The first gold medal of the 2017 Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway was awarded to the women of Team Sunweb Sunday after an impeccable effort in the Team Time Trial. The team of Lucinda Brand, Leah Kirchmann, Floortje Mackaij, Coryn Rivera, Sabrina Stultiens and Ellen Van Dijk decimated the competition, winning by 12 seconds over the reigning World Champions and race favorites Boels Dolmans.
Over the rolling hills of the 42.5 km course, the battle between Sunweb and Boels Dolmans was close, with the latter taking the lead by 15 seconds at the top of the race’s challenging 1.5 km climb. But, it was Team Sunweb’s perfect pace that put them in position for the win.
“It was a really tough course and it was so important not to over pace on the climbs as you blow up the whole team so we really focused on that,” said Van Dijk. “That was our strength, we kept it really smooth and it was feeling good all the way. We used each other’s strengths all the way and we took the win which is incredible.”
Team Sunweb’s ability to come into the World Championship TTT with no weak link in their six-woman team was the result of commitment, training and focused preparation. Every detail is refined to provide the maximum advantage, starting with the rider’s skinsuits. Team Sunweb partners with leading cycling apparel company Etxeondo and Liv Cycling to create innovative aerodynamic skinsuits that allow the riders to perform their best.
The women of Team Sunweb also compete wearing Liv’s aerodynamic time trial helmet, the Attacca TT, to get the maximum edge over the competition. This year Liv went one step further, creating a custom version of the helmet for time trial specialist Ellen Van Dijk. Because of Van Dijk’s uncanny ability to maintain her position, Liv’s product designers were able to create a more aggressive helmet which gives her added aerodynamic benefit.
Van Dijk acknowledges that the team didn’t expect to be in the running for the win. “We were the underdog and now we’re world champions.”
Sunday’s TTT was the last race for the women in Team Sunweb colors. On Tuesday, September 19 they will zip up their skinsuits again in Bergen, racing for their country in the individual time trial. The women’s World Championship road race will take place Saturday, September 23.