“She’s that kind of old-school cycling role model. Sometimes I talk when it’s not needed, and Trixi talks only when it’s needed. I use my smartphone a lot at races, Trixi reads. It’s a privilege to be on the same team and the things I have learned from Trixi are endless. It’s one of the main reasons why I joined the team in 2016. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to be Trixi’s teammate,” Elena Cecchini.
CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Trixi Worrack may have been the rider who celebrated the hardest after winning a bronze medal in the individual time trial at this week’s European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, describing it as important as a gold medal win. But coming in a close second in the celebration stakes were many of her teammates.
“I was very very happy on Wednesday. Almost like that medal was mine!” Cecchini said.
“Since her crash in Binda two years ago it’s impressive to see Trixi come back to where she’s at now. She uses her experience and wisdom to help riders to big results and sacrifices her own chances. I think we’re all super happy to see Trixi get the bronze in Glasgow” agreed Tiffany Cromwell.
As one of the first riders to start, Worrack sat in the hot seat for most of the race, patiently waiting as rider after rider went slower, only celebrating her podium spot after the last rider finished.
“For me it’s a big thing. It’s the first big win for such a long time. The bronze means a lot more to me than what it might to many others. It’s like a gold medal for me,” said the elated 36-year-old who represented Germany during the championships.
Seemingly not one for a lot of words (asked if she could describe how she went about winning the bronze medal, she answered: “I pedalled fast.”) Worrack in truth can be talkative and admitted that she knew her best form was reappearing.
“I knew my shape has been good. I was good in Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour, unlucky to not get a win on one of the road stages there, I did a good TT at German nationals, I won a stage at BeNe Ladies Tour which was another step. It’s been coming. But it’s taken so long to get a big result like this.”
Worrack said she had aimed to finish within the top five to eight positions in Glasgow.
“I thought if I had a good day, then fifth would be realistic. I had a slow first intermediate split because I knew the course was undulating and I probably held back a little there. But in the rest, I was good. We’d seen the course in the previous days but always in open traffic. We didn’t know if the roundabouts would be blocked on one side or how to really take the corners. Everyone was in the same boat. There was no chance for anyone to see it until during the actual race. That was challenging.”
Though already holding a long and plentiful palmares (including four consecutive team time trial world championship gold medals), Worrack admitted it hadn’t been easy to return to her in-form self. Her last monumental win was the Ladies Tour of Qatar in February 2016 but one month later Worrack was side-lined following a crash during Trofeo Binda that required life-saving surgery to remove a ruptured kidney.
“You train, prepare well, you race, you do well in races, you help your teammates achieve success. But at the end there is no result against your name,” said Worrack.
“It was hard to come back after that crash. The Rio Olympics were a big motivator (Worrack returned to racing less than 3 months after surgery). But the road to get back to your best form is hard. It’s tough physically and mentally.”
“It’s easy to go out and train five hours when there’s a nice landscape or you’re training with friends. But to go out on your own, to do the specific intervals that you need to get back to your best, it takes a lot of motivation. It’s a mental battle when over and over you aren’t getting any feedback on the results sheet.”
“For this reason, this bronze medal means a lot,” revealed Worrack.
Worrack now looks only as far ahead as the upcoming Women’s WorldTour races in Sweden and Norway with CANYON//SRAM Racing.
“I’m not looking at world championships at all. I don’t even know if I’ll race the ITT or road race or even what the courses are like (though I’ll ride the course on Zwift soon!). I’m focused on these next races, to keep my form and see what happens there.”