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News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Belgian Training Camp: Day 4

Ben Atkins : February 28, 2015 12:50 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is in Ghent, Flanders, for the first training camp of the year, with the aim of welcoming the new riders to the black and orange team, and having some fun, along with the serious business of preparing for the season ahead.

Day four was to be the day that the team was officially presented to the World, with an invited crowd of sponsors and journalists attending the launch at Ghent’s Monasterium PoortAckere. Each rider was introduced individually, along with the newly designed kit that the riders have been wearing – but not mentioning – all week.

Before the presentation was the small matter of getting everybody’s hair and make-up just right, and posing for plenty of official photographs for use in official team literature.

Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore is first in the make-up chair so she’s ready for the demands of the day
Mayuko Hagiwara waits her turn
A fresh coat of polish for Dani King’s nails
Anna Christian has her hair done ahead of the team presentation
Hair and make-up done, Mayuko poses for some fun shots
Jolien D’hoore is interviewed by Belgian TV channel Sporza for its Road to Rio series
We can see you Elisa! (Hide and seek lessons needed here!)
Sometimes Giorgia Bronzini wishes she was blonde like Anna Christian!
Dani King is very strong, but she doesn’t need to be to lift this year’s Colnago V1-r bike!
Chloe Hosking finishes her Journalism degree soon, this is in lieu of her graduation ceremony!
Giorgia is planning to clean up this season!
“Victory will be ours!” says Emilia Fahlin
Mara Abbott just loves the Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels that she’ll be using this year!
Audrey Cordon-Ragot is an expert at juggling her nutritional needs with High5 Nutrition
Eileen Roe is very proud to be the first Scottish woman to win the British Criterium title
Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting your Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for 2015!
Rochelle always uses her V1-r to zoom between all those business meetings!
Did they book this hotel just because of the photo-op of this wonderful staircase?
Nettie Edmondson seems to be thinking about adding cyclocross to her track and road skills!
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was honoured by the presence of Marc Coucke, CEO of Omega Pharma and co-owner of the Etixx-Quick Step WorldTour team
Directeur Sportif Egon van Kessel, with Soigneur Kristof van Campenhout, Mechanic Gerrit Claessens and Wiggle’s Head of Brand Marketing Adam Ryan
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will be wearing these beautiful shoes from fi’zi:k for a third year
Interviews aplenty for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s athletes and staff
Orange juice only for Jolien D’hoore and Elisa Longo Borghini with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in two days
Dani is always in demand as she both comes back from injury and looks towards Rio 2016
Amy and Anna are Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s youngest riders

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Wiggle Honda has D’hoore and Longo Borghini cards to play in the Omloop

Ben Atkins : February 27, 2015 7:09 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will line up at the start of Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Ghent, Belgium, with two big cards to play in the form of Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore and Italian Elisa Longo Borghini. The 120km race forms part of the Flemish “Openingsweekend,” which sets the Northern Classics season in motion.

Ghent local D’hoore rode last week’s UCI Track World Championships, having competed in the Tour of Qatar earlier in February, but is reasonably confident about her form as she heads into her home race.

“I really don’t know how my legs will be because I haven’t ridden on the road for more than two hours in the last two weeks,” she admitted. “I’m going to see how I feel after the track, and then I’ll see for Saturday.”

As the beginning of the Belgian season, the Omloop is a big day for the city of Ghent, and D’hoore’s red, yellow and black driekleur jersey will take centre stage. Rather than feeling the pressure that this could bring, however, the 24-year-old feels that the weight of her national flag will spur her on even more.

“It’s a great motivation for me to ride in the Belgian Champion’s jersey, and also I know the course very well,” D’hoore said. “So that’s also an advantage, even if the form is a bit less on the road. But if you still know the course it can help you, and it can bring you far in the race I guess.”

Having ridden in Qatar with several of those set to line up on Saturday, and having spent a week training in Ghent with the entire team, D’hoore feels confident that those around her will be able to give her the support that she needs.

“Each of us is a very good rider and we’re all classy riders,” she said. “I put my trust in them, and I can work for them. Like Elisa: she has proved that she is very good in this kind of work – in these Belgian races – so I’m looking forward to it.”

Longo Borghini burst onto the international cycling scene as a 19-year-old, in 2011, with fifth place in the Omloop, under the freezing rain conditions that she has come to thrive in. Despite hailing from Northern Italy, the now 23-year-old is as at-home on the cobblestones as any Belgian, and can hardly wait for her European season to begin.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she smiled. “Because I think that now it’s time to race, and to start the European season. It’s time to break the ice, and to go to fight.

“As I said, it’s the first race, so I just want to see what my level is, and how are the others. There are some nice races coming up further in the season, so I just want to see how I am, and how is my shape. Of course I love racing here, and I love the crowds that are on the street, and I love the parcours. I just want to enjoy the race.

“I think we are an extremely strong team, and I think we can play a lot of cards,” she added. “Of course, maybe I’m strong, but around me there are other strong girls, so we can play as a team.”

Alongside D’hoore and Longo Borghini will be Australian Chloe Hosking, who already has victory in the Bay Crits series and second place overall in Qatar to her name. Despite her early season form, however, Hosking is looking to play a supporting role to her two teammates on the cobblestones tomorrow.

“I definitely feel really good, and everything’s been spot on since Qatar,” Hosking said. “Obviously Qatar didn’t go so badly, but for sure I feel that there’s still room to improve. I feel like probably in the next three weeks is where the results will come, so Saturday is for Jolien and Elisa. I think those are really our two big girls, and I’ll be there to support them.

“For me the biggest challenge is getting over the Côte de Trieu, and if I’m there with those girls I can be a really big asset to the team. I’d love to see Wiggle on the podium, if not on the top step; it doesn’t matter who it is.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s team will also include super-domestiques Emilia Fahlin, Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara. British Criterium Champion will get her first European start for the team, having already raced the Australian criterium season in the black and orange jersey, while – having impressed directeur sportif Egon van Kessel during Wednesday’s course reconnaissance – 19-year-old Anna Christian will race in the colours for the first time.

“I didn’t really expect to be doing it, if I’m honest,” Christian admitted. “I rode the course [on Wednesday] and didn’t feel all that strong on the cobbles, but if I can go there and do a job – maybe in the first 50km or so – then I’m happy to do that.

“It’s probably the biggest race I could have started with!” she laughed. “But then it’s probably good to start big, because then you have nothing else to worry about. Once I’ve done that then I’ll know that the rest isn’t going to be as hard!”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Team for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (28th February)
Anna Christian (Great Britain)
Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France)
Jolien D’hoore (Belgium)
Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan)
Chloe Hosking (Australia)
Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
Eileen Roe (Great Britain)

 

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Wiggle Honda aiming to be the Number One Team in the World in Third Year

Ben Atkins : February 27, 2015 11:16 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was presented to an invited group of media and team partners at the Monasterium PoortAckere, a converted monastery, in Ghent, Belgium with the stated ambition of finishing the 2015 season at the top of the UCI Rankings. 14 of the black and orange team’s 15-rider roster were present to officially launch the new jersey, complete with main sponsor Wiggle’s new logo design.

“Our aim for the season is to end the year as the number one team in the World,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore.

“The main objective of this team is to win bike races, and every athlete in this room is capable of winning big bike races, and contributing to the huge success and our team goals.

“It is in our DNA, of all of us,” she added, “to have that same goal of progressing the sport and making sure we go in the right direction in the next few years. These are the athletes that have made the commitment to that.”

As a professional rider for many years, Gilmore has seen the sport of women’s cycling change beyond recognition over the years; a change that she, and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, has been very much part of.

“Women’s cycling has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years,” Gilmore said. “We never expected it to happen overnight, and that’s the thing that these athletes really understand about our sport.

“It’s a sport now that people want to be involved in, they want to invest in it, they starting in our sport. We’re sharing the same fans and followers as men’s cycling, so a lot of things are happening in women’s cycling right now, and it’s just a wonderful satisfaction for everyone that’s been a part of it.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was launched in 2013 and achieved results beyond all expectation. In its two seasons to date the black and orange squad has developed into a team that now has the capability to win any race in the calendar.

“We’re just starting year three, we’re only two years old, which is a little hard for some people to comprehend, said Gilmore. “When we started out in the first couple of years – especially the first year – we had very much single programme we were committed to one type of rider, on type of race, and wanted to get that right for the experience.

“In the second year we added a few more riders that we could support. Now we’re at the point, in the third year, where we’ve got riders that can win all types of races; flat races, Classics, Grand Tours. So we’ve really developed in that regard and it’s a lot to do with the athletes themselves, wanting to really create this team, so we can be dominant the whole year.”

Former two-time Road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini is one of four riders that have been with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling since its inception, along with young Welsh rider Amy Roberts, Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara and Olympic Champion Dani King. Returning for a second year are former Swedish and Spanish Champions Emilia Fahlin and Anna Sanchis, and newly crowned Australian Champion Peta Mullens.

Mullens was the one rider missing from the team presentation, since the Australian all-rounder is currently racing her mountainbike at the Oceania Championships, as Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling supports her ambitions both on and off road.

Adding considerable strength to the black and orange squad in 2015 are several new signings, including two-time Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore, who is eager to show her driekleur jersey in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Classics power also comes in the shape of World Championship medallist and Italian Time Trial Champion Elisa Longo Borghini, while the team’s sprint train will now benefit from the experience and power of Australian Chloe Hosking, who as already won the Bay Crits series and finished second at the Tour of Qatar in her new colours.

The team’s British roots are maintained with the addition of young Isle of Man prodigy Anna Christian, as well as British Criterium Champion Eileen Roe, who becomes the first Scottish rider to sign for a professional women’s team. The team also welcomes its first ever French rider in the shape of Audrey Cordon-Ragot.

The team’s Grand Tour potential is also boosted by the signing of former two-time US National Champion Mara Abbott, whose exceptional climbing skills have seen her win the Giro d’Italia on two occasions.

Finally, the team’s third Australian rider is Nettie Edmondson, whose dominant performance in last week’s UCI Track World Championships saw her take rainbow jerseys in both the Team Pursuit and Omnium. Nettie has also been successful already in the black and orange jersey on the road this year, taking the sprints jersey in the Santos Women’s Tour in her home city of Adelaide.

“We started two years ago ranked outside the top ten, then we were inside the top ten the second year,” Gilmore said. “We’ve started the third year ranked third in the World, and we have a very strong ambition – all of us – which we’ve had from day one, which is to finish our third year as the number one cycling team in the World.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider line up 2015
Mara Abbott (United States), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Anna Christian (Great Britain), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Chloe Hosking (Australia), Dani King (Great Britain), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Peta Mullens (Australia), Amy Roberts (Great Britain), Eileen Roe (Great Britain), Anna Sanchis (Spain)

Directeur Sportif: Egon Van Kessel (Netherlands)

 

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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Belgian Training Camp: Day 3

Ben Atkins : February 26, 2015 8:45 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is in Ghent, Flanders, for the first training camp of the year, with the aim of welcoming the new riders to the black and orange team, and having some fun, along with the serious business of preparing for the season ahead.

Chloe Hosking drills it on the Molenberg; the final climb of Saturday’s race

After the mostly fun events of the camp so far, day three got serious with a team reconnaissance of the course of Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Similar weather to yesterday’s ride, along with the far more challenging roads, meant that this was to be the toughest day of the whole camp.

She may be from a long way away in Italy, but Elisa Longo Borghini was born to ride on this stuff

Blue skies over Ghent were cause for optimism as the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling convoy rolled out of the hotel, en route to the race start at the “Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx” on the outskirts of the city. As Directeur Sportif Egon van Kessel led the three Honda Civic Tourer team cars and the team camper van around the first 40km or so of the course though, the rain began to fall.

If there’s a cooler cycling jersey out there than the Belgian Driekler, I certainly haven’t seen it!

Heading south the the “Vlaamse Ardennen” it became clear that the athletes were in for a soaking as thorough as the one they had yesterday! The Kluisberg – or the Mont d’Enclus as it’s called as the riders crossed the border into French speaking Wallonia at the top – augurs the start of a succession of hills and cobbled sections that come thick and fast, in a course that’s in many ways as tough as the Ronde van Vlaanderen itself.

She might be a featherweight mountain climber but Mayuko Hagiwara can mash the cobblestones with the best of them!

Parts of the course appealed to the different characteristics and strengths of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s athletes, with some powering up the short, sharp Belgian climbs, and some powering over the cobblestones. Many of them, of course, could do both. Some of the riders are more experienced than others on this course and others like it but, for two-time Giro d’Italia winner and super-climber, this was to be her very first opportunity to ride the famous Flemish “Kasseien.”

Mara Abbott gets the best possible guide in Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore for her first ever visit to the Flemish cobbles!
You couldn’t get much more different from the Giro d’Italia, but it takes a lot to wipe the smile off Mara’s face!

Riders were cold and wet when they returned to the hotel, but were soon showered and warm and tucking into a later-than-usual-but-no-less-delicious lunch before enjoying some time for themselves in the afternoon.

Watch out for Anna Christian on all terrains this season!
Eileen Roe and Audrey Cordon-Ragot hit the Paddestraat. Hard.
Amy Roberts floats over the stones.
Giorgia Bronzini wishing she was back in the warmth of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome

The hour before dinner saw Raph Deinhart, Technical and Marketing Coordinator from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s nutrition partner, High5 (who’d joined the team on its ride this morning), talk the athletes and staff through the extensive range of products available; as well as how best to use them in racing, or training situations.

Raph Deinhart from High5 pits himself against the athletes of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
Raph takes the riders through the range of High5 Nutrition products and how best to use them

Raph explained the various merits of drinks verses gels, bars and supplements, which products were best for staying hydrated, best for preventing cramps, as well as how to use High5 Nutrition’s range of recovery products.

Yummy!
Chloe Hosking likes the sound of High5’s Zero electrolyte tablets, which can help prevent cramps
Anna Christian certainly does know how to “Race Faster!”

Shortly before dinner was actually served, Mary Killingworth from event event manager BrandNation talked the riders through the plans for tomorrow’s official team presentation. We can hardly wait!

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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Belgian Training Camp: Day Two

Ben Atkins : February 25, 2015 9:13 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is in Ghent, Flanders, for the first training camp of the year, with the aim of welcoming the new riders to the black and orange team, and having some fun, along with the serious business of preparing for the season ahead.

Any visit to Belgium runs the risk of falling foul of the weather, and today was to be one of those days. The forecast of a fine morning, with rain in the afternoon, proved to be just the opposite, with the day’s first activity turning into one of the wettest rides of the year.

Jolien D’hoore flies her Belgian Driekleur jersey with pride in the Wiggle Koppenberg Challenge

After a quick drive to the village of Melden, just outside Oudenaarde, the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling athletes got on their bikes to take on the Wiggle Koppenberg Challenge. A cold, overcast morning soon got worse as the rain began to fall. By the time the riders had completed a short warm up ride it was pouring down.

The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team hits the cobbled slopes of the fearsome Koppenberg

The cobbles, whose gradients reach 22%, were now extremely slick, creating conditions that even the likes of Tom Boonen or Fabian Cancellara would struggle with. Local knowledge proved invaluable for Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore, who just managed to beat the on-form Chloe Hosking to the top.

On-form rider Chloe Hosking followed Jolien over the top

The worsening weather put an end to the planned scenic ride back the the hotel in Ghent, but the riders were determined to get some good kilometres in, despite the horrible conditions. Many of the team have only recently arrived from the hotter climes of Australia and Qatar, or the cosy warmth of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome; but the strong pace kept everybody warm, despite the torrential rain and the generous quantities of traditional Belgian road grit!

Nettie Edmondson and Eileen Roe model the latest thing in Belgian road grit

Anna Sanchis joins Nettie and Eileen in a Belgian selfie!

After a well earned shower, some more training on the rollers for some, and a good lunch, the athletes assembled once more for the second activity of the day: the Wiggle #kitbagchallenge.

Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore lays out the clothes for the Wiggle #kitbagchallenge

Each rider would be blindfold, dressed in only bibshorts and undershirt, and be timed as they put on a short-sleeved jersey, armwarmers, legwarmers, socks, overshoes, long-sleeved jersey, gilet and gloves. All this first had to be tipped from a dhb backpack, with a few random items thrown in to help with the confusion!

Dani King blindfolds Mayuko Hagiwara – the first athlete to attempt the #kitbagchallenge

Several athletes started well, with the larger items like jerseys and gilts proving relatively simple. Many of those faster ones came unstuck towards the end though, as small items – particularly the socks and gloves – proved tough to find after the bag’s contents had been liberally scattered; despite “left,” “right” and “behind you!” instructions from their teammates.

That overshoe is on the wrong foot!

One final glove to put on for Chloe Hosking!

But where is that final glove Eileen?

The winner of the competition was former Spanish Champion Anna Sanchis, in a frankly impressive time of three minutes and three seconds; can you do better at home?

Nettie plants a surprise marshmallow in Anna Christian’s overshoe!

Is it those long Swedish nights that make Emilia Fahlin so good at getting dressed in the dark?

But nobody gets dressed quicker than Anna Sanchis!

With Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore’s own race clothing collected up, and the room cleared of it’s furniture, the final challenge of the day began: the #wigglewobblers Balance Competition.

This was a simple skills competition, with the riders taking to their Colnago V1-r bikes, to see which one of them could stay upright the longest without putting their foot down or touching the walls.

The #wigglewobblers Balance Competition begins!

Several of the riders surprised themselves, including British Criterium Champion Eileen Roe, who outlasted several of the track specialists! The competition was eventually whittled down to just Anna Sanchis, Jolien D’hoore and Giorgia Bronzini, who were to make up the three podium places.

The competition comes down to a straight battle between Jolien D’hoore and Giorgia Bronzini…

Anna finally succumbed to gravity, leaving just Jolien and Giorgia, who’d been such great teammates in last night’s wheel change challenge. Jolien was declared the winner after a nudge from Giorgia saw them both put their feet down, and the Belgian champion was awarded her second title of the day!

… but an “illegal” nudge from Giorgia hands the title to Jolien!

With the day’s challenges over, and with dinner out of the way, the series business of the training camp resumed. Directeur Sportif Egon van Kessel talked the team through the route of Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, ahead of tomorrow’s course reconnaissance.

 

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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Presented in Ghent, Thursday 26th

Ben Atkins : February 24, 2015 8:48 pm : News

The 2015 Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team will be presented to the World on Thursday, the 26th of February, in the city of Ghent, the capital of Flemish cycling. The black and orange team is currently spending one week training in the area, with team building activities and specific preparation for the upcoming Omloop Het Nieuwsblad very much on the agenda.

 

The team’s media launch on Thursday will be the biggest event of the year – off the bike for the Wiggle Honda athletes and staff. It’s a major event for all the team’s members, valued and prestigious sponsors, partners and of course for their dedicated media associates from around the world.

As well as numerous members of the international press and media, other very important guests will include Marc Coucke, the CEO of Omega Pharma, who sponsors and invests in many sports including men’s cycling at WorldTour level. Coucke is keen to discover the professionalism in women’s cycling for himself, firsthand with a view to possibly invest at the highest level in the sport of women’s cycling in the near future.

Multiple Olympic and World Champion, and first ever British winner of the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins, who has generously supported the team from the moment of it’s creation, is also keen to catch up with the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team athletes in Ghent this week.

Several of the team’s 2014 roster return, including former two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, newly-crowned Australian Road Race Champion Peta Mullens, and ten-time Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara, however, a number of new stars will join the team in 2015 to compliment this already stellar line up.

New arrivals include Australian Nettie Edmondson, who recently dominated women’s endurance cycling at the UCI Track World Championships in Paris, taking rainbow jerseys in both the Team Pursuit and the Omnium. Also new to the team is Belgian Road and Omnium Champion Jolien D’hoore, who hails from Ghent, and is one of the most exciting riders ever produced by the cycling-mad Flemish region.

 


The team welcomes Elisa Longo Borghini, the prodigious Italian, who can excel on all terrains and in all conditions. The 23-year-old from Verbania in northern Piemonte already has a World Cup victory to her name, as well as two podiums in la Flèche Wallonne and a World Championship bronze medal, and is surely destined for even greater things this year. Mara Abbott, one of the greatest climbers of all time in the women’s peloton, also joins for 2015. The 29-year-old American has two Giro d’Italia victories to her name, in 2010 and 2013, with a third title at the top of her list of goals for 2015.

Despite its international roster, which boasts riders from nine different nations on four continents, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling remains true to its British roots. The 2015 team not only retains Olympic Champion Dani King, and World Cup winner Amy Roberts, but has also signed British Criterium Champion Eileen Roe, and the young exciting Isle of Man talent, Anna Christian.

 

Anna Sanchis of Spain and Emilia Fahlin of Sweden remain in the team whilst new signings Audrey Cordon of France and Chloe Hosking of Australia both moved to Wiggle Honda in 2015 from the same team last year. Chloe Hosking took Wiggle Honda’s first victory of the season at the Bay Cycling Classic in Australia on January 2nd.

Activities at the week-long Belgian training camp have been focused on fun, but challenging team-building sessions, particularly incorporating the newest members of the Wiggle Honda team. The camp will bring the team together and prepare them mentally and physically for battle on the road during the coming months.

The team will be performing specific reconnaissance training on the Omloop and Flanders courses throughout the week, as preparation for the opening classic races ahead of the European season, and to build on the success that Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders have already enjoyed in both Australia and Qatar.

 

Thursday’s multi-media launch and presentation will be hosted by UK’s Ian Stafford, the famous British Sports Journalist, Author, Broadcaster & Speaker.

Journalists will have the opportunity to meet the riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, with many of the athletes available & scheduled for one-to-one interviews throughout the event.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider line up 2015
Mara Abbott (United States), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Anna Christian (Great Britain), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Chloe Hosking (Australia), Dani King (Great Britain), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Peta Mullens (Australia), Amy Roberts (Great Britain), Eileen Roe (Great Britain), Anna Sanchis (Spain)

 

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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Belgian Training Camp: Day One

Ben Atkins : February 24, 2015 8:08 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is in Ghent, Flanders, for the first training camp of the year, with the aim of welcoming the new riders to the black and orange team, and having some fun, along with the serious business of preparing for the season ahead.

Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore leads her new Wiggle Honda teammates around her home roads

The first order of the day was to welcome Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s latest World Champion, Australian Nettie Edmondson, who struck Gold in both the Team Pursuit and the Omnium at the UCI Track World Championships this week. Nettie stayed in Paris with the Australian team last night, and travelled across to Belgium by train early this morning, but was ready bright and early for the first ride of the week with the rest of her teammates!

Chloe Hosking puts in a long effort on the ride back to the hotel

The ride was just to be a gentle spin on the flat roads around Ghent, as a foretaste of the sterner challenges to come later in the week, as well as those of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – the first race of the European season – on Saturday. It was an opportunity to spin stiff legs, particularly those of Edmondson, Giorgia Bronzini and Jolien D’hoore, who spent some hard days on the track, and Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara, who only flew in from Tokyo yesterday.

Former teammates Emilia Fahlin and Elisa Longo Borghini are reunited once more at Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling

For some riders it was also a chance to hone their position on their brand new 2015 Colnago V1-r bikes, with many of them riding the Italian legend’s latest frame for the very first time.

Jolien is apparently happy about winning a mid-ride game of scissors, paper, stone…

Following a healthy lunch the afternoon was given over to fun, team building activities, with so many of the riders new to the team; although some of the newcomers have already raced in the black and orange jersey in Australia or Qatar.

Eileen Roe shows her teammates how quickly they can change their tyres in Scotland

The first challenge saw a repeat of one from the 2014 training camp in Italy, with a race to see which rider could change an inner tube the fastest. Olympic Champion Dani King redeemed her Italian performance with an impressive time of three minutes, eight seconds, which proved hard for the other riders to match.

Not to be outdone, Amy Roberts shows how fast they can do it in Wales

Clearly in a winning mood this week though, Nettie Edmondson added a title arguably even more prestigious than her two rainbow jerseys (bragging rights over her teammates that is!). Last to take on the challenge, alongside Mayuko Hagiwara, Nettie managed to remove and replace her inner tube, reseat the tyre and pump it up to 100psi again in a frankly impressive two minutes, 48 seconds!

Nettie Edmondson is in a Championship winning mood right now!

The second of the day’s technical challenges was one more likely to face the riders in a race situation as they were charged with removing and replacing both wheels of Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore’s own Colnago V1-r!

Eileen Roe and Dani King get the wheels in and out pretty quickly…

Working in teams of two, one rider would remove the wheels, before switching over for the other rider to replace them. Drawing on the skills and experience that makes them both such great champions, Giorgia Bronzini and Jolien D’hoore completed the challenge in an incredible 51 seconds; a time that nobody else was able to beat.

… but nobody can match the speed of Giorgia Bronzini and Jolien D’hoore!

The reason for some riders taking longer than others in both challenges is of course that, because the team races on Vittoria tyres and tubulars, the riders hardly ever get punctures!

Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore gets her bike back, and reckons she can do it quicker on her own.

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Edmonson takes a second Rainbow Jersey with World Championship Omnium Victory

Ben Atkins : February 23, 2015 7:31 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson won her second rainbow jersey of the 2015 UCI World Track Championships with a stunning victory in the six-race Omnium event. Having already won the World title with Australia in the Team Pursuit, the 23-year-old Adelaidean took the lead in the two-day competition after three of the six events, then utterly dominated the second day of the competition with victory in all three of the remaining races.

Edmondson’s final total of 192 points was good enough to give her a massive 16-point cushion over former Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling athlete, Olympic Champion Laura Trott of Great Britain, while the Netherlands’ Kirsten Wild was just one point further behind in third place.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore narrowly missed out on a Bronze Medal, having sat in a podium position for much of the competition, as she was nudged into fourth place by Wild in the final Points Race.

“I really can’t believe it,” Edmondson told Cycling Australia afterwards. “It is pretty special after the high of the Team Pursuit; this is just a bonus.

“This win is fantastic, but nothing compares to winning [the Team Pursuit] with my teammates,” she added. “I played that over in my head even warming up for this omnium.

“The women’s track endurance squad has been working so hard for the past few years, so to see the success come across the entire board, it is really exciting for all of us. It shows we are heading in the right direction. We are looking forward to the next few years.”

Edmondson’s competition got off to a solid start, with fifth place in the Scratch Race. The Australian won the bunch sprint, but four riders had managed to take a lap on the field during the 10km race. She followed this with second place in the Individual Pursuit, just three hundredths of a second behind Trott, and her combined total of 70 points out a possible 80 gave her the competition lead.

An uncharacteristic seventh place in the Elimination allowed Trott to close to just two points, but Edmondson ended the opening day of the competition in the Gold Medal position.

Day two started in perfect fashion for Edmondson, with her time of 35.064 seconds for the 500 metre time trial good enough for victory. With Trott only managing fifth, and Wild taking just 13th, the gap between the three riders began to widen once more. A Flying Lap time of 14.024 gave the Australian another victory, and meant that she was to have an almost insurmountable lead of 14 points over Trott going into the final Points Race.

Rather than sit back on that cushion, however, Edmondson went on the offensive in the latter stages of the 25km race. Having allowed her rivals to close the gap a little in the early sprints, and for four lowly-placed riders to take a lap shortly afterwards, the Australian Olympic Bronze Medallist was first across the line on sprints seven and eight. This meant that to defeat her, Trott or Wild would have to take a lap on the field; with time running out they had little chance of this, however, and Edmondson was crowned World Champion for the second time.

“I didn’t have to do anything crazy,” Edmondson explained, “and sure enough my three major opponents fought themselves over the first half of the race so I was quite fresh for the second half and I just had to make sure no-one took any laps.”

Result
1. Nettie Edmondson (Australia)
2. Laura Trott (Great Britain)
3. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
4. Jolien D’hoore (Belgium)

 

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World Championship and World Record for Nettie Edmondson in Team Pursuit

Ben Atkins : February 20, 2015 7:06 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson won her first ever rainbow jersey at the 2015 UCI World Track Cycling Championships, at the Velodrome National, in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines on the outskirts of Paris. The 22-year-old Adelaidean was part of the Australian Team Pursuit quartet, along with Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins, that beat the Great Britain team of Katie Archibald, and former Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott.

“Unbelievable!” Edmondson said to Cycling Australia afterwards. “We’ve worked so hard for this. I’ve just spent every night of the last year dreaming about this so to actually go across the line and do it is… speechless.

In beating the British – who had held the title since 2011 – the Australian team also set a new World Record of four minutes 13.683 seconds for the four kilometre distance, smashing the previous best of four minutes 16.552 seconds, set by Great Britain in the Altitude of Aguascalientes, Mexico, in December 2013.

“We did a ’17’ in the second round, so we knew the form was there, and we were quite controlled,” Edmondson explained. “So I thought we could do a ’15’, maybe, if we really, really unleashed. But I didn’t look up at the scoreboard for two whole laps, before I looked up and I saw ’13’ and I couldn’t believe that!

“Then all of a sudden I was screaming even louder! That was a dream come true!”

“I don’t want to ever take this jersey off, I’m going to sleep in it tonight, I reckon!” Edmondson added. “To stand up on the podium alongside these three amazing women and to have Bec Wiasak watching us and by our side the entire time, to know she could slot in and do exactly the same thing, and to know we’ve got Bella King, we’ve got a whole handful of girls back home who have really stepped up is really promising signs for Australia in the lead in to Rio.”

Edmondson and Australia had thrown down the gauntlet early on, with a fastest qualification ride of four minutes 18.135 seconds on Wednesday morning, breaking their own, recently set, national record in the process.

Great Britain hit back in round one, with a time of four minutes 16.979 seconds, to beat Canada and qualify for the Gold Medal round. Despite a slightly slower time of four minutes 17.410, however, Australia’s comfortable five-second beating of New Zealand meant that the quartet could save something for the final.

Despite a faster start from Great Britain, Australia was almost half a second ahead by the end of the first kilometre, and this lead was up to almost a second at the end of kilometre two. Great Britain lost Rowsell at this point and, despite going down to three riders themselves not long afterwards, the Australians continued to open their advantage to what was to be just over three seconds by the finish.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini was also in action at the UCI World Championships, taking fifth place in Wednesday evening’s Points Race. The former two-time Road World Champion scored a total of 20 points at the ten sprints – more than any other rider – in a bid to take back the rainbow jersey that she won in 2009, but found herself too heavily marked to take a lap on the field and finished just five points short of the podium.

Result Women’s Team Pursuit
1. Australia (Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins)
2. Great Britain (Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott)
3. Canada (Allison Beveridge, Jasmin Glaesser, Kirsti Lay and Stephanie Roorda)

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Three Wiggle Honda athletes to the UCI World Track Cycling Championships

Ben Atkins : February 16, 2015 5:54 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will have three riders representing their countries at the 2015 UCI World Track Cycling Championships, which start on Wednesday, February 18th, at the French National Velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, to the southwest of Paris. Olympic Bronze Medallist Nettie Edmondson will be part of the Australian Team Pursuit Squad, while both Edmondson and Belgian Jolien D’hoore will ride the Omnium competition. Italian former two-time Road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini will ride the Points Race, the event in which she took her first-ever senior rainbow jersey back in 2009.

“So things have changed,” explained Edmondson, who was originally only scheduled to ride one event. “I’m now riding the Team pursuit – which is where we got the Aussie record – and the Omnium.

Edmondson was recently part of the four-woman Pursuit Team that lowered its national record to 4mins 20.999secs at the Australian Championships in Melbourne, Australia. The new mark is just four seconds slower than the time set by Great Britain in the altitude of Aguascalientes, Mexico, giving the team a genuine chance of taking the rainbow jersey this week.

The Team Pursuit begins with qualification in the very first session on Wednesday morning; the first knockout round of the competition takes place on Thursday morning, with the finals the same evening.

“Things are really positive for the Aussie ladies this year,” Edmondson said. “We’ve changed coaches around, altered our training and our times are coming down drastically; hence the Aussie record. We’re really hoping to improve on our silver and bronze medals from the last few years and come out on top for the first time since 2010!

“I’m also excited for the Omnium,” she added. “I wasn’t planning on riding it this year, but due to a few changes in the program I’ve had the call up, and I’m excited to give it a crack, especially in the new format at a world champs!”

The Women’s Omnium will begin with a 15km qualification Scratch Race on Friday morning, with the competition proper starting on Saturday. The six-event competition will be run over two days, as usual, with the final Points Race taking place on Sunday afternoon.

Belgian Champion D’hoore competed as a member of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team in the Tour of Qatar at the beginning of this month, but had already raced in the black and orange colours in her dominant performance in her national Omnium Championship. This result, as well as overall victory in the 2014/15 World Cup, gives the 24-year-old confidence ahead of this week’s competition.

“Qatar has been good with some good results,” said D’hoore, after her sixth place overall in the desert race. “I could do my work for the team so it was the perfect prep for Track Worlds. It’s all about fine tuning the last bits this week before I’m leaving to Paris on Saturday.

“I’ve done already many World Championships on the track,” she added. “But this time it’s different. For the first time I really have high ambitions to do well in the Omnium. The last months gave me a lot of confidence, with second in the European Champs, first in the Guadalajara World Cup and second in the London World Cup.

“I’m really motivated and looking forward to next week!”

Bronzini will be the first Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling athlete to compete in a rainbow jersey race this week, with the Points Race taking place on Wednesday Evening. As well as her senior World Title from 2009, the 31-year-old Italian took the Junior Points Race title in 2001, and has also won the European Championships at both junior and under-23 level.

Her exceptional sprint has also seen Bronzini take several World Cup victories in recent years, as well as the overall World Cup classifications in 2009/10 and 2010/11. Most recently she finished with the Bronze medal in the 2013 World Championship Points Race in Minsk, Belarus.

 

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