Emma Johansson to Orica-AIS

Bryn Lennon

The Swedish world no 3 ranked rider now confirms the rumored move to Australian Orica-AIS. Coming off a disappointing season the swede will presumably take over the role of team captain after retiring Judith Arndt on Orica.

The news is confirmed in a story on Eurosport where Martin Vestby, Johansson's coach/husband, says that on Orica-AIS she will be able to focus solely on riding and won't have to worry about sponsor issues and playing a role in management which has perhaps been the case on her previous teams Hitec and RedSun.

Coming off a season marred by her pre-season crash on the Canary Islands where she broke both her collarbones in a head on collision with a car, Johansson is hoping to take another step up in her career. Up until now she has proven to be a solid dependable top-performer throughout the season but has struggled to convert it into the really big victories. So far a World Cup win at Drenthe and an overall victory at the Thüringen Rundfahrt are her biggest international wins. Add to that medals at both Worlds in 2010 and Olympics in 2008 and two national championships.

Part of her problem has been going up against stronger teams with multiple threats in races (as well as competing in the era of Marianne Vos). At Orica she should benefit from the possibility of using similar tactics with teammates like Loes Gunnewijk, Tiffany Cromwell and Linda Villumsen. Orica had an impressive debut season with veteran Judith Arndt leading the new team and with her retiring, replacing her with another of the worlds top ranked women assures them the chance of building on that strong debut.

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