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SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT.

 

A new look Specialized Women's Racing launched on January 3, 2018. The kit, created by Black Sheep, was a celebration of everything the team had achieved in establishing themselves as the longest-serving domestic women's team. But the design exhibited a distinct air of determination to evolve. An intention which would be upheld by everyone connected to the team – riders, sponsors and support staff alike. Expectations utterly exceeded, the time has come to reflect on an incredible summer of racing.

 

For a team sport, primarily focussed on individual results, what was abundantly evident from the outset was the cohesive group camaraderie among Specialized Women's Racing. This positive team spirit stretched beyond just Director Sportif Mark Brady and his seven riders and included guest riders, team founder Liz Phillipou, committed sponsors Peta Stewart Conveyancing, Lodex, adidas eyewear and CartGIS. Chris Stevens, owner of CartGIS – a business with no direct link to cycling – deserves special mention for being both one of the team's longest-serving sponsors and also the most dedicated soigneur in the women's peloton. Michael Brown from Specialized, too, has been on hand not only to represent the brand for which he works but also get his hands dirty. A communications specialist by trade, he was on the tools for the Santos Women's Tour Down Under and was on hand to ferry content gatherers around to many of this season's biggest races. And last, but by no means least, thanks must also be extended to former female pro Nicole Moerig and current Black Sheep Ambassador Melita Van Steel who both gave up their time to bring professionalism and content to the Specialized Women's Racing social media channels.

 

On the bike, the team's results were also a testament to incredible solidarity and team spirit. Specialized Women's Racing was fortunate to be invited to high calibre races such as the Women's Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Herald Sun Tour alongside some of the world's best teams. It was unimaginable at the beginning of the season that SWR would stand on the Team's Classification podium at the Tour Down Under and win the same category at Cadel's. But they did. And a massive congratulations must go to all involved. Chapeau.

 

AUSTRALIAN ROAD NATIONALS.

 

Black Sheep unveiled the new Specialized Women's Racing kit at the Australian Road Nationals, but it was the incredible legs of Kate Perry that caught everyone's attention. The time trial specialist from Melbourne led a group of three including Mitchelton-SCOTT's Jessica Allen and FDJ's Lauren Kitchen from the start almost all the way to finish, claiming the QOM and Sprint jerseys along the way and still finishing within the top 10. A notable mention must also go to Josie Talbot who, guest riding for the team, got second in the Under-23 competition.

SANTOS WOMEN'S TOUR DOWN UNDER.

The Tour Down Under would prove a more robust test for Specialized Women's Racing. But the team rose to challenge, with every rider playing their part. Ella Bloor, the youngest member of the squad, was unrelenting in her domestique duties. Experience was also on hand with team captain Taryn Heather (11th overall) rallying the troops after each and every difficult stage, which included wet days and blistering hot ones. The beneficiary of some of this incredible teamwork was Kate McIlroy who fought off stiff international competition to win the Menglers Hill QOM on Stage 2 and secure a deserved eighth on GC come the end of a thrilling week of racing. The women celebrated their third position on the Team Classification by outlasting everyone at the Chateau – the popup by Black Sheep & Specialized.

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RACE MELBOURNE.

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CADEL EVANS GREAT OCEAN ROAD RACE.

Director Sportif Mark Brady loves it when a plan comes together, so could only be over the moon to have watched what unfolded at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Against, perhaps, their strongest opposition all summer, the Specialized Women's Racing team rounded out the 110km race with Kiwis Sharlotte Lucas and Kate McIlroy in the top 10 and Taryn Heather not far behind in 12th. A notable achievement against some of the world's best. But better still was the team taking the top step on the Team's Classification ahead of the Australian National Representative Team and Mitchelton-SCOTT.

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HERALD SUN TOUR.

The inaugural Women's Herald Sun Tour was made up of two stages – a 123.5km road race in which it was Ella Bloor's moment to shine. The young gun, making the break in an aggressive race and being in the mix to relieve the pressure on the rest of the team. Day two was a 1.6km ITT. Described by Kate McIlroy as the hardest 2mins she rode all summer, the Kiwi Olympian managed another top 10 finish and was within shouting distance of time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten. Kate also ended the Sun Tour just outside the top 10, in 11th, rounding off an amazing summer. Sharlotte Lucas, equally fantastic all January, was just behind in 13th.

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SHOW YOUR COLOURS.

To celebrate an incredible summer of cycling, we are releasing a replica of the full team kit. Designed on a navy base with teal and purple highlights, it carries only the logos of Specialized Bicycle Components and Black Sheep. It is available in a women's and men's cut, with 20% of all sales going directly to the team.

SPECIALIZED WOMEN'S RACING SUPPORTER KIT. STRICTLY LIMITED RELEASED FEBRUARY 7. 7PM AEST.


SEE MORE OF THE SUPPORTER KIT