This season, we’re supporting UCI Women’s WorldTeam Liv Racing Xstra. Here’s everything you need to know...
2022 is set to be a groundbreaking year for women’s pro cycling, with the introduction of the Tour de France Femmes - the first ever women’s edition of the world-famous race - pushing the sport into the spotlight more than ever. We’re incredibly excited to announce that this year marks the start of one of our biggest partnerships yet, with the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTeam Liv Racing Xstra.
Based in the Netherlands, the beating heart of European cycling, the team has a history of producing National, World and Olympic champions. This year top talent from across the globe has gravitated towards Liv Racing Xstra, and in a season where there is an opportunity to rewrite history in the first ever Tour de France Femmes, the team are looking to make their mark!
We caught up with team manager Eric van den Boom to find how Liv Racing Xstra are coming back stronger than ever, in this long-overdue year for women’s professional cycling.
Who are Liv Racing Xstra?
“We’re one of the longest-established professional women’s cycling teams in the world. We’ve been active since 2009, and we’ve had Liv as a key partner beside Rabobank since 2012. We then became one of the original 8 UCI Women’s WorldTeams when the tier was introduced in 2020. After we parted ways with Rabobank in 2016, we kept working with Liv, which has been an incredible experience as they’re a real driving force in women’s cycling - more on this later!”
What was your highlight - and lowlight - from 2021? Why?
“Alison [Jackson]’s win at the Simac Ladies Tour in Holland was a really spectacular moment for us! But ultimately, although this kind of win is fantastic for individual athletes, I’m most proud of the way we pulled together as a team to make these moments happen.
Admittedly we had some tough times, with bad luck in some key moments; a puncture at a crucial moment in the Strade, which cost us the win, was particularly painful. But overall, after all the struggles of Covid, we were just happy that we could race at all - at the end of that day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Why have you chosen SunGod as your eyewear sponsor?
“As a WorldTeam, it’s essential that we use industry-leading, high-quality women's cycling sunglasses, and they need to be ultra-durable as we’re using them every single day. We’re confident SunGod can provide that. We’re also incredibly excited to be partnering with SunGod because when we look at SunGod we see a young, ambitious brand, and that’s exactly what we stand for: we’re committed to developing young riders and helping them to reach the pinnacle of cycling at WorldTour level.”
2022 is landmark year for women’s cycling. How do you feel about the introduction of the first ever Tour De France Femmes?
“The introduction of the Tour de France Femmes this year is a significant step for the recognition of women’s professional cycling globally. We’re 100% focused on getting our riders there in great condition. Liv is also one of the main sponsors of the event, which adds an extra level of excitement for us! The ASO [competition organiser] has treated the race with the respect it deserves, and has fully committed to creating a world-class event that really feels like the original Tour. We can’t wait to compete there!
It’s also amazing to be able to work with Liv, which is a brand that embraces women’s cycling and promotes it so strongly. Riding bikes that are completely female-focused at each stage of production makes it possible to develop our riders in a way that fully prepares them to compete at the highest level.”
What are your predictions for the 2022 season?
“We’ve definitely developed greater depth and breadth in our team for this season. We’re working with a mix of very young and talented riders with huge potential, and more experienced veterans who can lead by example. I predict that a few of our riders are on the brink of a breakthrough - this could be the season where they really flourish!
The calendar looks different this year due to Covid, but as a general rule the off-season seems to be getting shorter and shorter every year. We’re now using two training camps in Italy and Spain to make sure we’re ready for the races that start at the end of February. We expect to play a key role in the big races this season, and to take wins. We have a very strong team for the Classic races in 2022, and I’m confident we’ll perform well in the stages of every Grand Tour as well. I know we’re fitter and stronger than ever this year, and I hope that we can show that consistently throughout the season."
2022 is guaranteed to be a season to remember for women’s cycling, and here at SunGod we feel very privileged to be at the heart of this progress through our partnership with Liv Racing Xtsra. Stay tuned to their socials at @livracingxstrawt to keep up to date with all the action, and see them in their SunGod road cycling sunglasses, as they battle against the world’s best cyclists for a place in the history books!
2022 squad list: Alison Jackson, Ayesha McGowan, Jeanne Korevaar, Marta Jaskulska, Sabrina Stultiens, Valerie Demey, Tereza Neumanová, Rachele Barbieri, Katia Ragusa, Quinty Ton, Eva Buurman, Silke Smulders, Amber van der Hulst.