In the early hours tomorrow morning, the final Grand Tour of the cycling season begins with the 76th Vuelta a España and the battle for the maillot rojo (red jersey).
Recently it was announced I would be leaving Orica-AIS after two seasons with the successful Australian registered squad.
Based on the influx of messages I received through emails and my various social media channels, the move apparently surprised many people when the news first broke.
The biggest question on many people’s lips was where I was heading and why the change?
Eventually it was announced I had signed with the two-time world team time trial championship squad of Specialized-Lululemon.
It was a move that took a lot of thought and consideration as it was fantastic to be part of a great Australian project and I enjoyed my time at Orica-AIS.
Over two years I have been able to work under some of the best female cyclists in the peloton and grow as a rider.
It has given me the opportunity to step up my level as a professional cyclist and gradually close the gap towards becoming one of the best in the world.
You may ask, why would you change when you have a good thing? I was in the headspace that a change is as good as a holiday.
I enjoy change and I always like a new challenge, if I get too comfortable in one place I can get distracted and lose my focus and drive.
Whereas if I have a new team, new opportunities, a different way of operations, I have a lot of motivation to impress and prove not only to them but also to myself it was the right decision.
Specialized-Lululemon is on par with Orica-AIS as one of the best teams in the women’s peloton.
Kristy Scrymgeour is an Australian ex-professional rider and was in charge of PR at HTC-Highroad. She set up the team from the demise of the former HTC–Highroad professional outfit, as the girls wanted to stay together if they could find the sponsors.
Looking on from the outside over the past two years she has done a fantastic job in creating a strong team with good sponsors and an emphasis on promoting women’s cycling and getting more women on bikes – an important factor if we want to see our sport grow and taken to the next level and something I really want to help contribute to and be a part of.
Sure there have been many other factors to my change. The Rio 2016 Olympics are my next major long term goal and to give yourself the best opportunities you want to be happy with your set-up and know you are with the team that can get the best out of you.
Now is the time to change if you’re going to experiment with different teams, as there are still a few years to be able to get it dialed in ahead of 2016.
On Orica-AIS we also have the current world number one ranked rider in Emma Johansson. She is an awesome teammate and someone I look up to and have great respect for.
I have enjoyed working with her but she is world number one for a reason. She is consistently strong, always there at the business end of the races and knows how to finish off the job.
My ambition is to get to the same level as her and it’s difficult to do when you’re teammates. I believe if you want to be the best you have to compete against the best.
Specialzied-Lululemon certainly has their fair share of strength within the team. For me there are a few more opportunities than at Orica-AIS to take on leadership roles in some of the bigger races, something I am ready to do.
I have to thank Orica-AIS for the time with the team and understanding my decision, as well as my teammates, the staff, Gerry Ryan and Shayne Bannan for backing the women’s team. All of our great sponsors.
It is an awesome program for helping Australian riders develop on the World circuit and a team I will certainly continue to follow closely.
As of January 1st, you’ll have to get use to seeing me in the colours of Specialzied-Lululemon and follow the team throughout the 2014 season.