Orica-AIS wraps up successful 2015 season after a slow start
Orica-AIS wrapped up a successful 2015 campaign in which director Gene Bates praised the women on their “broad spectrum of results.”
The team may have had a slower start to the season than usual, however, they picked things up in May with Lizzie Williams taking a win at SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn and Gracie Elvin winning at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik. Other top results came from Amanda Spratt, who won the Giro del Trentino in June and Rachel Neylan, who won the overall title at the Trophee d’Or Feminin.
Emma Johansson, who has signed with Wiggle-Honda from the 2016 and 2017 seasons, brought Orica-AIS much success with victory at Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria, stage wins and third overall at Euskal Emakumeen Bira, fourth overall at the Aviva Women’s Tour, double victories at the Swedish road and time trial championships, the overall wins at Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen and Lotto Belgium Tour.
"We had a really broad spectrum of results and riders achieving those results in 2015 and that’s probably the highlight for us," sport director Gene Bates said. "It was a big goal of ours coming into this season and something we worked hard on in November and December last year."
"Making the riders a bit more accountable certainly helped and making sure we had numbers in the finals, which is where we really suffered last year. The girls really turned that around this year."
Thurau and Martin signs with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
After announcing his split with Bora-Argon 18 last week, Bjorn Thurau has found a new place with Wanty-Groupe Gobert for the 2016 season. The German rider left Bora-Argon 18 because he wanted to be a part of a program where he could be more aggressive in the races.
"To me Wanty-Groupe Gobert means a new start," Thurau said. "I was looking for a team where I can show my aggressive and attacking style of riding. Belgium is the ultimate cycling country so I am particularly looking forward to being part of a Belgian team in 2016.
"I want to give the people a show and make the race interesting. In that respect I am a bit like Jens Voigt. He told me that he likes my style of racing and that a victory will come if I continue to ride aggressively like this. This is the next step I would like to make at Wanty-Groupe Gobert. I want to show my best racing again and make the races exciting and interesting. I want to race smart as well and bring something home for the team and its supporters."
Thurau brings WorldTour experience to Wanty-Groupe Gobert having previously competed for three seasons with Europcar. He has won mountain jerseys in both the Tour de Suisse and Tour of Luxembourg.
"His style of racing matches our team philosophy. He can ride at the front of the bunch when we need to close a gap as well. The fact he chose to sign with us shows the appreciation for Wanty-Groupe Gobert, our way of racing and the race programme we can offer," Van Der Schueren said.
Frenchman Guillaume Martin will also join Wanty-Groupe Gobert for the next two seasons. The 22-year old rider comes from the French team CC Etupes.
Gagne and Dyck favourites ahead of Canadian Cyclo-cross Championships
Raphael Gagne (Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cyclocross) and Mical Dyck are heading into the upcoming Canadian Cyclo-cross Championships as two of the favourites. The event is held on October 24 at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Gagne had a stand-out season on the mountain bike winning the Pan Am Games event at Hardwood Ski and Bike this summer. He used his top form and went straight into the cyclo-cross season racing UCI events in Gloucester and Providence where he took top 10s. He looking for a podium place at nationals.
"If a course isn’t too technical but there are still turns and braking and acceleration, it definitely suits me," Gagne said. "I’m always thinking about the win but I think wishing for the podium is realistic and it’s just a good goal for me. I don’t want to put too much pressure [on myself] for cross.”
Dyck, who won the title in 2012, is one of Canada’s top racers. She spent time racing overseas and placed 12th at the World Championships in Tabor in February. She told the organisers of the Canadian Cyclo-cross Championships how much winning the title again would mean to her. "It would be amazing to win again,” Dyck said, “not only for myself, but for the people supporting me this year."