Team Virtu has announced a one-year contract extension with former time trial world champion Linda Villumsen. The Danish-born New Zealander joined the team mid-way through the season after two years with UnitedHealthcare.
Having found her place in the team, the 32-year-old explained her pleasure in securing her short-term future with the squad.
"Of course, there were some challenges, when you start in the middle of the season. The team had already bonded and you must find your place and get to know all the riders. Everyone really welcomed me, and it made it a lot easier to just concentrate on riding my bike," Villumsen said.
"I think the Virtu-project as a whole is super exciting and to be a part of a new concept and help develop this team is a good opportunity for 2018. There are some new signings, that makes the team super strong and very competitive."
With the deal confirmed, Villumsen outlined her season goals in 2018 with Virtu. The 2014 Commonwealth Games time trial gold medallist explained she is aiming to defend her title and is also looking to drive Virtu to a Worlds TTT podium in September.
"In the end of the year we have the TTT at Worlds, and it is no secret, that I like this event, and maybe we can compete with the best in 2018," she said. "But the team also allows me to set my own goals and Commonwealth Games in April is one of the season’s highlights for me."
Team sports director Carmen Small added that since joining the team in June, Villumsen had displayed moments of her potential an is excited to see what she can do having now developed into a key rider for the squad.
"Linda made a comeback to the highest level at Giro Rosa, where she still was able to be at the front for several stages. She is a rider from the top level, and she has only improved since she came back to the peloton," Small said.
"In 2018 she comes into the season with a proper preparation, and I am sure, that we will see even bigger things from her. She can make the foundation for some great results with her ITT, where she is among the best in the world, meanwhile through her experience she can help the rest of the riders become even better."
The Virtu team has also extended the contracts of Claudia Koster, Sara Penton, Christina Siggard, Louise Norman Hansen, and signed Trine Schmidt, Emile Moberg, Mieke Kröger, Katarzyna Pawlowska, Katrine Aalerud and Barbara Guarischi.
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