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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, November 9, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. - Mother Teresa

Latest completed racing:

Orica–Scott announces women’s team line-up for 2018

The team sent me this news:

Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

ORICA-SCOTT are pleased to confirm their complete women’s team roster for the 2018 season which will comprise of ten talented riders.

The line-up consists seven Australian riders and three internationals - one Dutch, one Belgian and one New Zealander - which together form a strong and well-balanced, rounded squad.

With eight riders re-signing, the team remains mostly unchanged with the welcomed addition of two new riders, the ‘Belgian Bullet´ Jolien D’hoore and Oceania time trial champion Lucy Kennedy, who both bring strength and depth to the ORICA-SCOTT.

Both D'hoore and Kennedy are looking forward to joining a team which they believe to boast a very positive professional culture.“My biggest motivation to join ORICA-SCOTT is the professionalism there is in the team,” D'hoore explained. “The team is really structured and well-organised with a motivated group of riders and staff.”

Julien D'hoore

Jolien D’hoore wins a stage in the 2015 Women's Tour of Britain

“Watching from the outside throughout 2017, it’s not just their great results that make the team so appealing, but also the positive culture that so obviously exists within the whole team,” expressed Kennedy.

After their most successful season in 2017 where the team claimed 18 UCI victories, sport director Gene Bates is motivated for the year ahead, as the bond between the core group of riders continues to strengthen and the addition of two fresh faces adds to the team’s potential fire-power.

“We are super excited about our team line-up for 2018,” Bates said. “Certainly on paper there is a huge amount of potential and talent, but we also know that that doesn’t always equate to wins in races so we are mindful that it is going to take a lot of hard work to reach our goals.

“To have two new riders in Jolien and Lucy is great for the team and really bolsters our strengths and we will certainly make them feel welcome. It is also really nice to be able to retain eight of the same riders from 2017. This year was very successful for us, one of our most successful ever, so to carry the core of the group over into next season and introduce two new riders into that mix is something we are really looking forward to seeing in action.”

After performing throughout the 2017 season in a variety of races, the roster for 2018 boasts a wide range of strengths which allows the squads to target multiple areas from the hilliest tours to time trials or bunch sprints.

“We have a really rounded team going into 2018 and we will certainly look to be competitive in all areas of racing,” Bates continued. “We saw this year that we can realistically target and be successful in the Belgian Classics, general classifications, hilly one-day races and bunch sprints and we are busy now planning how we can make 2018 even more successful than 2017 for ORICA-SCOTT.”

ORICA-SCOTT 2018 women’s team roster:

Sky's Kenny Elissonde looks forward to the 2018 season

Here's Team Sky close-up of the popular rider:

Back in January, Kenny Elissonde was two hours into a training ride in Australia when coach Tim Kerrison rolled up alongside him and training partner Chris Froome in the team car. “Kenny, this isn’t a joke,” he said. “You have to go to the airport!”

With Owain Doull struck down by appendicitis Kenny was called upon to replace him in our Tour Down Under team. 24 hours later he was making his Team Sky debut in Adelaide, setting the tone for a whirlwind season that the Frenchman tells he has relished.

Reflecting on the campaign Kenny was quick to highlight all that he had learnt across a year of change.

“I expected a challenging year because it was a big change,” he opines. “Every time a rider changes teams it’s big, but I had been in the same team [FDJ] for a long time before moving here. So it was new training, a new race programme, a new way of racing… I discovered a lot of new things and I’m really grateful for that. It was big for me to be a part of this.”

Kenny Elissonde

Kenny Elissonde in his 2016 FDJ kit, about to start a stage in the Vuelta

Kenny, 25, quickly became one of the most popular riders on the team and recently extended his contract with Team Sky. And looking ahead to next season, the climber is confident he will be able to hit the ground running: “Everything that was new won’t be anymore. For example, flying over to the team’s annual October camp recently, I knew what to expect - there was no stress or worry heading there. I know what is laying ahead of me - what the team and my teammates will want.

“When I say the change was challenging, it’s all of those little things: racing differently, training differently, and I’m really happy that I had this chance. It has helped me a lot.”

Asked for his highlight of the year the thoughtful Frenchman picks out the Giro d’Italia. Despite ending in disappointment for Kenny when he was forced to abandon on stage 16 due to injuries suffered from a crash the previous day, he believes the experience has stood him in very good stead.

“It might seem strange,” he begins, “but one of the biggest moments for me was the Giro. It was really hard, but it helped me a lot for the rest of the season. It was my first big setback in the team and you have to go through these moments to be a better rider. It might surprise people, but it was a good thing for me.

“The Giro helped me a lot to learn some more details about how the team works as well, and afterwards I was more relaxed. When I started again at the Route du Sud I was better, and then at the Vuelta a Burgos I was better again.”

The Route du Sud went well for Kenny and a smile spreads across his face as he recalls his first race in Team Sky colours in his native France. After a strong start the team threw their weight behind Kenny, and rode for him on the queen stage. He finished third overall.

“It was my first race of the year in France and my first race after crashing at the Giro,” he explains. “To have help from Wout, G and Sergio was great. They are memories that will stay with me not just for this year, but for my whole career.”
He also highlights Australia as a high point, and references training and then racing alongside Chris Froome for the first time - someone who it’s clear he looks up to.

“You can learn every day with him,” continues Kenny. “He’s quite chilled and off the bike he is a very kind, relaxed person… But on the bike he is a beast! Even in the bunch he is a real fighter. When he gets on his bike with numbers pinned on his back he’s not the same person anymore! He doesn’t give an inch. You can learn a lot from that.

“Then there’s his dedication. Everyone talks about this, but it’s true: from January to the end of his season, he is the same. It’s not even his results. Take away his results, it’s his way of doing things, dealing with things. As a leader he can lose one minute, he can crash, and he doesn’t give up. His mentality is always the same. He is as strong in his mind as he is physically.”

Now fully settled into the team, it’s obvious Kenny is excited about 2018: “We will have a chat in the new weeks and I would like to do more Grand Tours - I would love to do the Giro and then the Vuelta. You learn a lot from doing these races with the team – how we recover, and the ways to deal with it all.

“The reason I learnt a lot at the Giro is because I was in the team environment for three weeks, riding with Landa and G. Learning not to get overexcited when everything is really good or too sad when it’s bad. The Giro helped me a lot for the second part of the season.

“Even if you have been in the team for a long time, the team keeps bringing new things to the riders. We are always dynamic. As a rider, for the experience, it’s really good.”

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