The transfer talk for this year moves to the riders who we are yet to hear news of, with their contracts running out at the end of this year. First of all the women. The principle question for a number of our Kiwi women will be whether track commitments will need to be balanced.
Michaela Drummond – Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling
Drummond had her first taste of World Tour racing in 2017 with Visit Dallas, and her first top ten in a UCI international event at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau. It’s been a strong start by the 18 year old in her international road career, but a question hangs over not just Drummond, but also Williams and Buchanan. The question is how much of the 2018 season will be devoted to the track and the Commonwealth Games campaign with Cycling New Zealand; and will their respective teams keep the door open for them even if the number of race miles could be reduced?
Rushlee Buchanan – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
UnitedHealthcare have placed their faith in Rushlee since 2014 and have seen her balance road and track commitments successfully. Every time Buchanan has pulled on the blue and white kit she has done so with an eagerness and a gratitude towards the team and this year again it has been reflected in the results that the national road champion has achieved. Buchanan’s results have included a third place in stage 6 of the Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour, 6th place in the Tour de Feminin – O cenu Českého Švycarska’s individual time trial, just missing the top ten at Winston Salem; as well as taking her fourth national road race title.
Georgia Williams – Orica-SCOTT
Georgia Williams turned over a new leaf when she signed up with Orica-SCOTT, steering away from the BePink outfit that she’d been part of for the previous four years. A new outfit with a new objective has seen Williams play a role not dissimilar in some ways to that which Sam Bewley currently plays in the men’s team. This has meant that personal opportunities have been lacking as she’s instead played support roles that have led to 15 victories for the Orica-SCOTT team; and a World number 2 in the World Tour rankings for Annemiek van Vleuten. It will be interesting to see what her approach to 2018 is and what the future holds for Williams who is still just 23 years of age.
Natalie Kerwin – Team VeloCONCEPT
26 year old Natalie Kerwin is another to consider, having had her first taste of World Tour racing with Team VeloCONCEPT, alongside teammate and former world TT champion Linda Villumsen; more on her later. Kerwin has raced in Belgium, Spain and int he UK with her VeloCONCEPT outfit. Kerwin is one of two riders featured in this piece who doesn’t have track commitments. Her future is bright, and at just 26 years of age there is plenty of potential still to be tapped into. The team as a whole have been pretty quiet this year. They have five wins to their name but all of them have come from national championship events.
Linda Villumsen – Team VeloCONCEPT
And then finally we come to Linda Villumsen, the former world champion who has finally made the anticipated return to racing with Team VeloCONCEPT. Her race miles are slim as Villumsen only rejoined the professional peloton at the end of June at the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile. From there Villumsen raced La Course by Le Tour de France, but has not lined up since. We hope this is the beginning of Villumsen’s resurgence, and to her advantage will be that Villumsen can be undivided to the road. It will be interesting to see whether Villumsen starts in the team time trial discipline at the UCI World Road Championships and what that leads to. Linda has eyed the possibilities of Commonwealth Games and another Olympic Games, but a lot will depend on how this transfer season unfolds.