Road

Specialized-Lululemon out to defend TTT title as worlds kick off

Defending champs Specialized-Lululemon should see stiff competition from the deepest field ever for the women's team time trial

PONFERRADA, Spain (VN) — Specialized-Lululemon is motivated to defend its crown in the women’s team time trial as the 2014 UCI Road World Championships kick into gear Sunday.

Specialized-Lululemon won in 2012 and 2013, knocking back its rivals to claim the prestigious team title.

The team’s lineup has changed since last year, most notably with the exit of Ellen Van Dijk to archrival Boels-Dolmans, but Evelyn Stevens remains optimistic.

“Defending a title is always more difficult than winning, so Tuscany [2013] was the tougher year, but it was also more satisfying,” Stevens said Saturday in a release. “The TTT is the true definition of teamwork, to know that you can trust each other, and bike that fast.”

Joining Stevens, who’s been on the first two winning teams, will be Carmen Small, Trixi Worrack, Lisa Brennauer, Karol-Ann Canuel, and Chantal Blaak.

The team should see stiff competition from the deepest field ever for the women’s TTT effort. Nipping at their heels will be Orica-AIS, anchored by Emma Johansson, and Van Dijk’s Boels-Dolmans crew. Giant-Shimano will also bring a strong squad to the table.

The out-and-back course passes through the Bierzo wine country is what’s a pure power course. The women race 36.15km, with total climbing of just under 200 meters.

The women start at 10 a.m., with the men rolling out at 2 p.m.