Your Saturday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

March 4, 2017

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Yohann Gene wins fifth stage of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, takes lead; From indoor superstar to cobbled spring races: Talking to Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson; Valverde to miss Paris-Nice due to illness; Cancellara has Strade Bianche section named for him; Large quantities of corticosteroid triamcinolone ordered by Richard Freeman; Sagan says all or nothing with disc brakes; Virginia Commonwealth Classic race cancelled; Government support for Reading 120 race in question; SRAM-Fox Factory litigation costs mounting; Mysterious toilet plungers protecting cyclists; Video: Mavic #lesangjaune; Street Transformations – Manhattan’s Chrystie Street protected lane; Season X. Reflection.

From indoor superstar to cobbled spring races: Talking to Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson

by Simone Giuliani

It’s a cycling fairytale. A woman who only started riding less than two years ago wins a professional contract with one of the world’s top cycling teams, all because she entered a competition on her indoor trainer. But in real life, fairytales don’t simply end with an unexplained “and they lived happily ever after.” So what is it really like for Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson whose life was turned upside down when she quit her job to travel the world racing her bike with Canyon-SRAM?

With proven athletic ability but little bike racing experience, Thorvilson started with a gradual acclimatisation to team life in Australia before being thrown into the proverbial deep end last weekend when she did her first UCI race – a chaotic cobbled European race! We talked to Thorvilson to find out how she’s faring now that she has stepped into the world of professional cycling. Here is an excerpt:

That first race can be a nerve racking day for any new professional, even when they have spent years of their life working through the cycling ranks to reach that point. The rider is all of a sudden surrounded by names they’ve looked up to and a field that is aggressive and oozing with experience. The pressure is on, because, after all, this is now their livelihood not just a hobby.

Then add in minimal race experience, some cobbles, perhaps a hint of irritation among some members of the peloton that a novice has all of a sudden ended up in a pro team and the fact that the whole world’s attention has been bought to the fact that you are starting to race in a press release. This was the situation Thorvilson faced when she lined up at the UCI 1.1 ranked Omloop van het Hageland with her new team Canyon-SRAM to take on the cobbles of the Belgian race on Sunday. It wasn’t an easy race to start with, as cobbles generally mean chaos, crashes and a high attrition rate. That certainly turned out the to be the case this time.

“It didn’t go perfectly. I didn’t position myself well enough early to avoid some crashes that split the group. I was able to chase back after one, but not after the second and third,” Thorvilson told Ella CyclingTips earlier this week. “I was not hurt and was fighting my way back through the convoy amongst other girls who were in the same chase. I don’t think I made any major errors, I just lacked the experience and confidence that has to come with practice and time,” explained Thorvilson. “Each race I feel I will hold on to the good things, take a look at what didn’t go so well, assess what to do different next time and always look forward to progress.”

Click through to read more at CyclingTips.