level. And then I just think it is awesome to be in a Danish team with Danish riders and some international riders. I'm really looking forward to it.

"In the winter the track is my main focus, but in general I'm trying to focus on improving myself – especially on the ITT. At Team Virtu Cycling the TTT is a big goal, and that is very exciting and I want to be a part of that. And then I just want to be important for the team and help our leaders whenever they need it." 

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