With women’s cycling continuing to boom around the globe and indeed right here in Australia, we speak with Elizabeth Phillipou, founder & team manager of Specialized Women’s Racing.
Established in 2011 under the name of Specialized Women SA, Liz was one of the 5 original team riders. From its small-scale, grass-roots start, SWR has grown to be Australia’s longest-standing women’s National Road Series team.
Liz says the main objective with SWR is to raise the profile of women’s cycling within the community and provide a pathway for up and coming female cyclists to progress into the professional ranks.
“With the expansion of the NRS thanks to Cycling Australia, this is a really exciting time in women’s cycling,” said Liz, a proud and vocal advocate of attracting more women to the traditionally male-dominated sport.
“Professionalism is a key focus within the team this year and it’s our objective to attract interest from a broader sporting community rather than just the cycling faithfuls.”
The team was re-branded in 2016 as Specialized Women’s Racing and formed partnerships with new sponsors CartGIS and Peta Stewart CPC.
SWR has seen many of it’s riders go on to successful international careers including Rebecca Werner, Kimberley Wells, Amy Bradley, Lizzie Williams, Jenelle Crooks, Anna-Leeza Hull and Sophie Mackay.
“To survive in women’s cycling you need to be extremely determined,” Liz told Bicycling Australia. “All of our riders balance full time jobs/study and full time training. They are very committed individuals, as are our staff and sponsors.”
Since it’s beginnings, the team has exceeded all expectations and performed at the highest level against the best female cyclists in Australia. Amongst the highlights have been victories in the 2013 & 2016 National Criterium, 2016 Mersey Valley Tour & Battle on the Border, 2015 Adelaide Tour, 2014 Noosa Criterium and 2013 Santos TDU Women’s Cup.
Proud of the team’s past but not resting on any laurels, Liz has grand plans for season 2017 and beyond.
“Our current rider group is our strongest yet,” she said. “We have a diverse range of strengths amongst the team but our biggest asset is our team work. Many of our women have been racing together for 2-3 years now and they have learnt a lot about communicating and making an impact within a race.”
Liz said the team were incredibly lucky to have the support of some very loyal partners.
“Specialized Australia, CartGIS, Peta Stewart CPC, adidas eyewear, lululemon athletica and Pedla who are all equally as passionate about women’s cycling as we are,” she said.
SWR 2017 Season Mission
- Develop inspirational female role models prioritising health and fitness with a focus on marketing across a broader community.
- To strive towards being the most professional team within the NRS both on and off the bike.
2017 NRS Overall Goals
- General Classification and Teams Classification – Top 2
- Impact the racing in an exciting positive way
All images courtesy of Specialized Women’s Racing / Paul Spurling.