Orica-AIS have announced the contract extensions of Australian's Sarah Roy and Lizzie Williams who both made their debuts with the team this season. Returning to racing after a ten-year break last year in the National Road Series (NRS) with her performances earning a contract with the team, 32-year-old Williams claimed her first win of the season at the GP Cham-Hagendorn in May after a good early season results in Australia.
"This year has really been a breakthrough year for me both professionally and personally. I'm not going to lie, it was a rocky start, and early in the season I realised that I had a lot of work to do. But I tackled the challenges with a positive attitude and didn't allow myself to become overwhelmed with it all," Williams said in a statement from the team. "During this season I learned to manage my nerves and anxiety around racing a lot better which has limited me in the past. Having a supportive and encouraging team around me is a huge reason why I've had success and seen massive growth as a professional cyclist."
2015 was also a learning experience for Roy, the 2014 national criterium champion, with the -year-old's season hampered by illness and injury as she explained.
"This year was a bit of a shocker personally with the injury and illnesses because I didn't race half as much as I would have like and when I did I wasn't in great shape," Roy said. "I feel very lucky to be back for another season after having one of "those" years but I'm really looking forward to next season. This is certainly my dream team; we really back each other on the bike and kill ourselves laughing off the bike."
Sport director Gene Bates explained that both riders bring something different and unique to the team, both making invaluable contributions and is looking ahead to the 2016 at Orica-AIS with the duo.
"We really threw Lizzie into the deep end early with some of the biggest Classics that women can do and she took it all in and we were seeing some great results from her in the last half of the season," Bates said. "Lizzie is not 18 but she learns like a little kid. She is screaming for any advice she can get and she is really putting it to good use and that's great to have within the group."
"Sarah attended the training camp and did one day of racing in January but then was out with illness and injury for a long time," Bates added of Roy's season. "It wasn't until May/June until she really started to race with us properly again and when you miss that portion of the season it's always a really steep learning curve to jump back into a group that has been racing for six months already.
"Sarah really brings a big engine to the group. When she is doing lead-outs or bridging gaps, that's when she is at her best."