Kirsten Wild is off to a winning start with her new team WNT-Rotor after securing the victory in the Omnium at the Six Days Bremen in Germany this weekend. The Dutchwoman will now turn her attention to the UCI Track World Championships and the defence of her three world titles in the Omnium, Points Race and Scratch Race, before bringing her winning sprint back to road racing during the 2019 Women's WorldTour.
"I will try to have a good result at the World Championships and to have the world titles again," Wild told Cyclingnews about her targets for Worlds held from February 27 to March 3 in Poland.
"I'm not only aiming for three world titles again because that is something you cannot plan. I will try to be on my best form, and I hope that ends with some good results."
Asked if she had a preferred track event, Wild said "no," but she will line up as the favourite for all three events given her success during the World Cup season so far. Wild is indeed a favourite for the Omnium having won the World Cup rounds in France and London.
Her Omnium victory in the Six Day Bremen was made even more special by the fact that her new WNT-Rotor teammate Lisa Brennauer stood on the podium next to her in third place.
"It was nice because the sponsor was there and so that was very nice that both of us were on the podium," Wild said.
WNT-Rotor announced in August that they signed Wild on a two-year contract beginning in 2019. Wild said she actively searched out a spot on the team after Wiggle High5 owner Rochelle Gilmore announced the team would fold at the end of 2018.
"First of all, Wiggle folded, and so I had to look further for a new team," said Wild, who noted that her Wiggle High5 teammate Brennauer had already signed with WNT-Rotor.
"When I had the feeling that Wiggle was going to stop, I had to think quick. Lisa's boyfriend is the mechanic for the WNT-Rotor team. I was in contact with the team, and they had nice plans. I quickly got the feeling that this was the team for me and that their plans sounded good.
"Lisa also signed for the team, and that made my decision much easier because we know each other, we like to race together, and we are comfortable racing together. We know our strengths and how we can help each other.
Wild met her new WNT-Rotor teammates at a three-day training camp in December where the team distributed equipment and clothing, and the riders had a chance to get to know one another.
"I haven't done so much with the team yet, but so far it has been good, and it has felt like a warm welcome," Wild said. "They are supportive on the track and the road with bikes, clothing and equipment, so for me, it already feels good."
Wild has been considered one the fastest sprinters in the peloton over the years, particularly when she had a sole focus on road racing. Even now, however, as she divides her training and racing schedules between the road and track, she is one of the toughest sprinters to beat, but she is aware of the sacrifices it takes to compete in two disciplines.
"If I go to a sprint, I would like to be the fastest," Wild said. "I also know that if you want to be a full-focused road rider, then you have to train differently. I did a bit less track racing in previous years, compared to now."
Wild says her 2019 road schedule is not confirmed yet but that she will focus on the Women's WorldTour races, particularly the ones that she can do well in such as the OVO Energy Women's Tour and the Madrid Challenge, along with other flatter events that cater to sprinters.
"I would like to do some good road racing with the team and try to make a nice schedule with a good balance with my ambitions for the track," Wild said, noting that her focus will shift toward the track in 2020 ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
With the track season over at the end of February, Wild said she would, once again, lack some of the long-distance training required to do well in the spring Classics.
"My focus during the winter is on track, so I will have less kilometres [in training] heading into the season," Wild said. "I'll take it how it is; it’s the decision you make and the concessions you make when you know that you are doing both disciplines. If I were only road riding, I would train differently, and if I were only track racing, I would train differently."
In 2018, she arrived at the Classics with realistic expectations and ended up with an 11th place at the Tour of Flanders. She went on to a successful road season winning a stage and the points classification at the Healthy Ageing Tour, a stage win at the Tour of Chongming Island and Women's Tour de Yorkshire. She also won a stage at the Giro Rosa and the Prudential Ride London Classique.
All-in-all, she said that she is excited to join her new WNT-Rotor teammates for a season of road racing and aims to bring the team some success.
"I'm looking forward to this team because it's a good mixture of young, old, climbing, sprinting, and I think that's interesting. I'm look forward to having good results and a surprise, maybe."