RICHMOND, Virginia (VN) — Velocio-SRAM has never lost a world team time trial championship, and it’s not starting now.
Sunday’s victory in Richmond was the team’s fourth straight win since the event’s re-introduction in 2012. That’s four wins on four different courses, against four different sets of opponents, through the turbulence of a major sponsorship change, against bigger budgets, in a discipline decided by less than 30 seconds over nearly 40 kilometers. On Sunday, Velocio won by only six seconds.
How did they do it?
“It’s important that the whole team, the staff, the riders, they put their whole focus on this one thing,” said Lisa Brennauer, reigning world individual time trial champion and part of the six-woman squad that crossed the line just six seconds ahead of Boels Dolmans on Sunday.
“It’s everything. It’s the equipment, having the mindset for it,” she said.
The team did extra reconnaissance of the course, and has been training together for months with this race in mind. It suffered a setback at the recent Vargarda TTT World Cup, where it lost to Rabo-Liv by 26 seconds over 42km. But confidence never waned.
“If you have some people within the team, like us three sitting here that have been part of a winning team before, you can try to make the others feel that we can do it and that we can be able to defend the title. I think that plays a big role, that we stick together as a team and try to create a feeling that we can win,” Brennaeur said.
Team time trials are never easy, but this year’s was a battle. Velocio traded punches with Boels throughout the course, up at the first check, then down. It all came down to the final climb — at the base, the two teams were dead even with each other.
“We knew how close it was before the climb,” said Trixi Worrack, a member of Velocio’s TTT squads since 2012. “We came into this climb as four riders, and you have to go fast but not too fast because you have to bring four riders to the finish line. It was just on the edge. It was perfect.”
“I’ve never ridden that hard in my life,” Mieke Kroeger said as the team re-grouped following the post-race press conference.