Rabo Liv announced over the weekend that they have re-signed Shara Gillow’s for the upcoming the season. The Queenslander will ride for the Dutch squad through December 2016.
Following three seasons with Australia’s Orica-AIS, Gillow made the move to Rabo Liv in January 2015 – and immediately opened her account with her fourth national time trial title at the Australian Road Championships.
“Finding my feet within a new team this year has been both challenging and even more rewarding,” Gillow told Ella CyclingTips. “I spent six years riding with Australian teams (national team and Orica-AIS), and I’m very grateful for their help in my development as a cyclist.”
“Signing with Rabo Liv was a step that I’m thankful to have made,” Gillow added. “It has been the best decision that I have made since I have started cycling. My new team environment has been amazing. Being surrounded by Olympic and multiple world champions has started to bring out the best in me.”
The changes Gillow has encountered during her with Rabo Liv have extended beyond the bike. She laughs as she points to some of differences that have cropped up as she traded primarily Australian teammates for primarily Dutch ones.
“The Dutch will say what they want to say straight to the point,” Gillow noted. “They are usually pretty sincere. If they ask you how you are going they really want to know. If you ask an Australian how they are going their response will usually be, ‘Yeah. Good, thanks. And yourself?’ Nothing else.”
“And man these Dutchies have the best sense of humour too,” Gillow added. “There has been so many times where we have nearly split our sides laughing!”
“From overcoming the cultural barriers to where my teammates have become my best friends has been well worth the challenges,” said Gillow. “We treat each other like family, and we have a great deal of respect for each other.”
While Gillow’s personal results have been on the decline compared to previous seasons, she has inarguably played more a support role this year. She was an integral part of Anna van der Breggen’s wins at the Giro Rosa, Elsy Jacobs Festival, Flèche Wallonne and Het Nieuwsblad. She raced for Kasia Niewiadoma at Emakumeen Euskal Bira. She’s expected to be part of the team’s time trial squad at the Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia in September.
“My biggest focus this year has been to put my new team first ahead of my personal results,” said Gillow. “ It has been great to be a part of the winning mechanism of the winning team that has taken out almost all the major events so far this year.”
“It’s been a huge surprise at how much appreciation there is for your work within this team,” Gillow added. “This only motivates you to step up even more. Race tactics in my new team are completely different, and I have already learnt so much from this style of racing too.”
Gillow calls her time spent riding in service of van der Breggen at the Giro Rosa the stand-out moment of her season to date, but she was quick to add that her whole season has been one of the best of her professional career.
“I know that when I look back on my cycling career one day, this particular time riding with Rabo will stand out as one of the highlights of my life,” said Gillow.