Canada's Karol-Ann Canuel (67) and Joelle Numainville (70) race in the 2015 UCI Road World Championships elite women's race Saturday in Richmond.
Canuel (67, left) and Joelle Numainville (70, right) race in the 2015 UCI Road World Championships elite women’s race in Richmond, Virginia.
Further announcements about the teams of 2016 have been made, with particular interest this time for Canadian cycling fans. 27-year-old Karol-Ann Canuel, whose stellar 2015 season brought time trial wins at the Canadian national championships and the UCI road world championships — among others — has joined the ranks of Bols-Doelmans.

The Dutch-registered team made the announcement on Monday.

Canuel’s teaming up with the Dutch squad comes after playing a strong, integral role as part of Velocio-SRAM, where she contributed to the last two consecutive time trial world championships earned by the team. Naturally, having been such a vital party to Velocio-SRAM’s success, Canuel’s move to any other team would be a tall order for a would-be prospect. In most cases, she wouldn’t have considered swapping jerseys at all, she said. But Boels-Dolmans was different.

“Boels-Dolmans was the only team I would have moved to from Ronny [Lauke’s] team,” the Canadian time trial champion said. “I’m excited to race again with Evie [Stevens] and Chantal [Blaak], who I raced with last year, and I’m super excited to be going back to Specialized.”

On the flip side, what pinged Boels-Dolmans’s radar was Canuel’s seemingly tireless season, riding as one of Velocio-SRAM’s most dedicated, effective athletes. In a supporting role, Canuel helped the team achieve overall victories at Gracia Orlova and the Amgen Tour of California, and towered in the season’s stage races, too. At Thuringen Rundfahrt, Canuel finished second and also won the final stage, which was enough to elevate her significantly in overall classification stnading. Closer to home, her stand-out role was further evinced by a second place finish at the Chrono de Gatineau, her championship time trial win at the nationals, and at that event’s road race, her sixth-place finish.

Throughout the last two years, riding for Velocio-SRAM, Canuel has demonstrated steadily mounting improvement. Team officials with Boels-Dolmans see that working out very well for the squad, noting that it reflects a humility and a willingness to work hard that also factored into her selection to the team’s ranks. “I see two main places where Canuel can make the team stronger,” said Danny Stam, the team’s manager. “She will add power to the team time trial, and she will also be important in stage races.”

Canuel, meanwhile, sees her move to Boels-Dolmans as an opportunity to continue that climb in her own strength, while putting that strength at the team’s disposal.

Looking back over her time with Velocio-SRAM, Canuel is aware of how far she’s come in such a relatively brief period. “Before Velocio,” she said, “I didn’t know I could time trial. When we did camp in Sweden last year, the team quickly realized I’m strong in the time trial. They picked me for the team time trial, and they helped me believe in myself. I’ve seen the biggest improvements in my time trial over the last two years.” She also notes that her tactical mind has similarly been sharpened, having been given the opportunity to refine it during the season’s road races.

“I think I’m better at reading races,” she said. “Now I know what to do and how to do it. Boels-Dolmans is very strong tactically, and I’m excited to be a part of that and learn from the more experienced riders on the team.”

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