Further to the announcement made earlier this year, the official Team Presentation of the Maaslandster Nicheliving CCN International Cycling Team took place on the evening of March 4th in the Limburg region of the Netherlands, where the team is based.
Of the 17 riders on the squad, 14 were present at the team presentation including the 4 Australian riders: Erin Kinnealy , Elissa Wundersitz; Kirsten Howard; Angela Smith . We also have riders from Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, forming a truly international team.
?I am thoroughly pleased to see how the team is fitting together. I believe that it is very important to ensure that team dynamics are as positive and resilient as possible and I think that in this team, each piece of the jigsaw puzzle is fitting together very well. In only two weeks the athletes have had time to meet, train and race , as well as spend some social time together and from what I can see there are strong bonds being formed. These friendships will continue to grow and they will instinctively trust these bonds when they race together, so I am really happy to see this happening so early in the season?.
The team has already competed in several races including 2 of the major spring classics in Belgium; Het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn des Dammes . It was quite a shock to the system for most of them, especially for the Australians coming straight from summer into freezing conditions and these were their debut European races. ?While I would have been quite happy for them to take these initial races as a learning experience on the style and level of racing in Europe, their performance exceeded my expectations so I am even more excited about the 2016 season?.
At the very core of this team is the mission to provide an opportunity to Australian female riders to race in Europe; for those who have not chosen the traditional path of the AIS. This is the inaugural year of a 3 year project and so far the feedback and ongoing support has been extremely positive. The racing calendar is full, sometimes with 3 races per week. The level of difficulty varies with each race so we can match the rider?s capability with the race. ?We aim to give these ladies a positive racing experience that will suit their style and ambitions, whether they are chasing the dream of a cycling career in Europe or simply to take the experience home. ?
Next weekend the Maaslandster Nicheliving CCN team have 2 major events in The Netherlands where the Australians will be racing: A National road race; Omloop van Strijen and another UCI 1.2 event; Drentse Acht van Westerveld the following day. It is bound to be a hard weekend!
written by Sarah-Jeanne Fraser, Team Manager of Maaslandster Nicheliving CCN International Cycling Team