ORICA-AIS is proud to announce that Emma Johansson will join the Australian outfit for the 2013 season. The reigning Swedish National Champion on both the road and in the individual time trial adds depth and leadership to the team in its second season.
“Emma has been a rider that we have watched for a while, and we have been impressed by her aggressive style of racing,” said Sports Director David McPartland. “We consider her important to our younger riders as she is one of the best in all types of terrain during the season.”
A silver medalist on the road at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Johansson counts a World Cup win at Ronde van Drenthe, second place finishes at La Flèche Wallonne and Trofeo Alfredo Binda and the overall victory at Thüringen Rundfahrt among her most notable achievements. The 29-year-old finished the 2012 season as third best in the world amongst elite women on the UCI rankings.
“Winning the World Cup in 2009 was a really big achievement for me,” noted Johansson. “After the Olympics, that’s my most important result. Winning Thüringen Rundfahrt in 2011 was also special. Every rider is so important for a victory in a stage race, so it’s a really great feeling to do that together. It’s something I hope we can feel after our races next year.”
Having lost Judith Arndt to retirement, ORICA-AIS will look to Johansson to guide the younger, less experienced riders on the team.
“As an Aussie team, we have many younger riders who typically haven’t been exposed to the rigours of tough, gritty, stressful European races from an early age,” explained McPartland. “The luxury of having riders of Emma’s caliber proves useful in narrowing the gap by teaching and speeding up the acclimation process for our talented Aussies. We are very excited to have Emma for her experience.”
Johansson matches this excitement and calls the choice to join ORICA-AIS an ‘easy’ one.
“I have always dreamt about racing for a big team,” said Johansson. “In the past, I’ve chosen to ride for smaller teams where I took on a bigger role in the inner-workings instead of focusing only on the sporting aspect. Now seemed like the right time to get onto a big team.”
“As I considered the bigger teams, ORICA-AIS stood out,” Johansson continued. “The girls on the team clearly work well together, and they have demonstrated that they’re not scared to take risks in order to win big. Their way of racing fits my personal style, so my heart felt this was right. The team stands on stable ground, and it’s a bonus to be backed by the men’s team and Cycling Australia too.”
Asked about her personal goals for the upcoming season, Johansson reiterated her commitment to the team objectives.
“I want to win races,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter who wins – if it’s me or a teammate. I just want to see us win. There is one race that stands out to more than others: the Tour of Flanders. It’s close to my base during the season, and it’s one of my favorite races. It’s a race I hope to win during my career.”
Johansson’s objectives extend beyond tangible terms.
“Apart from good results, I really want to have fun on my bike,” said Johansson. “I want to enjoy it all again. That’s something I hope to achieve. After the Road World Championships, I had the opportunity to spend two days with some of my new teammates. We had a lot of fun together. I think this will be a great year that way.”
“I’m looking forward to the start of the season," she added. "I’m really motivated to go down to Australia and get on with racing again.”