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.