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The nerves of the first race of the season

The nerves of the first race of the season

“I’m really excited for the first race of the season which is also my first ever race with the team but I am also more nervous than I’ve ever been before. I can’t really explain it but although everything is going really well I can’t wait for the first stage to be done!” says Sarah Roy who will debut for her new team, CANYON//SRAM Racing today. 

The Australian rider will start Setmana Ciclista – Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fèmines in Spain as she embarks on her ninth season as a pro. Usually well-accustomed to the nerves associated with the first race of the season, this year is a little different. It’s the first time Sarah has changed teams in the last seven seasons and has been getting to know the mechanics of her new teammates in recent training camps.

“My impression is that the riders are a group of highly motivated and passionate people with good energy and strong cohesion. There’s a good balance between work and play. Individually they’re super strong riders and consistently uplift each other as well as challenge one another to be their best selves on and off the bike. I find this group to be open-minded and willing to learn or try things differently from what they’re used to. I think this takes courage and trust – I feel the riders will take this into their racing which is important for us all to perform at our best in 2022,” explains Sarah.

DECIDING TO SPEND THE WINTER IN EUROPE

It’s also the first time Sarah has not returned to Australia for her off and pre-season preparations, electing to spend the winter in Europe. A choice that she trusts will put her in a good place for her target races in spring

“I have wanted to spend a winter in Europe for a few years but circumstances didn’t allow for it so I’m really glad I was able to this time. I’ve spoken to a few pros over the years who’ve said their best classics season has come after not travelling back to Australia. I do love being back home but the reality is it can be quite demanding.”

Sarah spoke of the increasingly shorter off-season, extra travel required in Australia in order to meet extended family and friends, media events and holiday celebrations. “Before you know it, it’s January 1 and you’re back travelling and racing.”

“I love the catchups but it all takes a toll physically and mentally and if I want to give myself the best chance at a great season ahead then it comes down to making the performance decision to stay in Europe. It was a tough one especially being a national champion at the time, I really would have liked to ride in Australia in the green and gold with my friends and coach, and celebrate things with them that I wasn’t able to when I won last year because I was on a flight out of Australia a day later.”

Sarah’s decision to stay in Europe already seems to have been the right one at the time, with a refreshed approach to the upcoming season and already an accumulation of personal bests in training.

“I’ve been training in new ways over the winter and have been able to put down a lot of consistent work. I’m really happy with my decision. I’ve re-found my love of cycling with a less stressful approach having more time to build up and doing personal bests this deep into my career is a real confidence boost.”

INAUGURAL TIME RACING SETMANA VALENCIANA

Alongside the first race of the season and the first race with her new team, Sarah also faces another new first–racing Setmana Ciclista – Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fèmines.

“It’s so refreshing to be doing new races,” states Sarah. “After spending some fun times and tough training sessions with the team, race situations are always very different and so I’m now really looking forward to finding out what each rider is like under race stress and fatigue and how I can help them. I think all the different nationalities and accents on the radio will be interesting too!!”

“The first and last stages of this tour could possibly suit me depending on how they’re raced. There is a lot of unknowns going into the first European race of the season and we are lining up with a very strong field despite not being a World Tour event. As a team, we are each in very good shape and I believe our riders are in a position to go really well here. Personally, what I want out of this tour is to get into the groove of racing again and racing with the team. Ultimately, I want a win for the team. I think we can do it.

Today’s opening stage of the four-day tour around Valencia, Spain starts at 13:30CET and can be followed on Twitter with #VoltaCVFemines22. The 114km stage from Tavernes de la Valldigna to Gandia will be broadcast live on Á Punt media here from 15:30-17:15CET.

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