The line-up at VELO PROJECT WOMEN’S CYCLING TEAM had a little taste of top-level competition last year, and they loved it. And now the elite level women’s outfit based in New Zealand want more!
Three events in China in 2019 provided an avenue for top-line focus and the hard work saw results according to 31-year-old rider ELYSE FRASER.
“We went into the races with a team plan, with each rider focusing on their own responsibilities and goals; this paid off for us as we won the teams classifications in three races. In 2020 we are hoping to get back into the Asian racing scene and expand our learning and racing opportunities”
Annamarie Lipp also ascended the podium individually, second in GC at the Tour of Zhoushan Island II (UCI 2.2)
After a late arrival in the sport of cycling, via her commitment to top level rowing earlier in life, FRASER is relishing the opportunity for her team to match its craft with some of the big guns of world cycling.
“I always look forward to putting on the Velo Project kit and racing with the team. We are excited to race in a high level peloton with such depth and experience. The team will learn a lot from the race, which we will be able to put in to action throughout the rest of the season.”
The team has a wide variety of riders, Fraser is a New Zealand Women’s Track Endurance squad member, and explained they all bring different attitudes and strengths to the line up
“Ally Wollaston is a star track rider; a Junior World Champion in 2019 in the pursuit, she will be looking for a fast sprint and also to mix it with the older, experienced sprinters on stage one. “
“Kirsty McCallum has been in the team since it was established. She is a strong climber and a great leader on the road.”
“Emma Smith is a great rouleur, always willing to put aside her own ambitions for the team and put her head down and work hard.”
“Annamarie Lipp is also a staple of the team. She is a strong all-rounder and excels on climbs.”
“Georgia Danford is exceptional in a bunch and will be excited about mixing it up in the moves and bringing home a killer sprint.”
The team has a simple philosophy, developed by team boss ANDREW WILLIAMS to help ease Kiwi women into the big time, and mixing emerging teenagers with successful established riders.
In cycling, the pathway to success and becoming a world class athlete is not a straightforward one. It tends to be an isolated venture, usually involving long stints overseas, in foreign countries where finding someone to speak English is more difficult than finding that elusive needle in the haystack. Riders with overseas experience can pass it on to the next tier coming through. Each individual is fostered so when their time comes they know how to ride as part of a team, what is expected as a professional athlete and how to perform at a high level.
For Fraser, she knows how the Lexus of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun tour can impact ambition and aspiration, and is ready to take on the challenge
“I am excited about returning to the race. Last year was an incredible experience; seeing the Melbourne coast and culture along with the top level racing. Mixing it with some of the best riders and teams was a steep learning curve but a rewarding experience and I look forward to building on what I learnt last year. I think the race will be lit up in stage two. The dynamic and gruelling course will be a test for riders and will see the climbers looking to establish their dominance”.
With their cricket team having suffered at the hands of the locals, watch for these women from across the ditch to take it to some of their more fancied rivals with typical kiwi determination.