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VN news ticker: Trek-Segafredo adds sports psychologist to staff, Registration for The Last Best Ride opens on Nov 11

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, November 11.

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Trek-Segafredo adds sports psychologist to staff

Trek-Segafredo has added Dr. Elisabetta Borgia to the teams’ support staff.

Borgia, 34, is a former cyclist with 17 years of competitive experience, including two Italian ‘cross championship titles, and three appearances at the UCI Mountain Bike Worlds Championships. She’s a 2011 graduate of the Università Cattolica in Milan, and has been working with the Italian Cycling Federation since 2013.

Working with pro Elisa Longo-Borghini since 2019, Brogia also helped the women’s team with group dynamics, and also how to navigate the coronavirus race-stoppage in 2020.

“Cycling is part of my DNA and my education,” Brogia said “Clinical and sport psychology are my major interests, my vocations. Although I have been working in professional sports for years, I have never wanted to abandon the clinical activity. I believe that measuring myself daily with the human suffering of normal people, not just pro-athletes, is a continuous training and a constant growth. I consider the idea of being able to combine both an added value and extremely stimulating.”

Trek-Segafredo head of performance Josu Larrazabal welcomes Borgia into the team.

“In recent years we followed different strategies, using external specialists and looking for the right balance with respect to the needs of our athletes. Group dynamics are one thing, individual dynamics another, where, for example, language barriers can limit the creation of that fundamental relationship of trust and harmony. Psychology is an enormous area of development, with a lot of aspects to take into account,” Larrazabal said.

“As a coach, I believe that the perfect balance for a professional athlete is created 50 percent by physical form and 50 percent by mental serenity,” Larrazabal said. “Over the course of a season, however, you have to take into account quite a few variations in this balance, even strong ones. From experience, I can say that the psychological aspect in many cases can have a greater impact on performance and the final result.”

“In modern cycling, it is no longer a sign of weakness saying that a psychologist supports you. On the contrary, it’s almost a sign of greater professionalism. There is a widespread awareness that psychology is a fundamental area of development,” Borgia noted.

Registration for The Last Best Ride opens on Nov 11

The Last Best Ride
The Last Best Ride (Photo: Sean Malone)

Registration for The Last Best Ride, a gravel race that debuted in 2021 to sell-out crowds, will open on Nov 11 at 8:00AM PST.

Watch:  Video: Jess Cerra “The Last Best Ride”

The race was founded by professional cyclist, entrepreneur, and advocate Jess Cerra. Along with putting a destination gravel race on the map in Whitefish, Montana, Cerra has established The Last Best Ride as a vehicle to fundraise for The Barbara Mansfield Champion Scholar Award.

The award is a program that gives a portion of proceeds from race registration fees, as well as supplemental donations, to local, financially-qualified high school women seeking post-secondary education.

“I have always wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” Cerra said. “By designing the event around the Scholar Award Program, I’ve created an event such that just signing up means registrants play a part in bettering the lives of the locals of the community they visit, regardless of if they want to donate more or not.”

Ted King and Sarah Sturm won the 2021 edition of The Last Best Ride. The event includes two distances, the 90-100 mile Bighorn Sheep and the 40-50 mile Mountain Goat.

Mauro Schmid signs for Deceuninck-Quick-Step

Mauro Schmid is the latest rider from the struggling Qhubeka-NextHash team to sign for another squad. The Swiss rider has secured a two-year deal with Deceuninck-Quick-Step, despite having a contract with Qhubeka until next year.

Schmid turned professional with the South African team in 2021 and took his first pro victory on the Giro d’Italia’s gravel stage to Montalcino. He was also part of the Swiss team that finished fourth in the Mixed Relay at the road world championships in Flanders.

Though he still had a year left on his contract with Qhubeka-NextHash, the team has given its riders permission to look elsewhere as it scrambles for funding for 2022.

“I really like to ride on the gravel because of my cyclo-cross history, so I felt at home on those white roads. After my win I got so many messages, that I had to switch my phone off in the evening,” Schmid said of his Giro victory. “Coming to this team is a dream that comes true. I have a lot of memories from watching the classics as a kid and seeing this team always perform.

“It’s about this mentality of always trying to win and this squad that holds together so strong. Here it’s really all or nothing and a lot of guys get the chance to go for a win. I really want to integrate well in the team and make another step to being more consistent in my performances. Winning another race would be amazing of course.”

Alena Amialiusik extends with Canyon-SRAM

After initially pondering retirement at the end of this season, Alena Amialiusik has extended her contract with the Canyon-SRAM team into 2022. The Belarusian rider has been a pro since 2012 and joined the Canyon-SRAM set-up when it was created in 2016.

Amialiusik took her first individual win in three years at the Lotto Belgium Tour earlier this year. She is a two-time world champion in the team time trial and a former European road race champion.

“At the start of the year I thought maybe it will be the time to stop, but during the season I understood I am not ready yet,” Amialiusik said. “I’ve had two seasons now without heavy crashes or serious injuries. Being able to regularly train, race, and rest without rushing to come back from broken bones or always feeling like you’re running behind in fitness has been an advantage for me. It’s also given me a fresh and happy head. A sense of calm where I could fully focus on my preparation and racing.

“I am not ready to leave the place I’m in now. I’m racing strongly, I’m happy, and my job gives me a lot of satisfaction. Sport has been a part of my life since I was seven years old. I’ve thought long and hard about stopping but it’s not the time for me now. It makes me even happier to say I’ve signed again for Canyon-SRAM Racing.”