25.11.2022 Continental, News, Race news
4 RIDERS EXTEND WITH CANYON//SRAM GENERATION
CANYON//SRAM Generation is delighted to announce contract extensions for four riders through 2023. The UCI Women’s Continental team had an incredible debut season, impressing in races from the national level to UCI stage races.
The team’s 2022 campaign saw victories at Tour de Lunsar, Gisaka Race, GP Pontevedra, and Groupama Ladies Race Slovakia as well as stage wins at Tour de l’Ardéche. Overall GC victory came at Tour de l’Ardéche and the team showed its consistency with further GC podium performances at Vuelta a Ruta del Sol, Tour Féminin Pyrénées, and 5th in GC at 2.PRO Thüringen Ladies Tour.
Under the two-tier structure of CANYON//SRAM Racing, and forming part of its long-term D&I program, the development team provides a formal pathway to the Women’s World Tour. The successes on the results sheet of CANYON//SRAM Generation come after the team’s goal of providing opportunities to riders from nations currently underrepresented in the pro peloton. The team provides a base in Europe for riders to live, train and race from, with all the supervised training, individual coaching, mentorship and structured race program necessary to support riders on and off the bike.
Agua Marina Espinola Salinas (Paraguay), Valentine Nzayisenga (Rwanda), Llori Sharpe (Jamaica) and Olivia Shililifa (Namibia) have all extended their contracts for a second year with CANYON//SRAM Generation.
CANYON//SRAM Generation Sport Director Adam Szábo: “As always, starting something completely new is challenging, but we had a good plan, strong partners plus riders and staff eager to take up the obstacles ahead of us. Naturally, some mistakes were made, but we learned from each situation. Getting this team on the road, where many riders were coming from different countries outside of Europe, brought us some administrative challenges, and there we also learned several new processes. We established a well-functioning base in Girona, Spain, where we created a safe and comfortable place for our riders to focus fully on riding and learning. Having these two key elements already in place moving into year two, we hope, will mean we can fully focus on developing riders.”
“We started with no real expectations on the performance side. However, we exceeded even our highest ambitions with all the combined results and performances. We set the bar high, but we shouldn’t lose sight of our initial aim of the team: develop and teach riders to become professional cyclists.”
“The key principles in the team are communication, patience and tolerance. As each rider came from a different background and culture, it was nice to see how they came together and connected through cycling. One of the first ‘ice breakers’ was when we celebrated one of the rider’s birthdays, and everybody saw how we care for each other. This was a point when I saw many of us realise the team somewhat represents a family. Of course, like in families, you have harder and better times, which is also the case in the team. You know you can rely on your teammates, and that matters the most, equally on and off the bike.”
Read the reactions of each of the riders to their contract extensions below.
AGUA MARINA ESPINOLA SALINAS
“I’m happy to stay with CANYON//SRAM Generation. I go into what will be an important new season knowing I’m in a supportive environment. It gives me the confidence to chase higher goals. I was happy with my new role as team captain this year. Seeing my teammates grow and learn race by race from a position I once was in, was special. My targets are to step onto the podium in a UCI race in Europe and to qualify for Paris Olympic Games 2024 for Paraguay. As a team, I want us to continuously raise each other’s level higher, so we’re a competitive racing group.”
“I would describe my 2022 as solid. I had a consistent year where everything went almost to plan, a rarity in life. I had by far my best season in Europe, and besides the experience and maturity I have at this point, my team made everything easier thanks to the stability and confidence they gave us. We also benefited from incredible equipment; these combined factors were key to our success. Going home to Paraguay in the off-season, I received much recognition. My community is proud to see me involved in such an important project for cycling with the backing and support from important sponsors.”
CANYON//SRAM Generation Sport Director Adam Szábo: “I am very pleased how Agua could fit into the role of team captain. She played a key role in our recent and probably the biggest success in the GC win of Tour de l’Ardéche, where she managed the team on the road and foresaw situations within the peloton with her experience. With more experience in the team captain role and a similar race calendar, I am hoping Agua can build on this skill next season.”
“I cannot be more grateful for another opportunity with CANYON/SRAM Generation to showcase what I have grown to love doing. I learnt so much in a short period, I can only imagine what more is waiting for me next season.”
“It was a challenge to start racing only towards the end of the season, to keep up with the other riders, and to adjust to a new environment. But I am truly grateful for the support and understanding the team gave me throughout my stay in Europe.”
“Next season, our team will aim to strike for any chance or opportunity we get. I want to take the key points I learned this year into my performances next season. I have many of them! My favourite is to always have a clear goal of what you want to achieve, whether in a race or a training session. I also hope that with my performances for the team, I will gain selection for Namibia at world championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.”
CANYON//SRAM Generation Sport Director Adam Szábo: “It took almost three-quarters of the season to overcome visa challenges for Olivia. When she was finally able to join the team and had her first races, we saw huge potential in Olivia. She made immense progress during her short time racing, and she returned home after the season with even more motivation to work towards her goals.”
“I’m over the moon to extend my contract with CANYON//SRAM Generation! I’m happy that the team will continue supporting my development as a professional cyclist. I can’t wait for the 2023 season and all it brings.”
“This past season was a whirlwind, but that’s where all the excitement lies! From the exceptional performances by the team, to the countries we competed in, to the drastic weather changes (freezing cold and extremely hot!), had anyone told me last year that I would’ve spent 2022 training and racing as a pro cyclist in Europe, I would’ve laughed. At no point did I think this sort of opportunity would come my way and not this soon either.”
“CANYON//SRAM Generation had a positive impact on my first year as a pro cyclist. The team (both riders and staff) provided an environment that was conducive to my development as I had the opportunity to learn and ultimately expand my knowledge base on the dynamics of cycling, be it technical skills, riding in a huge peloton, approaches to stage races (which was new to me), and the like which contributed immensely to my growth over the 2022 season. I’m glad I had the wonderful opportunity to join this team, and I’m looking forward to continuing with CANYON//SRAM Generation for 2023.”
“My cycling goals are to improve my confidence in the bunch, improve my nutrition and fuelling on and off the bike, challenge myself more, and not forget to have fun and enjoy the experiences. My non-cycling goals are to finish my bachelor’s degree program (I’m in my final year at university), and I’d also like to enrol in a chocolate-making course to become a certified chocolate maker to better understand the craft chocolate industry of which my parents and I are a part.”
CANYON//SRAM Generation Sport Director Adam Szábo: “Llori made the biggest progression throughout the season. There is still a long way to go, but her dedication to pursuing her goals is truly outstanding.”
“I am happy to sign again with CANYON//SRAM Generation. I had a hard year where I learned a lot from many races. I sometimes missed home, but I managed it with my teammates and am happy with my season.”
“I enjoy being home in Rwanda now and training, but I look forward to returning to the team soon. My aim for 2023 is simple: to work hard.”
CANYON//SRAM Generation Sport Director Adam Szábo: “Valentine was one of the most consistent riders throughout the season. I expect her riding skills and positioning in the peloton will continue to develop, and we will see Valentine take her chances in the more demanding hilly courses.”
With four riders from the team extending their contracts and Ricarda Bauernfeind and Antonia Niedermaier signing with CANYON//SRAM Racing in 2023, four new riders are set to join CANYON//SRAM Generation. The new riders and complete roster will be announced in the coming weeks.