American Carmen Small will move from the director’s seat at Team Virtu to Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling for 2020. The German-registered team that started in 2016 as Team WNT recently announced that Small will work next season as an assistant director with Dirk Baldinger.
Following her retirement from racing in 2017, Small worked as team director with Team Virtu before the program owned by Bjarne Riis announced it would not return next year.
“I had a lot of options moving into the 2020 season to go to various teams, but I wanted to make sure I picked a team that was a good fit for me,” Small said in a statement released by Ceratizit-WNT. “I met Dirk as a sports director in 2015 when I was still racing, and I very much liked working with him as an athlete. We always stayed in contact and he asked me several times if I would like to work alongside him at some point."
During her own racing career, Small was a two-time world champion in the team time trial, and she was third in the individual time trial at the 2013 world championships. She also won stages of the Thüringen Rundfahrt and Lotto Belisol Ladies Tours along with as well as a podium finish at Emakumeen Bira.
As a director, Small’s teams have taken victories at Ronde van Vlaanderen, Ronde van Drenthe, Healthy Ageing Tour and Vargarda, Sweden.
“Over the past two and a half years I was thrown into the deep to directing,” Small said. “I was on the fast track for learning. At times it was very overwhelming, but at the same time it forced me to ask questions and reach out for help. I had lots of different perspectives, so therefore I discovered a lot of tools to run a team. In a lot of ways, I was very fortunate to have that experience."
She said the team structure at Ceratizit-WNT attracted her to the job.
“It’s unique and I think there isn’t another cycling team like this one,” Small said “Then meeting Claude Sun, the team manager, it sealed the deal for me. He believes in creating a family feeling, looking out for his employees at the company, really showed true as I saw Ceratizit Group and how it was run. I want to be a part of something bigger and a company to lead the way to improve and change women’s cycling. So, in the end it was an easy decision for me.
"I’m very excited to work with Dirk, he can teach me more and I hope I can bring things to the team that can help him improve as well,” Small said. “I really like to push the girls beyond what they think they can do, to enforce that they can always offer the team, their teammates, and themselves more and more. Give them the confidence they lack and unify the team to always work together to reach the main goal. That being said, I know the team already does that so it’s easier to incorporate that for the next season.”