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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Women’s cycling’s new super team Trek is taking shape, with Giorgia Bronzini leading the way and Lizzie Deignan relishing an opportunity to continue racing.
The British star Deignan, winner of the 2015 UCI road worlds and the 2016 Tour of Flanders, said she had doubts about her future until Trek came along. Doing last month’s Tour de France, Luca Guercilena — the general manger of the men’s Trek-Segafredo team — announced the formation of the women’s team for 2019.
“My career was up in the air really, but I was then approached by Trek,” Deignan told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I was concerned about my future in the sport, as it hasn’t really happened before at elite level road cycling.”
Deignan raced with the strong Boels-Dolmans team starting in 2013. She won the worlds, Ronde van Drenthe, GP Plouay, and Flanders. Her last race was the 2017 world championships. Since then, she has been focused on her pregnancy.
“There haven’t really been mothers who have stepped away from it and come back and been supported,” continued Deignan.
“It’s unprecedented in that way,” she added, noting the new Trek team is a “step forward” for cycling.
The squad is beefing up quickly. Overnight, management announced that Italian Giorgia Bronzini is retiring from racing and will join retired German sprinter Ina Teutenberg as a sport director in 2019. Bronzini is a two-time road worlds champion.
“I am retiring from the races because I feel now is the time. I really still enjoy the racing, but what I am finding heavy is all the training,” said Bronzini.
“I’m glad to start my new experience with Trek alongside one of my idols, Ina Teutenberg. I am excited to pass on all my experience to the riders and help them find a balance to enjoy racing while also being focused to achieve good results.”
Deignan leaves behind Boels-Dolmans with Megan Guarnier, Chantal Blaak, and Anna van der Breggen. She will join teammates Ellen van Dijk and Elisa Longo Borghini on the Trek squad.
Trek is one of a few men’s WorldTour teams with a women’s arm, the others being Team Sunweb and Movistar. The roster will likely include around 15 riders.
“We will support the riders; we will have to be full-time professionals,” Guercilena explained during the July launch.
“The girls are not supported economically right now. The UCI is bringing in a minimum salary in 2020, but we don’t want any athlete being part-time or dealing with private sponsors.”
The budget is nowhere near that of men’s teams, which have $15 million to as much as $30 million to use, but Trek should be at the upper end for women’s cycling. John Burke, the CEO of Trek, confirmed it would be on the “high side” for the top teams.
“Trek is committed to changing the world by inspiring more people to ride, and our world-class women’s road team will be filled with passionate racers who are out to inspire,” said Burke. “We’re putting full support behind our athletes so they can focus on their profession and be the best they can be.”