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Cycling's newest super-team? Team Sunweb dominate opening weekend of World Championships

Joe Robinson
18 Sep 2017

Victories in both the men's and women's team time trials add to the already impressive season of Team Sunweb

A few beers and even a bottle of champagne were likely cracked open in the Swiss head office of Sunweb this Sunday. 

An already great season for Sunweb went to another level this weekend as both the mens and women's teams won the World Team Time Trial Championships in Bergen, Norway. 

Adding this weekend's success to Tom Dumoulin's Giro d'Italia heroics, Michael Matthews and Warren Barguil's stellar Tour de France and Coryn Rivera's Tour of Flanders success, Team Sunweb have been the stand-out performers across both the men's and women's WorldTour. 

With the possibility of more success at the World's, with Dumoulin, Matthews and Rivera amongst the favourites to take rainbow this week, the German based team could have an almost unprecedented season. 

This begs the question, are we seeing the birth of cycling's new super-team?

Rainbows and sunshine

Before the start of the team time trials yesterday, most had already crowned BMC Racing and Boels-Dolmans champions. 

Despite solid line-ups, both the men and women's Sunweb teams were regarded underdogs, with a podium the expectation of many onlookers. 

However, gutsy performances saw upsets in both races, with Team Sunweb taking the honours away from both pre-race favourites. 

Specific mentions go to Tom Dumoulin and Ellen van Dijk who looked to be in imperious form heading into this week's individual time trials, in which both will start amongst the favourites for victory. 

This double success on the opening day of the championships could simply be the hor d'oeuvre for what could be an immensely successful week for Sunweb. 

As previously mentioned, Dumoulin and van Dijk will enter the individual time trials this week with an expectation to medal, if not win. 

Dumoulin, especially, will have high expectations, with many believing he is the only real threat to Chris Froome in the men's individual time trial.

Beyond the individual time trials, Sunweb could also feasibly take victory in both road races, with the outside possibility of completing the World Championship set.

Matthews and Rivera will be looking forward to the rolling parcour of the road race, that sees the riders take on the challenging Salmon Hill on the finishing circuit. 

Matthews and Rivera are similar riders and more than capable than winning from a bunch finish, especially if the fastest sprinters have been dropped on the testing course. 

The reality of Sunweb claiming all elite World Championship titles is unlikely, yet after a storming start, do not be surprised if the team picks up some more big results this week adding to their already stand out season. 

Is this cycling's new super-team?

When Team Sky and Boels-Dolmans take the multitude of victories that they usually do, little are we surprised. 

There big budgets and deep rosters mean that big wins are expected and anything less than domination across the year is a disappointment. 

For teams like Sunweb, despite not being the most cash-strapped, they are far from being the plushest in the peloton. Yet this hasn't stopped them from taking the big races by the scruff of the neck and giving it a good go. 

The first sign that something special may be happening was with Coryn Rivera's Tour of Flanders victory back in April. The young American took the biggest win of her career in women cycling's biggest one-day classic. 

This was then followed by Sunweb's biggest victory to date, the Giro d'Italia. Talented Dutch time-trialist Tom Dumoulin proved that he could climb with the best taking his maiden Grand Tour in Italy. 

This was then followed by a pair of jerseys, the climbers polka dot jersey and sprinters green jersey, as well as four stage victories at the Tour de France.

These spoils were shared by Matthews and Warren Barguil, who together, were amongst the most exciting riders in the whole race. 

Rivera then took the Prudential RideLondon Classique, women cycling's most lucrative race, in appalling weather conditions to keep the ball rolling. 

The good season continued at the Vuelta a Espana, when the race's youngest team managed to guide Wilco Kelderman to fourth on General Classification. 

Very rarely does a team have such a defining year. Such prolonged success is only ever expected from serial winners suc as Boels-Dolmans or Quick-Step Floors. 

To take on the year's biggest races, get victories and do it in style is quite impressive, and has propelled Team Sunweb into the spotlight. 

However, the big litmus test will be next season. Will this team full with young stars be able prove more than a one-year wonder? 

Tom Dumoulin is heading to the Tour to take on Chris Froome at his own game, hoping to spoil the Team Sky party.

Coryn Rivera will also be looking to build on her one-day racing success taking the challenge to the likes of Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) once again. 

If the results continue on into 2018 then we truly could be looking at cycling's new galacticos.