13-21 January 2018, Adelaide

Danish Team VIRTU Cycling announces team line-up
06 Dec 17

Villumsen in action for Team VIRTU Cycling

Above: Team VIRTU Cycling's Linda Villumsen in action earlier this year [pic: supplied]

By Matthew Agius

Team VIRTU Cycling will make its debut at the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under in Adelaide in 2018.

Led by experienced Italian Barbara Guarischi, the team joins a starters’ list that now features Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, Wiggle High5 and the Vantage NZ National Team.

The Danish team is headed up by recently retired former American time trial champion Carmen Small.

While this will be her first time in Australia, and as a team director, rather than a racer, she says several of her team will draw on previous racing experience in Australian summer.

“I got to race in Australia when they had a world cup and for the World Championships in 2010, so I am excited to go back. I never got the opportunity to race in Australia in January but always followed these early season races,” Small told tourdownunder.com.au.

“A few of the girls on the team have raced the early season Australian races so they have given me the inside scoop.”

That inside scoop undoubtedly features reports on the stark January heat, far removed from the continental cold in Europe on the opposite side of the globe.

Preparation when in Adelaide will be key, with Small seeking to push the team to a competitive result in the first hitout on the UCI calendar for the year.

“All the riders on the team are coming from different environments and fitness levels - we have two currently racing on the track preparing for the track world championships, one in Norway, one training with family in Taiwan, one in Italy and a rider in New Zealand - so it’s hard to say how each of them will prepare of the hot conditions in Australia. 

“Some athletes will adapt a bit easier then other but I think it will be a difficult challenge for sure… I understand how hard the heat can be on the body so I will push them to prepare properly.”

Among those on the team are Polish time trial champion and world scratch race titleholder Katarzyna Pawlowska , 2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen and current European scratch and points race champion Trine Schmidt.

Small is hopeful the group will gel towards a potential podium on the four stages, which takes riders through the Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Fleurieu Peninsula before a finish in Adelaide’s East End.

“It is a pretty new group that is going to Australia so it's hard to determine what will happen,” Small said.

“I was very competitive as a rider so that same mindset will go into Directing this season. 

“We will show up to do our very best and I hope that means being on the podium a time or two.

“We are all very excited to start the season with such great racing.  It will set the stage for a great year...  VIRTU Cycling is such a great supporter and sponsor so we are really ready to show them what we can do on the bike!”

Team VIRTU Cycling team list

Barbara Guarischi (Italy)

Emilie Moberg (Norway)

Katarzyna Pawlowska (Poland)

Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)

Louise Norman Hansen (Denmark)

Trine Schmidt (Denmark)

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