Canyon-SRAM team manager Ronny Lauke has big ambitions for his team in 2018. After making some key changes to the team line-up, the team manager wants to win the Giro Rosa with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and new signing Kasia Niewiadoma.
Since their debut season in 2016, after they were created from the remnants of the folding Velocio-SRAM squad, the team has only managed a ninth place in the only women’s Grand Tour with Alena Amialiusik. Despite missing the mark over the last two years, Lauke remains determined to take home the title.
“Second place is the first loser that nobody wants to talk about. I think it’s always nice to be on top of the podium. Whenever we target something, we target the victory. The last two years it hasn’t worked that well, but we haven’t given up on that goal,” Lauke told Cyclingnews.
“With Pauline and Kasia in the team, we want to try and win the Giro, that’s a clear goal. We have to try with riders like that in the team I couldn’t say that we would be happy with a top 5 in a 1.2 race, that’s definitely not what we want. For sure, we are confident enough that we can go for the big races, iconic races that every team wants to win. We believe we have the quality with the addition of Kasia and the comeback of Pauline, that we can make it work.”
To secure both Ferrand-Prévot and Niewiadoma has been a bit of a coop for Lauke, with the former joining the squad last season and the latter signing up over the winter. While Niewiadoma has proved her worth already with a podium finish at Strade Bianche, returning Ferrand-Prévot to the rostrum has been something of a long-term project for Lauke and the rest of the team. After becoming the only rider to hold concurrent world titles in road racing, cyclo-cross and mountain bike, she endured injury and illness problems and even considered retiring.
Since signing her, the team has worked hard to ensure there isn’t too much pressure on her and has changed her off-the-bike exercises to prevent her leg injury flaring up again. The end of last season saw her back to something that resembled her own self with second at the GP de Plouay, a mountain bike world title, and a successful return to cyclo-cross. There was a disappointing end with a crash that left her with bruised ribs, but Lauke is confident that they can keep Ferrand-Prevot on top, with a view to the Olympic Games in 2020.
Building team confidence
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