Team Sunweb have named the 12 riders that they hope will defend their double team time trial world titles in Innsbruck. Last year, Sunweb surprised when they won both the men’s and women’s competitions on a dream day for the German-registered squad. This year will be the final running of the trade team time trial World Championships, which began in 2012.
Former individual time trial world champion and three-time European champion Ellen van Dijk will headline the women's team, while current individual champion Tom Dumoulin is the star name in the men's squad. The men’s line-up sees just one change from 12 months ago, while the women’s squad has two alterations.
Canadian time trial champion Leah Kirchmann and US road champion Coryn Rivera both rode last year and will join Van Dijk, as will Amstel Gold runner-up Lucinda Brand. Former junior European road race champion Liane Lippert and, former under 23 European TT and road race champion, Pernille Mathiesen will make their elite debuts at the World Championships.
Last year, the Team Sunweb women’s team beat pre-event favourites Boels-Dolmans by 12 seconds to take the title. This season they have continued that success, winning team time trials at the Giro Rosa, the Ladies Tour of Norway and most recently at the Madrid Challenge, where Van Dijk went on to take the overall title. In Innsbruck, the team will face a sterner test to Bergen but they remain confident.
"The course is longer than last year at 53.8 kilometres and mainly flat through the valley. It will be a long, hard race but we're looking forward to it,” said coach Koen de Haan. “We've done lots of good TTT training sessions throughout the year and made some really good steps. After last year's victory we've decided to invest even more to develop this discipline – organising several good TTT sessions throughout the year to work on the dynamics and we've made some really good steps. It's always hard to defend a title but whatever happens, the team have done the rainbow stripes proud this year with strong TTT wins at the Giro Rosa, Norway and Madrid."
While the women’s success in Bergen was not too much of an upset, the men’s victory over former champions BMC Racing was a complete surprise. Chad Haga is the only new addition to the title-winning team, replacing Lennard Kamna, who decided to take time out of racing earlier this season. Last year was the first time since 2013 that Haga missed the team time trial World Championships. Alongside Dumoulin and Haga will be the in-form Michael Matthews, Sam Oomen, Wilco Kelderman and Soren Kragh Andersen.
"Last year our men's program surprised with the title and this year we are very eager to once again chase a medal,” said coach Adriaan Helmantel. “The course is totally different compared to last year, but we believe that we have selected a super strong team that are able to complete with the best teams. The competition is strong, but if we have all a top day then hopefully we can take a medal."
Team Sunweb women for World Championships team time trial: Lucinda Brand, Ellen van Dijk, Leah Kirchmann, Liane Lippert, Pernille Mathiesen, Coryn Rivera.
Team Sunweb men for World Championships team time trial: Søren Kragh Andersen , Tom Dumoulin, Chad Haga, Wilco Kelderman, Michael Matthews, Sam Oomen.