Aromitalia Vaiano Fondriest team’s Allison Linnell is living her dream: become a champion in Italy with #UrsusWheels.
Why did you choose our country and Aromitalia Vaiano Fondriest Team to begin your Pro-Cyclist career? It has been my dream to live in Europe and compete as a professional athlete ever since I was young. Nothing quite compares to riding through small Italian villages, with each bakery filling your nose with smells of freshly baked bread and biscotti, and accompanied only by the sounds of your tires rolling along the road. Cycling appears to be such a large part of the culture and history here and it is amazing to be a part of it all. At Strade Bianche, I was shocked by the number of spectators lining the course even for the women’s race! The fans truly make the atmosphere of the races electric.
While cycling is definitely growing in the US, many of the famous races that I have always dreamed of riding in (Giro d’Italia Femminile, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Strade Bianche, etc.) all take place in Europe. Thus, I decided that if I really wanted to pursue my cycling dreams, I would have to jump across the pond to Italy and dive head first into this level of racing. Aromitalia Vaiano Fondriest welcomed me onto their team and have been so helpful with making the transition from the US to Italy as smooth as possible. The team is made up of a great group of women who have been teaching me more and more about cycling every day..
In U.S. your first love was Running, then the dream of Ironman. Now is time for road cycling. Pretty challenging girl! What next?I will definitely be sticking with cycling for the foreseeable future! While I did love running, and tried to extend my running career via Ironman triathlons, I soon realized that my true love was cycling. I enjoyed some success in Ironman races but found that when I went out to train, I was always looking forward to my next bike ride. I training for running and swimming because I had to, but I was riding my bike because I loved to. Now, whether I have a good or a bad race, all I want to do is hop right back on my bicycle and feel the freedom of a winding descent or the searing burn in my lungs on a tough climb. I have a lot of goals in cycling to accomplish before I think about moving on to something new!
You just took part in your first Pro-Race in Italy, the first edition of Tuscanian main event “Strade Bianche 2015”. How was to race on unpaved roads and through clouds of dust? The race was grueling but I loved it! Coming from a cyclocross background, I was looking forward to the unpaved road sections of the race. While I had watched previous editions of the men’s race numerous times, experiencing the race for myself was more exhilarating than watching it any number of times on TV. The men make those climbs look so easy, but I can assure you that those climbs are no joke, nor are the clouds of dust!
I was thrilled that the race directors decided to add a women’s edition of this famous race for 2015 and that I was able to be a part of it. Women’s cycling is growing, and adding more of these classics to our calendar will only help to grow the sport further. Hopefully with the addition of women’s fields to these popular races, we will be able to inspire the next generation of the women’s peloton and continue to gain exposure for the sport of cycling around the world.
These days you have had the chance to test #UrsusWheels. What models equip your bike? Our team is fortunate to have Ursus Wheels equipping our bicycles for training and racing. For our everyday training we use the Ursus Guara. These wheels are light enough to roll up any mountain, even when your heart rate is at 190bpm and you can barely push the pedals, and sturdy enough for when the road turns from tarmac to gravel! While pre-riding the Strade Bianche course, we all used the Guara wheels and had no issues, even while riding over holes and large rocks.
At Strade Bianche, we raced on the Ursus Miura T24. Even while riding through gravel turns at speeds in excess of 50kph, these wheels were sturdy enough to withstand the bumps, yet light enough to fly up the climbs without feeling any weight dragging us down. The race was also quite windy and the low profile allowed us to cut straight through the winds.
For the next race we will be using the Ursus Miura T47. While we have not yet used these in a race, we did have them on our bikes for our team presentation and they looked fantastic. I am excited to try these wheels on March 22nd at our next race in Napoli. I am most intrigued by the copper braking track of these wheels, designed to solve the problem of heat dissipation while braking.
You are young, but your experience as athlete is already extensive: what do you feel while you ride #UrsusWheels? Anything different than other brands that you’ve tried in the past? I am pretty tough on my wheels. I go exploring when I see an interesting dirt trail on the side of the road or when I spot a beautiful picture opportunity on the other side of a river. I put my wheels through a fair amount of stress and abuse! So far, the Ursus wheels have proven that they can handle this kind of stress without a problem. Having confidence in your equipment is imperative, especially when you are faced with narrow roads, tight turns, and the occasional driver on the wrong side of the road. These Ursus wheels will answer when you need to change your line through a turn to avoid a crash or when you decide to go off-roading and on an adventure – these wheels can do it all!
You use to write for your personal blog (http://allisonlinnell.weebly.com) and you are a VERY stylish instagrapher as well. How could you describe your relationship with Social Networks and your passion for emotional digital photography? I view social media as an opportunity to share my passion with others and try to inspire other people to pursue their goals. With my blog and Instagram/Facebook accounts, I hope that I can share what I have learned and encourage other people dream big. I have always been drawn to nature and I like to challenge myself to photograph objects or scenery in a way that capture the beauty in the world around us. Editing my photos is where I like to get creative and change a normal photo into something eye-catching and unique. Cycling provides so many great opportunities for photographs and I enjoy being able to capture snapshots of my passion to share with others.
THANK YOU ALLISON AND GOOD LUCK!
Ursus Press Office