Orica-AIS trust in Elvin and Spratt for 2016 success
Former Australian national champions Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt will be key riders for Orica-AIS next season with the Australian women's team giving the duo greater leadership roles for the upcoming season. Both riders have been with the team since its 2012 introduction into the women's peloton and sport director Gene Bates believes Elvin and Spratt have reached a new level in 2015.
"Gracie and Amanda really know what the team ethos is and how we are going to get there," Bates said. "They have really stepped up in that area, especially in the back half of this year, and it’s been fantastic to sit back and watch them develop."
Elvin started the season with the ambition of winning an European race with her then victories to date only coming on Australian soil. In May she broke through with victory at the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik and then raised her arms in triumph again with a solo stage 3b victory at Thüringen Rundfahrt.
"I had put a lot of pressure on myself over the Spring Classics and didn't quite get the results I was hoping for, so to get a win not long after was a relief as much as it was exciting, " 26-year-old Elvin said. "It gave me the confidence I needed to know I am heading in the right direction with my training, and to go for more results for the rest of the season. Only a month later I won another race and I finally felt like I'd earned my place among some of the best professional riders."
The classics will again be a focus for Elvin although the Rio Olympic Games will be her major objective in 2016.
"I want to step it up again in 2016 and be consistently competitive with the top 20 riders in the world at the big races. The Olympic Games is my biggest goal for next year and I will be working very hard with that event in mind. I will also be focusing on the Spring Classics as theses are my favourite races of the season."
28-year-old Spratt also enjoyed European success in 2015 as she won the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Südtirol in June and had three second placed finishes. As the only remaining original Orica-AIS rider on the team roster, Spratt explained the familiarity of the team environment has helped her to continue her growth as a cyclist.
"For me, it has become like a family and I love the atmosphere and the feel within the team. I like the fact that when we race everyone knows what needs to be done but what is equally important is how we can relax off the bike and have fun at the same time," Spratt said, adding that Rio will also be a goal for her in 2016. "2016 is an Olympic year and so that is something definitely motivating me for the next 12 months. The preparation for the season is already beginning now and I hope that next year I can visit the podium more or contribute further to success of my teammates."
Gogl joins Tinkoff-Saxo for 2016
Tinkoff-Saxo has signed talented young Austrian rider Michael Gogl after a successful spell as a stagiaire with the WorldTour team.
"I am very happy that I was able to convince the team with my qualities during my time as a stagiaire. I received a very warm welcome by everybody and as a result I am very keen to be part of the team next year," Gogl said in the official announcement from Tinkoff-Saxo. "The fact that I will start my professional career in one of the best teams in the world is simply amazing for me. Right now, I am just looking forward to the upcoming challenges, and I am extremely motivated for the future."
Gavazzi dominates the Tour of China II
Mattia Gavazzi and the Amore e Vita team dominated the Tour of China II, with the Italian winning three stages and the final overall classification.
Gavazzi has endured a difficult career, twice testing positive test for cocaine in the last decade, but has got back on track with Amore e Vita since joining the Tuscan team in the summer of 2014. He has also won stages at the Vuelta a Mexico, Tour of Estonia and Tour of Qinghai Lake this season.
"I'm a sprinter who has always defended by myself but here the story was quite different, we wanted the general classification. I was aiming for more than a month and without my teammates I would not have ever done it," Gavazzi said.
Kohler moves from Drapac to Roth-Skoda
Martin Kohler will ride for German Pro-Continental team Roth Skoda in 2016 after spending just one season with Drapac Pro Cycling. The Swiss rider had previously spent eight consecutive seasons with BMC, joining the Australian team to pursue more of his own personal ambitions. Kohler started his season at the Tour Down Under but has just 35 race days in his legs for the season with the USA Pro Challenge his last race.
Kohler will be based in his home country of Switzerland and explained he is aiming to bounce back after an unsatisfying season.
"The rise of the team to the division Pro Continental and also the good structure were decisive for me," Kohler said. "I want to prove that I have earned a place at this level."