Peloton Watch
  Carlee Taylor on up and down 2014 and return to Lotto-Belisol  
  November 16th 2014  
  After spending the first three years of her professional career on foreign teams Australian climber Carlee Taylor joined Orica-AIS for the 2014 season. With a strong 2013 season in her legs, 2014 was looking up but it didn't always go to plan. "It was a roller coaster season. It had its ups and downs," said Taylor. "Not getting selected for races I had focused on and was peaking for, but finishing the season off strong with a podium and being selected for Worlds."

After spending much of the early season supporting her teammates, Taylor turned her season around with strong performances in a block of racing in France. The French races with the Australian National Team saw Taylor finish third on the final stage and eighth overall at the Tour de l'Ardèche. Taylor is aiming to carry this momentum forward with the recent announcement she will return to Lotto-Belisol in 2015.

Below Taylor talks the highs and lows of 2014 and what we can expect in 2015 as she looks to take on a leadership role.

PelotonWatch: You joined Orica-AIS at the start of the 2014. After riding for the Australian national team in Europe and a number of professional teams did it feel like a coming home of sorts?

Carlee Taylor: Yeah being around Australians again, and some who I had been teammates or worked with back in my AIS days did feel like old times. I had been with European teams the last two years, and going to the only Australian professional team was great. It is a really good set up, with great support, staff and riders. But I also loved my time at Lotto-Belisol, it's where I probably had my best season and I'm looking forward to returning there.

PW: What were the main differences riding for Orica-AIS compared to other teams you have ridden for?

CT: Nationals and the support you get whilst back in Australia, both equipment wise and having teammates in races. That and the fact that you can put on Hamish and Andy and they will understand the humour.

PW: You had a strong showing at the Giro Rosa last year but missed selection this year. Was it disappointing not lining up at the biggest race of the year?

CT: I will be honest this was probably the hardest time of my season. My parents had flown over for it and planned to follow the race. And my program had focused on this race also. To be told I wasn't racing it was hard. But that's cycling. Everyone has their ups and downs, but I was lucky enough to have some amazing friends, teammates and family around who supported me and in the end it made me stronger.

PW: You are often seen working on the front of the peloton for teammates. Is the domestique role one you enjoy?

CT: I do sometimes get a bit too excited and ride the front more than I probably should. I can get told off for that, but moving to Lotto-Belisol is giving me an opportunity to take more of a leader role. I'm looking forward to that opportunity and challenge. So I guess I probably shouldn't ride on the front as much.

PW: Your best result of the season came with third on the final stage and eighth overall at the Tour de l'Ardèche. After a long season was it good to finish off with a strong result?

CT: Yes for sure, I go better with racing. That stage was actually my 20th day of racing in 28 days. I had been feeling good earlier in the tour and in the tours prior [La Route de France and Trophée d'Or Féminin] but it finally paid off in that last stage in Ardèche.

It's always good to finish on a high note. I think my form in that tour had a large impact in my selection for the World Championships.

PW: You again represented Australia at the World championships. Involved in the crash that took a lot of riders out of the race. You chased back on but not the race you hoped?

CT: I think there were about 30-40 others feeling the same way. To be taken out of the race through a crash is disappointing.

I was lucky enough to get a spare wheel relatively quickly, but I still had 2mins to bring back, and as the team cars were all stuck behind the crash, there wasn't much help until you got close to the peloton. It was a massive effort and a burning of a match that wasn't affecting the race, but just getting me back in the race. But you have to do it.

PW: Announced this week you are heading back to Lotto Belisol [Lotto Soudal] in 2015. You rode for the team in 2013. What will you be hoping to achieve next season?

CT: 2013 was probably my best year. Next year I want to step up as a rider and become more of a leader. Lotto-Belisol (next year Lotto-Soudal) have always believed in me when it came to be becoming more of a leader and to be in a positive environment like that is something I'm looking forward to.

I really want to get a good result in races like Flèche Wallonne and Cittiglio [Trofeo Alfredo Binda] etc. As in the past I've always had to use energy a bit earlier.

Oh and learning more than just the Flemish swear words and Belgium sayings that the Lotto-Belisol girls have taught me because they are saying that they apparently all say, yet I seem to be the only one that says them! I still have no idea why my nickname was 'nuts' on the team!

PW: There have been a lot of positive changes in women's cycling the past couple of years, especially in 2014. What do you think the biggest step has been?

CT: The introduction of La Course I would have to say was massive this year. I was lucky enough to get to race it. The experience riding up the Champs Élysées is something I will never forget. Equal prize money and how we raced it I think showed how women's cycling has improved. We are professionals too!
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