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An interview with Kristy Scrymgeour, March 2, 2007
Scrymgeour: The key is chemistry
Following on from its success in the Geelong Women's Tour earlier this week the T-Mobile Women's team is again angling for success at this weekend's World Cup round. Team manager Kristy Scrymgeour took time out to talk with Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer.
The T-Mobile women's team has gotten off to a good start in the new season, with two stage wins in the Geelong Tour in Australia this week. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg brought in both of those victories, but according to team manager Kristy Scrymgeour, it is not so important which rider actually wins, as long as the team wins.
"The aim will always be for the team to pick up as many victories as possible," she said. "We believe all of our riders are capable of winning races if we work as a single unit."
Scrymgeour was named team manager this season, replacing Bob Stapleton, who moved over to take charges of the men's team. She knows what women's cycling is all about, having ridden professionally herself. Her credentials include the Australian time trial title.
Just like with the men's team, the whole management of the women's team is new. Scrymgeour brought in Petra Rossner as trainer and Anna Wilson as directeur sportif. It is Scrymgeour's first experience in team management, but she is relying on her long-time friends.
"So far it has been great. I'm having lots of fun," she said. "The team is very well supported and Bob Stapleton has given us a lot to work with. An added bonus is that Anna, Petra and myself have known each other for many years and have raced together on a team. So we work closely together and learn from each other."
Not only is the management new, but much of the team is, too. "This is a new sitaution for almost everyone," she explained. "Only three riders remain from last year and we have totally new management and staff, so it is challenging and exciting for all involved."
"We do have a very strong team," she continued, "and our aim is to make sure we stick together as a group to make the most of that strength. I have total confidence that between Anna's guidance on the road and Petra's coaching, the girls have every opportunity to develop as riders and be very successful as a group."
One of the striking characteristics of the team is its wide range of ages, from 18 year-old Emilia Fahlin to 39-year-old Kim Anderson. But this creates no problems, according to Scrymgeour. "The age range is actually a great aspect of the team. The young riders are learning a lot from the more experienced riders on the team and they also keep the old ones young!"
The men's T-Mobile team has been making headlines with its anti-doping program, and this philosophy is carrying over to the women's side. Scrymgeour noted that the doping stance is consistent between both teams and she's adamant that the team will race clean. "When signing riders for the season we made it very clear, and each and every rider shares our stance," she said. "It is also very clear in their contracts."
"We don't have the same budget as the men to have our riders undergo the same level of testing, but every rider is aware that an infringement will cost them their contract," the manager stated, saying that the girls supported the team's ethos. "We are lucky to have a very good team doctor in Professor Olaf Schumacher, who has analysed the girls' blood and is always very pro-active in helping them to stay healthy."
The women trained with the men at a joint training camp on Mallorca in January, and participated equally in the team presentation. After that, the riders returned to their respective homes to continue their off-season training. "They will spend enough time together throughout the season and we figured the best preparation for them was to be at home with their families until the racing started," Scrymgeour said. "A couple of the riders went back to Mallorca to escape the German winter and Kate Bates has been in track camp...to prepare for Track Worlds."
The team will be looking to do well in Saturday's Geelong World Cup, after its successful Geelong Tour. Not only did Teutenberg take wins on the second and third stages, but Alexis Rhodes took the overall young rider's title, and Judith Arndt, Teutenberg and Oenone Wood finished third, fourth and fifth overall.
All of them will also be riding in the World Cup race, along with Kate Bates and Linda Villumsen. Scrymgeour sees lots of chances for the team in the one-day race.
"Judith is of course an excellent all-round rider. She is one of the best climbers in the world, but she is also extremely strong on the flat and a very good team player," said Scrymgeour.
"We have three fast riders in Ina-Yoko, Oenone and Kate," she continued. "Ina won this race last year in a sprint, but Oenone almost pulled off a late breakaway, and Bates was also up there in the sprint."
Scrymgeour believes the current crop of young riders that make up part of the outfit hold it in good stead for the future. "Linda is a very much an all-round rider and is very young and still developing as a rider. We are all excited as to what we can see from her in the next year or two," notes Scrymgeour. "Alexis is also young. She is a great rider on short fast courses and very good at a short time trial. We will also see her develop a lot as a rider in the next few years."
And again, as with the men's team, the main emphasis within the 11-strong squad is on "die Mannschaft" - the team. "We have a really good feeling within the team," Scrymgeour concluded. "Everybody gets along very well and we hope that the chemistry will show with success throughout the year."