Lex Albrecht will be stepping up to the European plate in 2016!
Lex announced a big move a few days ago. The Canadian pro cyclist has signed a contract with Italian UCI team BePink for next season.
It’s a crucial move for her career, as racing full time in Europe is the only way for her to really move forward.
Lex has accepted to share her thoughts with us.
How was the contact made with BePink?
BePink and I had actually been speaking at the close of the 2014 season. This time around, it made sense for us to work together in 2016, and I’m looking forward to it.
Was it your decision to leave Optum? You wanted to be in a European team for the continuation of your career?
North America has a lot of great racing to offer, but the top events and the strongest concentration of talent is typically in Europe. It was absolutely imperative that I figure out a way to race over there full time instead of depending on North American teams that might…or might not do certain projects, and where spots are sometimes limited to bring athletes overseas.
I don’t think it’d be possible to reach my full potential as an athlete without doing it. I made the decision during the summer that I was going to make a major change for 2016, and it’s an honour to have been brought on board by BePink. I’m thankful for their confidence, and I’m excited for this next step.
What do you know of your new teammates? How well do you know Amber Neben?
Amber Neben is a very strong athlete with an impressive background in bike racing. We have never competed together on the same team, but I remember one of the first podiums that I stood on in the USA (San Dimas Stage Race, in the Best Young Rider’s Jersey) in 2011, I was alongside Amber. It’s cool to be in the same squad for 2016. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to learn from her too.
Other teammates include Kiwis Jaime Nielsen and Georgia Williams who are very strong track athletes. Our Canadian track riders are also very strong on the road, so I think they’re going to be a lot of fun to race with. I’m going to need to learn some Italian, but it’s kind of neat to know that there will be some English-speaking riders on the team too.
Do you know yet what your role will be next season? What is expected of you?
To help the team WIN. Haha, in all seriousness the specifics have not been outlined yet, we’re still a bit far out. Roles often change based on the race and the moment in the season.
This will be your first season in a European team. What are your objectives?
2016 will indeed be my first season racing for a European team, but the major aspect that definitely won’t change is that I’ll be giving my all for each competition, as I always have in the past.
BePink has a very solid race calendar with many UCI events as well as races that are a part of the new UCI Women’s World Tour. I’ll have to work hard to quickly adapt to European racing. I’ve done races overseas since 2010 but racing there full time with athletes who are accustomed to the European style of competition will be a change (a great one albeit!) that I will have to get comfortable with quickly to be the best teammate that I can.
How would you be able to combine your schedule with the Olympics if you were selected with the Canadian team? Has this been discussed with BePink?
I am on the long list for the Olympic Team in Rio in 2016. Canada has a lot of very talented athletes fighting for the spots to race at the Games, and it’s an ambitious goal to earn one of them. If I do, BePink will definitely be flexible in making the necessary race and training accommodations.
What do you think you can bring to BePink La Classica as an athlete?
I’m a dedicated and tenacious athlete, and I’m genuinely passionate about what I do as a professional athlete. I think those are key to being a good teammate. I also hope that my riding style (I like punchy, hillier courses) will be of value to them, whether it’s in a supporting role or to represent the BePink name in the results.
What was the first thing you did after you signed the contract?
I went to bed! I signed at night, and I don’t like staying up too late… haha.