25 Sep 2015

Villumsen almost lost job after world championship win

12:11 pm on 25 September 2015

Cycling New Zealand's defending their rider Linda Villumsen over her use of a bike supplied by Cycling NZ in her world championship time trial success, rather than her Pro Team's sponsored bike.

2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen.

2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Villumsen almost lost her job after deciding to ride the New Zealand black bike at the UCI champs in Virginia this week, shunning her UnitedHealthcare team's sponsored cycle.

Cycling NZ says they decided to use the equipment that offered the best performance outcome for Villumsen, and nowhere in the UCI rules stipulates that a rider must use their trade team equipment at a World Championship.

Cycling NZ says their riders have used National Federation equipment before at similar events including the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.

Mike Tamayo, who runs the UnitedHealthcare programme, confirmed to Cyclingnews that they contemplated firing Villumsen after her winning ride, such was the anger at her personal choice and the difficult position it had created for the team with their sponsors.

"We found out that she wasn't riding our team bike on the 11th hour. It was very last minute," Tamayo said.

"Our understanding from Cycling New Zealand's performance director was that she couldn't get the front end of her position low enough on her team bike and that they had to use a different bike and she had to use a smaller bike that our team does not make. It was more a matter of fit than one of technology."

2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen.

2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

On Wednesday Villumsen won the 30km event by two and a half seconds from Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands with another five seconds back to defending champion Lisa Brennauer of Germany.

The 30-year-old Denmark-born rider had previously won two silver medals and three bronze medals in the event.

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