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by Mark Zalewski
February 25, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kittel wins with bike throw at Abu Dhabi Tour, stage 2; Mareczko wins third stage of Tour de Langkawi; Molano wins Volta ao Alentejo, stage 3; Van Avermaet lukewarm about Flanders route changes; talks Gilbert tensions and Liège; Rivals take note: After breakout year, Lepistö enters Spring Classics with confidence; Phinney out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with knee injury; Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson to begin racing in Belgium this weekend; Kittel chooses rim brake for second stage at Abu Dhabi Tour; ‘Protest’ over asphalting of Eikenberg cobbles; British Cycling perplexed by UK Sport allegations; Bicycle industry reacting to Utah Governor’s push to strip federal protection for public lands; New world record set for cycling length of New Zealand; Pedal power in sailing; Abu Dhabi Tour, stage 2 highlights; Video: On-board highlights – Abu Dhabi Tour, stage 1; Video: 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Chantal Blaak; Video: Vintage cycling day.
There is ‘hitting the ground running,’ and then there is having your first professional bicycle race be a Belgian classic-style event, complete with cobbled climbs and February weather. Such is the case for Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson as she will make her pro debut with the Canyon-SRAM team in Sunday’s Omloop van het Hageland in Tielt-Winge, Belgium.
Canyon-SRAM’s Leah Thorvilson. Photo by Russ Ellis
“At the end of January I left my full-time job to focus all my energies on the 2017 season,” she said. “Having the time to get outdoors and spend many more hours on the roads has given me a lot more confidence in simple things you can’t experience on the trainer. I’ve put in the time building my strength as well as improving my comfort levels riding in faster bunches. I’ve done what I can do in these two months. Now the rest just comes with the experience itself.”
The American neo-pro will join fellow teammates Hannah Barnes, Lisa Brennauer, Barbara Guarischi, Mieke Kröger and Alexis Ryan.
While she has been working with team coach Andreas Lang for the past two months, she realises it will be a baptism by fire and has realistic goals for herself.
“I know it will be different from anything I have done before, and I anticipate having to negotiate cobbles, wind, possibly rain, as well as a more aggressive field of riders than I have been in before. I want to come out of Sunday’s race with that ‘first one out of the way’ feeling that should give me more confidence going into the next race. I will be able to assess what went well and what didn’t, what felt comfortable and what didn’t, and look to improve on it all.”