The riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling continued their preparation for the upcoming Women’s Tour in Great Britain with a strong performance in last week’s Energiewacht Tour. While the black and orange team had no specific objectives in the five-day race, which took place in the north-eastern part of the Netherlands, the hard, windy kilometres saw the team further prepared for one of its biggest objectives of the season.
“We approached this race as a lead up towards the Tour of Britain,” explained Wiggle Honda directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke. “For most of the girls it was their first serious road race of the season, especially the British riders, so they knew they didn’t have any pressure on them.
“The only race we wanted to do well was the team time trial,” he added.
Unfortunately Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling lost World Track Champion Elinor Barker to illness on the second day, while Dani King was brought down in a crash on day one and suffered a deep wound to her left knee that required stitches. The Olympic champion fought on to complete the team time trial two days later, however.
“The combination of lots of wind, small roads meant that there were lots of crashes. Every five kilometres there was a crash; lots of broken collarbones, and lots of broken bones,” Van Haesebroucke explained. “Then Dani had that bad crash, and the rest of the girls didn’t want to end up with broken collarbones or broken bones.”
For Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Laura Trott the Energiewacht Tour was her first stage race on the road after a World-beating season on the track. The double Olympic champion fought hard through the five days, however, as preparation for her home Tour continues.
“At the end of the bike race she was very tired from trying so hard,” said Van Haesebroucke. “Mentally she had a really hard time, but she knows that if she wants to be strong in Britain she had to fight through it. She’s really happy that she showed enough mental power to continue; she realised that she needs these miles for the Tour of Britain.
“The positive thing is that I know for a fact that the girls are strong,” he added.
While six of their teammates were racing at the Energiewacht Tour, Wiggle Honda’s Charlotte Becker, Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier and Anna Sanchis were also in racing action in Europe.
Germans Becker and Schnitzmeier were part of a five-rider breakaway at the 70km Criterium in Valkenswaard, in the southern Netherlands. Becker escaped late with Boels-Dolmans’ Janneke Ensing, but was just unable to beat the Dutch rider in the final sprint. The former national champion’s second place was added to by Schnitzmeier’s fourth.
Sanchis was racing in her native Spain, taking a solo victory in the eighth edition of the Trofeo FDM Valencia, which finished at the Luis Puis Velodrome. The national time trial champion dominated the race, and finished 1’35” clear of the race for second place, to take her first victory of the season and show that her preparation for her own upcoming targets is also well on course.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini won the 13th edition of the Grand Prix Dottignies, in Dottignies, Belgium, to take her first UCI-ranked victory of the 2014 season. The former two-time World Road Champion was the fastest in the sprint at the end of the 131km race, and comfortably outpaced Shelley Olds (Alé-Cipollini) and Lucy Garner (Giant-Shimano) on the line.
“I’m really, really happy,” Bronzini smiled. “Really, really happy.
“In the beginning of the race we had a little bit of trouble, because we started at the back, and the group was split in a crash after five or six-k.,” Bronzini explained. “14 girls were gone, and we had to chase them with Giant-Shimano. We worked really hard for the first 30km, so after that we tried to control everything.”
Once the big early move had been neutralised Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling managed to keep the race under control, along with the other sprinters’ teams. Some breaks did manage to get briefly clear, but the most dangerous-looking moves were marked by orange and black riders Laura Trott and Charlotte Becker.
With the peloton all together for the last of the 14km laps Trott and Dani King – both making their debut on the road this season after some World-beating performances on the track – brought Bronzini to the head of the peloton, where she was able to do what she did 17 times in Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling colours last season.
“I felt good so the girls did a really amazing job,” Bronzini said. “Everyone. They got into the breaks, they controlled everything.
“When we came into the final lap I asked the girls to stay in front, and in the final kilometre Laura and Dani put me in the right wheel; I was in Lucy Garner’s wheel. When I came out the final 200 metres was a little bit uphill, so it was perfect for me, and it the end it was good!”
The Dottignies course sits just a few kilometres west of Oudenaarde, the site of the previous day’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, just over the border into French-speaking Wallonia. Despite not being able to achieve a good result in the World Cup race, the good sensations felt by Bronzini were still with her in today’s race.
“I had a good feeling in my legs yesterday, so I knew that I was in shape,” she said. “This race today was a little bit different, with only a little bit of cobblestones, and only a little climb. It was another kind of race for sure.”
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Shelley Olds (Alé-Cipollini)
3. Lucy Garner (Giant-Shimano)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s performance at the Ronde van Vlaanderen – the Tour of Flanders – shows that the team is on track for the big targets approaching, feels team manager Rochelle Gilmore. Black and orange riders Charlotte Becker and Giorgia Bronzini finished the 139km race in 16th and 18th respectively, in a group 1’21” behind race winner Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans), but were significantly just 20 seconds behind the battle for the podium places.
“The girls rode well,” said Gilmore after the race. “We don’t really have a Classics rider and we’re looking to peak for the Tour of Britain and the Chinese World Cup in May, so we’ve not really peaked yet with our lead riders. We rode well and we proved that everybody’s level is lifting; to still have five girls there with 30km to go is pretty good.
“I’m happy with the level we’re at, and the timing and everything,” Gilmore added, “and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Brits go tomorrow and at the Energiewacht Tour.”
Two-time road World champion Bronzini was a victim of one of the numerous crashes that hit the peloton in the early kilometres of the race. She was not badly hurt, but the fall affected the Italian a little.
“It was a big crash and I fell on the other girls, so I just had a handlebar on the leg,” Bronzini explained. “That leg was a little bit sore though, and I felt it a little bit on the cobbles later on.
“In the finale I was in a little bunch with Lotte after the last climb, and tried to work because the little bunch was only ten seconds for us, but when she came up to work the others stopped. It was impossible that Lotte alone could catch seven girls.
“In the end we were a little bit sad because we were only  seconds away from second place,” Bronzini added, “so if someone had given us a hand we could have fought for the podium.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will be joined by British Olympic and World Champions Laura Trott and Dani King, as well as New Zealander Emily Collins, in tomorrow’s GP Dottignies, where Bronzini is optimistic that the team can perform well again.
“We have three fresh girls tomorrow, so I hope that they can be ready and, if we arrive in a sprint I will give everything again,” she said.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Australian Peta Mullens was riding her very first Ronde van Vlaanderen and, despite some pre-race nerves, finished safely in the peloton alongside teammate, Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin.
“I was pretty nervous after doing recon, because even recon-ing the course is really hard. I reckon they’ve pretty much given us the toughest 140km of the men’s race!” Mullens laughed.
“It kind of settled down after the first two cobbled sections, and it didn’t really ramp up again until the last three sections. But with 20km to go I started vomiting, with 10km to go I started cramping; I was just a mess really, and I was pretty glad to see the finish.
“For me, especially as I’m not European, Flanders is such a massive race in Australia – with everybody up until two or three o’clock in the morning watching them – it was a little bit surreal for me,” Mullens said.
“Riding up the Paterberg just seemed like a sort of dream to me,” she added. “It’s hard to describe to the Europeans, because it’s just so normal to them. I was going up the Paterberg and gasping for oxygen, and all I could smell was the cigarette smoke, the beer, the frites… it was really surreal, I was a bit caught up in the moment really…”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will line up at tomorrow’s GP Dottignies with Charlotte Becker, Giorgia Bronzini, Laura Trott, Dani King, Emily Collins and either Emilia Fahlin or Rochelle Gilmore.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted into ninth place at the end of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the second race of the 2014 World Cup, in Cittiglio, Italy, today. The race, whose warm, sunny conditions could hardly be more different to last year’s heavy rain, was subject to constant breakaways, the biggest of which featured Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara. The video of this hard race won by Emma Johansson.
ggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted into ninth place at the end of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the second race of the 2014 World Cup, in Cittiglio, Italy, today. The former two-time World Road Champion was easily able to outpace the second group on the road, which arrived at the finish just 49 seconds behind the winning move of eight riders.
The race, whose warm, sunny conditions could hardly be more different to last year’s heavy rain, was subject to constant breakaways, the biggest of which featured Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara.
“I surprised myself because when I finished the GP Cornaredo the other day it was not such a good sensation in the final of the race,” said Bronzini. “I’ve had some problems in my legs this week, but I’ve solved that, but I didn’t expect to be so strong today.
“I tried to be in a break because I would like to be in the focus of the race, but it was impossible because I think all of the other riders saw me in good shape today so they were afraid to bring me to the finish line.”
Unfortunately, although Bronzini had been able to comfortably stay with the front of the peloton with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Linda Villumsen, the final acceleration on the final ascent of the steep Orino climb proved to be just too much for the sprinter from Piacenza.
“This happened in the last lap, and I tried hard with Linda to be there, but for us it was impossible to follow in the climb,” Bronzini said. “I’m a sprinter, I must remember that, so it was so heavy in the final. We gave the maximum, Linda tried to close the gap, but she was alone and it was too much. So she pulled me in the sprint and I won easily.
“I was happy for the ninth place in the race, because it’s a World Cup, and we look forward to Flanders.
“Everything was perfect with our riders,” Bronzini added. “All the girls did a really great job, mostly Mayuko and Anna Sanchis, because they sometimes have problems staying with the front bunch, but today they gave everything. It was an amazing job by the team.”
Hagiwara went clear in a group of six riders on the race’s first long lap, and was able to get more than 40 seconds clear before being reeled in by the peloton.
“Today my job was to follow all the attacks,” the former eight-time Japanese champion explained. “So I stayed near the front, but also in my radio I heard Giorgia shout ‘Go Mayuko go!’ so I just followed the attack.
“We had six riders, but one wasn’t working,” she continued. “Lucinda Brand [Rabo-Liv] did a lot of work so I worked with everyone. Brand attacked and I was able to follow her, and I was quite comfortable.
“My mind was okay, but my legs were finished on the climb,” she added on her return to the peloton. “I wanted to stay in the bunch longer, to work for the team more.
“Today was like summer,” she smiled. “It was good for everyone.”
For Bronzini the team’s camp, coupled with the first warm weather races of the year, have given the black and orange team good morale as it heads into the Northern Classics.
“I really believe in this team and I put all my power into getting a big result,” she said. “When the spring really comes we will find a lot of victories, I’m sure of that.”
1. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
2. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Alena Amialiusik (Astana-Be Pink)
9. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
The past week Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling had a training camp and team launch in Cison di Valmarino, Veneto in Italy. Below the video.
The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Team presented its 2014 line up to a room of invited guests at the CastelBrando Hotel, above the village of Cison di Valmareno, in north east Italy yesterday, with the ambition of even more success than in its debut season. The 16-rider line up has been strengthened in key areas and has set itself up to achieve the tough target of matching last year’s 22 wins in UCI road races.
“Last year I expected three wins in our first year,” said Team Manager, Commonwealth Champion Rochelle Gilmore. “We actually had 22 UCI wins and over 50 race wins. It is a hard year to follow, our first year was really phenomenal but we have added some strength to the team.”
Among the VIP guests were senior representatives of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s technical sponsors Campagnolo and Fi’zi:k, while the team was also honoured by the presence of Ernesto Colnago, whose World-beating C59 and K-Zero frames have carried the riders to so much success.
Along with the rider introductions, the guests were informed of the history of Wiggle from its small beginnings in the back room of a Portsmouth bike shop, as well as the story of the development of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s clothing partner dhb, and an overview of its upcoming ranges.
“We have some big ambitions,” Gilmore explained. “Of course the Giro d’Italia is very important for us, because of all our Italian sponsors. We would like to win a stage there again, if not a few, it’s still one of the most prestigious women’s races.”
A clear target for the team in 2014 will be to take victory in one of the nine rounds of the World Cup, having come so close in the Tour of Chongming Island last year, while some of the new, prestigious races on the calendar will also be big goals.
“La Course by Le Tour de France is a huge step for women’s cycling so it has to be high on our list too,” Gilmore said.
“The most important goal for us is the new race – the Women’s Tour,” she added. “This is the biggest thing to ever hit Britain. There is so much hype around this race, all of the best riders will be there. We will be doing everything possible to put on a good show.”
The black and orange team retains its British core, with the three Olympic Champions Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell, along with fellow World Track Champion Elinor Barker and former British and European Champion Amy Roberts. The British riders’ dominance of the velodrome has already continued into 2014 with victory in the first ever Women’s Team Pursuit over four kilometres, along with Rowsell’s maiden title in the Individual discipline.
Double Olympic champion Trott recently completed the first ever perfect Omnium in an International event, winning all six rounds of the contest at the recent Revolution event on the boards of the London Velodrome where she took her medals in 2012.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s two Italians return, in the shape of Giorgia Bronzini, the three-time World Champion on Road and Track who scored 17 of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s UCI victories last year – including a World Record six straight stages of the Route de France – and emerging Track star Beatrice Bartelloni.
Also returning are the team’s two New Zealanders, with Linda Villumsen, who completed Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s almost total domination of the Route de France by riding the peloton off her wheel on the final day to take the overall victory, alongside Emily Collins, who took the team’s first ever victory in last year’s Omloop van het Hageland.
The line up holds on to its two German riders, with former National Road and Time Trial champion, and World Team Time Trial Champion, Charlotte Becker, who joined the team in the middle of 2013. Hardworking Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier’s sense of fun puts her at the centre of everything in Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling and guarantees that her teammates’ morale is always at its highest!
Eight-time Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara also returns for 2014, having enjoyed her first full season in Europe, with a Kermesse victory in Belgium and some strong work for her teammates to her credit.
Five-time National Mountain Bike Champion Peta Mullens joins manager Rochelle Gilmore as the team’s second Australian this season, and will combine racing on and off road as she aims for glory at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, this summer.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s already international line up becomes even more so in 2014, with the addition of Swedish Road Race Champion Emilia Fahlin, while Spanish Time Trial Champion Anna Sanchis will add strength to the team in hilly races and stage races.
Team captain Bronzini best summed up the feeling inside the 2014 Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling line up with the words: “This is my Dream Team.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling 2014 rider line up
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) Three-time World Champion (@GiorgiaBronzini)
Laura Trott (Great Britain) Double Olympic Champion (@LauraTrott31)
Dani King (Great Britain) Olympic Champion (@DaniKing1)
Joanna Rowsell (Great Britain) Olympic Champion (@JoannaRowsell)
Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) National Champion (@LVillumsen)
Charlotte Becker (Germany) World Champion (@lottibecker)
Elinor Barker (Great Britain) World Champion (@elinorbarker)
Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) National Champion (@EmiliaFahlin)
Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan) Seven-time National Champion (@MayukoHagiwara)
Rochelle Gilmore (Australia) Commonwealth Champion (@RochelleGilmore)
Peta Mullens (Australia) National MTB XCE Champion (@PetaMullens)
Anna Sanchis (Spain) National Champion (@annitasanchis)
Emily Collins (New Zealand) National Champion (@EmilyCollins_NZ)
Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier (Germany) (@AnaSchnitzmeier)
Amy Roberts (Great Britain) (@AmyRoberts94)
Beatrice Bartelloni (Italy) (@beatricebartell)
Photo Credit Picture 4: Augustus Farmer/Wiggle
The Inaugural Women’s Tour in the UK is one of the biggest main goals for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling this season. Here is our promo video and listen too what our athletes have to say about this big event.
Day three of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team camp began much like the day before with a group ride around the beautiful countryside that surrounds the CastelBrando hotel. Although it was only scheduled for two and a half hours, there was no way that this was going to be an easy effort, however, as the riders were to take on one of the steepest local climbs in the “Muro di Ca’ del Poggio.” With slopes of up to 17% in places, the Muro will feature close to the end of the 17th stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia; let’s see if the men’s peloton can handle it as well as the women of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling did!
One senior male Italian rider’s day was made on the way back to the hotel as he just managed to lift his pace enough to join the black and orange group that cruised past him on a gentle drag. He managed to stay with the team long enough to give himself something to brag to his friends about when he got home; not everyone is privileged enough to be able to take part in a Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling training ride!
With interview commitments continuing after lunch, and with soigneur Pascal having a full programme of massages once again, the fun continued with a competition to see who could perform one of a cyclist’s most essential tasks the fastest; namely, changing an inner tube.
Having washed down the team’s Colnago bikes, mechanic Jarrod was able to sit back and watch each of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders remove a Vittoria Open Corsa CX clincher tyre from a Campagnolo Zonda training wheel – using just two Tacx tyre levers – pull out the tube, replace it with a new one and re-inflate the tyre.
Despite stiff competition it was some of the team’s most experienced hands that completed the challenge in the fastest time, but you’ll have to wait for the Wiggle video to see whose hands they were.
Before the team could have dinner there also remained the not inconsiderable matter of settling yesterday’s Jump competition. Just as the original “qualifying” had been, the fight for the overall victory was a fierce one, but once again you’ll have to wait and see who finally walked away with the prize.
Finally, the day ended with a brief run-through of tomorrow’s team presentation, when the 2014 Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team will be officially unveiled to the World’s media.
Check out our latest video about the GP Comune di Cornaredo (March 23). Perfect teamwork and a podium for Giorgia Bronzini.