Dutch squad AA Drink-Leontien.nl has picked up the four British

riders left in limbo by Garmin-Cervélo’s budget shortfall in December.

Olympic hopefuls Emma Pooley, Lizzie Armitstead, Sharon Laws and Lucy Martin will race for the team, sponsored by a Dutch-based sports drink company, this season.

“It’s a relief more than anything,” Martin said. “Nobody knew what was going on with Garmin, there was nothing official. That’s why it took so long.”

A source close to the Garmin team told CW that AA Drinks and Slipstream Sports have signed a partnership; subsequently, the squad will continue to ride Cervelo bicycles.

The squad, which finished fifth in the UCI world rankings last year, also includes Dutch star Kirsten Wild.

Gold medal unity
Keeping the four riders who could potentially make up the British Olympic road race team was in the riders’ and management’s best interests. “It was everyone’s preference to stay together, but there were a few times when we weren’t sure,” Martin said.

She also hinted that British Cycling had played a negotiating hand in keeping the quartet together. “There was a little bit of talking; they definitely wanted us to stay together,” she said.

Other road race hopefuls Nicole Cooke and Katie Colclough race for Faren-Honda and Specialized-Lululemon respectively.

Martin, who recently moved to Girona in Spain, sees this unity as invaluable for the Olympic road race and World Championships.

“It’s so much more beneficial than people realise. You don’t have to communicate so much, you can tell how they’re feeling from one look in a race,” she said.

This article appears in the January 12 edition of Cycling Weekly.

Related links
Garmin women’s team on the rocks

Pooley: where is our Team Sky?
Infighting threatens British women’s Olympic hopes

Team GB: London 2012 Olympic profiles

  • Tim

    It’s such a shame there there is no women’s team for the UK. Again, another year goes by without a team. We’re sadly lacking equality in our sport in many areas despite the sport’s success. It’s not as though the sport needs to encourage women to take up professional cycling, it’s happening, they just need the framework to be at the same level as the men and there’s clearly no reason why this is not in place. The more this cause is championed for women the better and it’s great to see more women challenging the sport, being more outspoken on the subject.

    Women still only have the World Cup which has been in existence since the late 1990s – where’s their World Tour?

  • Paul Down Under

    Greenedge cycling have straight away created a womens squad, I am surprised that Sky have not. I did send them an e-mail asking why – no reply other than we will get back to you – which was no reply.

  • Ken Evans

    You would hope world level riders would attract some UK sponsorship.
    The UK cycle retailers (such as the Web vendors),
    are conspicuous by their lack of sponsorship !

  • Tony Hare

    The 7th member of the GB team who rode in Copenhagen Catherine Williamson will again be riding for her S.African team Bizhub FOF. The team now have UCI status and will be racing in Europe in the coming season

  • davidwatkins

    what agolden opportunity lost by team sky to sign four of the best woman riders in the world what is mr brailsford playing at obviously only men count