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Canyon-SRAM Generation to make racing debut in Spain this weekend

Illness and injury means team will only field two riders in opening two races, but more expected to line up as season progresses.

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Canyon-SRAM Generation will make its race debut this weekend with a pair of races in Spain.

The newly-founded Canyon-SRAM development team will ride the Il Liga Interautomica De Féminas on Saturday followed by I Trofeo Dulcinea on Sunday. The races form the opening weekend of the Liga Interautonómica de Ciclismo Femenino, a recently created series of races in Spain to promote women’s cycling.

Unfortunately, only two riders will be representing the new squad at the event after two others had to pull out at the last minute due to illness and injury. Rwandan rider Valentine Nzayisenga and Jamaican Llori Sharpe will make their race debuts with Agua Marina Espinola Salinas, and Alia Mansor forced to sit on the sidelines for now.

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“I feel a whirlwind of emotions honestly. I’m extremely nervous but so, so excited to get my first race underway. I don’t know what to expect for this race or the season in general, but I do know that I’ll give it my all,” Sharpe said.

“I’ve got in some good training sessions during and after the two team training camps that I think have put me in a better competitive position. Given the courses, I expect the races will be very fast and you’ll for sure see teams with more numbers bring different strategies and tactics. A lot of that can change during the race, so we just need to focus on reading the peloton and play our cards right to secure a good outcome.”

While Nzayisenga has previously raced on European roads at the world championships in Belgium last year, this is Sharpe’s first race on the continent. The Caribbean championships time trial bronze medalist is looking forward to getting stuck into her first event for the team.

“As the season opener, I’d be happy with finishing the race having given my all. It’s our debut as a team and we aim to work together. It will be a good starting point where we can learn from this experience going forward and see what we can improve upon as the season progresses,” Sharpe said.

More members of the Canyon-SRAM Generation squad will join the squad in the coming weeks with Fatima Deborah Conteh and Olivia Shililifa set to travel to Europe soon. Meanwhile, German riders Ricarda Bauernfeind and Antonia Niedermaier have delayed the start of their seasons due to study commitments.

Following the debut this weekend, the team will continue to race across Spain throughout the spring season. It will also travel to France in April to race the Grand Prix Féminin de Chambéry.

“This weekend is the first step for the team to start racing together and we aim to use it as a starting point. We want the team to learn and experience as much as possible and then we can progress step by step,” Canyon-SRAM Generation’s sport director, Adam Szabo said.