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Kirstin Wild

Kirstin Wild, Cervelo Test Team

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Cervelo Test Team’s leading sprinter Kirstin Wild took time out to talk to WomensCycling.net recently. 2010 has started exceptionally well for the 27 year old, 1.78m Dutch sprinter. One of the taller members of the Women’s peloton, Kirstin Wild is proving to be one of the top sprinters in the world.

Wild made the switch from being a School Teacher in 2006, initially riding part time, until 2008 when she became a full time professional cyclist.

Wild, who is in her second year with Cervelo Test Team, is one of the senior members of the team, “I feel really at home with the team, I think I am in the right place for my career and I am very comfortable and a real solid member of the team. The team are really open to new members and helping them to settle into the environment, so for me it has been easy,” said Wild.  

With 13 wins in 2009, 14 second and third places and a final finishing place of second in the 2009 UCI ranking, Wild has one of the fastest finishing kicks in the peloton. With one full month of the 2010 season completed the victories have started to flow for Wild.

Wild, started the season like gangbusters with a win in the Tour of Qatar, thanks to her fast-bunch consistency. She discussed the pre-season preparation and why the start of the season went so well, “It is funny really, I spoke with my trainer about my early form. He said it was too early to be in good shape. I was maybe in slightly better shape that the others which was a surprise but it was good enough to win.”

The first stage (103.5km) of the Ladies Tour of Qatar from the Museum of Islamic Art to Al Khor Corniche ended in a bunch sprint. Wild, defending her title from 2009, ended up with a puncture in the last 500 metres so could not contest the sprint. "It was too bad that I punctured in the last 500 meters of the race," said Wild. "I felt really strong and we rode a really great race with our team.During the race I was able to pick up some bonification seconds so I am not too far away from the leaders position and everything is open for the next stages".

Wild won the last stage of the Tour of Qatar and with that stage win it was enough to give her the overall for the second year.  "It was an exciting race," said Wild. "We started with 4 seconds behind leader Bronzini and I was able to close that gap in the intermediate sprints. Then I knew that it all depended on the last sprint. My teammates did an incredible good job in the final. They brought me into the perfect position and I was able to win the sprint," she added.

Wild was really happy about Qatar, "It was a great team effort and a perfect start for the 2010 season.”

Wild didn’t quite make it two in a row but came third at the Novilon Eurocup one-day race. The 141 kilometres race went from Corvorden to Hoogeveen in the Netherlands. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned-Nederland Bloeit) won the competition with Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger HTC- Columbia) taking second.

Teutenberg is a major sprint rival, Wild has many and reflected on her feelings and possible pressure when it is a sprinters stage, “I put pressure on myself. It doesn’t come from the team. I want to win, so most of the pressure comes from me.  If the race is ending in a sprint that is my chance to win and that is what I love to do for me and of course for the team,”

It didn’t take long for Wild’s next win, in the Ronde van Gelderland the second race in the Drenthe series, in its' 45th edition, was ridden without radios. Cervélo controlled much of the tempo and set Wild up perfectly for the win. Wild took first ahead of Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto Ladies Team) and Kristy Broun (Australian National Team). "We had a race plan that we followed, and it was particularly important because the race was ridden without race radios," explained Wild, "We had hoped that the race would come to a sprint, there was no wind and everything went according to plan. My teammates did a perfect job for me. The win was very important for our morale!"

Wild continued to provide her team with success, defending her previous wins at the Omloop van Borsele for her third consecutive year. Wild won the 121 kilometres race in a sprint finish edging out Rochelle Gillmore (Lotto) and Kirsty Broun (National Australia Team) in third.

"Right from the beginning of the race today we kept the speed in the peloton really high with the result that we were left with a group of 15 riders," said Wild. "In the final Charlotte Becker was able to attack together with Nicole Cooke (Great Britain National Team), Ellen van Dijk (HTC-Columbia) and Liesbeth de Vocht (Nederland Bloeit). Charlotte [Becker] had a pretty good chance, but they were looking too much at each other and so when the bunch came back together for the final I had to sprint. Despite the hard race my sprint went perfectly," added Wild

As April drew to a close, Wild made it two in a row winning the GP Stad Roeselare in Belgium. This was Wild's second consecutive year of winning both the Omloop van Borsele and the GP Stad Roeselare. The newest sprint in the peloton pushed Wild to the line, Chloe Hosking (HTC-Columbia) made Wild work hard for the win and pushed her to the line, but only managed second, Annemiek Van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit), who like Wild has had great early season form took third.

Wild was tired after the two days of racing, "The race was great again. We had a perfect situation in the break, then when the peloton took the break back it was our team that did the work in the final. The team brought me into a perfect position enabling me to sprint to my second victory of the weekend."

Wild is optimistic for the rest of the season and the longer tours that start in May. She has to work hard to keep her sprint form and given her height, Wild discussed the challenges of keeping her weight under control, to allow here to keep up with the smaller riders on the climbs? “For me it is the biggest competition for myself. I like food but I have a good balance.  Of course when you loose weight it makes you a better climber but I am good in the sprints and I can get myself over the climbs I need to survive.  There is always space for development,” added Wild.

Wild thought about which race she would like to win that she hasn’t won so far? “I haven’t won that many races really, so I still have lot to win. I would really like to win my home Nationals’, that is special for all cyclists. The Tour of Flanders is one I really want to win, it’s one of my most favourite races.”

Most cyclists use the down time from racing to try to relax, Wild is no exception, her hobbies include; Music, sports in general, and spending time with family and friends. “I enjoy time with my boyfriend.  I like to read, I am reading the Millennium-trilogy, by Stieg Larsson. The Millennium-trilogy consist of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. They are good books and I like to read them."

However, the life of a professional cyclist is challenging, Wild was asked what the most challenging part of being a professional cyclist was for her, “I think the time away from home is the hardest, missing family events and not seeing friends.  That is the hardest part for me. In the spring I don’t get much time but then I get some time between the tours. For me though it is not like I am doing this for my whole life. I like the travelling. It is just a small part of my life. I enjoy what I do and have a great life. If I wasn’t a professional cyclist, although that is difficult to imagine, I have cycled my whole life, I like all sports but I think it would be a team sport, like Volleyball. I like riding my bike so much I will ride even after I retire.

Wild was asked what music she listen to, to relax? “I like to listen to the radio, it is always different, but I like lots of music too, I like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and soft rock, like Alanis Morrisette.”

Finally, Wild reflected on who she admires and looks up to in the world, “In cycling, Fabian Cancellara, he has a don’t look back and just go attitude. In Women’s racing,  Leontien van Moorsel for everything she achieved. In my personal life I look up to my parents. They have always been a great inspiration.”

Thank you, Kirstin for your time and good luck for the rest of the season.

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