27-09-2016, WMN Team Time TRial Training with CANYON//SRAM Racing
Poetry In Motion
The UCI World Championships in Qatar are a rare opportunity for CANYON//SRAM Racing to show supremacy in cycling’s most technical discipline: the team time trial. Not leaving anything to chance, the riders assembled at the team’s Service Course in Leipzig, Germany, to go through their drills and get up to speed.
When it all clicks, the team time trial is poetry in motion. Six riders perfectly aligned, locked onto the aero bars, separated only by millimetres as if an invisible force is pulling them together. Then, the leader swings off the front, slowly falling to the back of the train to hand over the burden of blocking the wind to the next rider in-line.
That’s what the spectator sees at least. On the bike, this is a violent effort where all riders are at their limits, on the verge of physical collapse. Go too hard on the front and you won’t stand a chance of catching back on to the last rider in the train, compromising the strength and speed of the entire team. Smoothness and consistency are paramount: it’s not the team made up of the strongest riders that goes the fastest, but the team that works together the best.
To become World Champions would provide the perfect end to CANYON//SRAM Racing’s debut season in the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Several of the team’s riders and staff have already had success in this race in the past, and the importance of being the fastest is known to all. Every piece of equipment adorning the Speedmax CF SLX time trial bikes is aerodynamically optimised to the extreme. Aero helmets, disc wheels, skinsuits, the scene is more like a sci-fi film than sport.
Calling the shots on the road is Trix Worrack, the team’s most experienced rider and German national time trial champion. “Trixi gives the commands and lets us know if our pace is good or if we should shift into another gear. With all her experience she’s definitely the team leader,” Mieke Kröger explains, the youngest in the line-up. “On the front riding into the wind, it’s up to each rider to decide how long they can pull for. The hardest part is when you’re falling back from the lead and then tucking in behind the last rider. If you misjudge it by a second, then you go straight out the back.”
With the training camp in the books, the team are one step closer to their goal. From now, all roads lead to the World Championships in Qatar.