Katarzyna Niewiadoma has said that Canyon-SRAM was the only place she wanted to go after making the decision to leave WM3 Pro Cycling at the end of the season. The Polish climber told Cyclingnews that she has known for some time that she'd like to move to the German squad, run by Ronny Lauke, and recent talks with the team only furthered her determination.
"They always looked professional, everything always seemed in place. It's a nice group of people, with a lot of positive vibes. I've known for a while that if I decide to change the team, they would be the first choice. After the talks, I honestly didn't feel like looking for another option. It feels like a place to be," Niewiadoma told Cyclingnews.
The 2017 season is Niewiadoma's fourth in the professional peloton. This year, Niewiadoma took a surprising OVO Energy Women's Tour overall victory, and showcased her abilities in other Women's WorldTour races, taking second in Strade Bianche, and podium spots in all three races at the first ever women's Ardennes week, as well as sixth overall in Giro Rosa.
"I'm not thinking much about future plans, I'm not expecting. I feel good about the transfer. There will be a lot of motivation to work together and strive for the best results in the new season."
Sixth in Women's WorldTour team rankings, at Canyon-SRAM Niewiadoma will race alongside former teammate Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, as well as riders such as Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini and Trixi Worrack. The addition of an explosive climber seems a good fit for the squad. Niewiadoma will be supported by a number of strong riders in key stage races, but won't have to shoulder all the leadership pressure, allowing for better focus on more mountainous races.
"They have some really strong girls, some fast-finishers too. I'm happy that I'll be able to ride races in support of other riders, not just waiting for the final. There will be more opportunities and in terms of stage races I will have more support," the young Pole explained.
Last year Polish rider was the only key rider staying with the Dutch team as Rabobank's sponsorship came to an end and the team struggled to secure its future. With Marianne Vos still not back at her best, the 22-year-old has been entrusted with the leadership role in the majority of WorldTour races. This came as an opportunity but, at times, a burden too – particularly since the Dutch team has come a bit short in firepower against rival teams.
Niewiadoma started her professional career with Rabobank Liv, joining the team in 2013 as a trainee. She turned professional a few months later and has since grown into one of the strongest climbers in the peloton. With victories in Euskal Emakumeen Bira (2015), Festival Elsy Jacobs and Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol (both in 2016), as well as national road and time trial titles in 2016, she also established herself as one of key contenders on hilly and mountainous parcours.
Niewiadoma is set to return to racing with WM3 Pro Cycling in August before targeting the World Championships in Bergen.