Erath motivated to start season with Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank

February 16, 2021


If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that small steps in the right direction are a good thing. Tanja Erath, one of Team TIBCO Silicon-Valley Bank's new 2021 riders, subscribes to this adage, preferring to measure her cycling accomplishments by season rather than focus on long-term ambitions.


"I'd rather wait and see where my cycling career goes," Erath said, "I want to see a continuous development. In my first year, I was trying to find my place in the peloton. In 2019, I became a really good domestique. In 2020, I started to get my own results. So I hope to keep building on those things."


Tanja Erath logs some indoor miles on Zwift while in Girona, Spain. Felix Homann/@fellusch


Erath, a former triathlete from Heilbronn, Germany, turned to bike racing after a leg injury in 2016 and quickly rose through the ranks. Just one year after switching sports, Erath won the 2017 CANYON//SRAM Racing Zwift Academy, landed a pro contract, and adapted to a totally new way of life.

Erath, a former triathlete from Heilbronn, Germany, turned to bike racing after a leg injury in 2016 and quickly rose through the ranks. Just one year after switching sports, Erath won the 2017 CANYON//SRAM Racing Zwift Academy, landed a pro contract, and adapted to a totally new way of life.




Tanja Erath. Photo/Felix Homann


"Before that, I had studied medicine," Erath recalled. "Normally, I'd fit my training around that. Suddenly, I was a pro athlete, and my life became quite different. I didn't have an idea what to expect. To be honest, I felt a little guilty because after I finished studying, everyone around me started working as a doctor, and I began training full-time. It took a while to feel confident that I was where I belonged."


Erath quickly proved she belonged when e-racing took over during the pandemic's summer months. Knowing Zwift like the back of her hand, the 31-year-old won stage three of the virtual Tour de France and was a top rider to watch. When road racing cautiously resumed in late July, she scooped up a couple of podium placings, including third place at the German national championship road race. The results gave Erath a confidence boost amid the season's uncertainty - but a crash a few weeks later (and more Covid-related race rescheduling) meant she'd have to look to 2021 for more opportunities to shine.


"Last year, I was hoping to show how I have developed as a rider," Erath said. "I had some successes, but also setbacks. This year brings a fresh perspective and new chances with Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank. I feel like I will have more chances to show my abilities in a final sprint and be a good team helper. My teammates see my value and are very supportive. I think we're a good mix of talent."


“We jumped at the chance to add Tanja to our roster,” said Linda Jackson, Founder of Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank. “Since the inception of our team back in 2005, we’ve always prioritized hiring athletes that are also good people, and who have more to them then just racing their bikes. Tanja’s medical school background, her Zwift prowess and her racing potential made her a natural fit for our team. She’s already fitting in well and I am excited to see her reach her potential this season”


For Erath, learning the ropes as a pro athlete might have felt daunting at first, but now that she has a few years of experience under her belt, the sprint specialist and e-race expert feels like she's finally arrived.


"On Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, there's a unique mix of backgrounds and professions outside of cycling. I feel like I fit in quite well," Erath said. "For example, Kristen (Faulkner) and Leah (Dixon) are working and racing, and Emily (Newsom) is a concert pianist. I love how the girls seem to enjoy what they're doing. There is such a positive attitude towards life and racing.


"With every Zoom call we had during our virtual team camp, I was looking more and more forward to meeting my teammates and racing with them."


With the anticipation of spring classics in the air, it won't be long until Erath gets that chance. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the first race on Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank's schedule and is set to start next Saturday (February 27th)

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