Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini took her first ever overall stage race victory in the 2013 Tour of Zhoushan Island, in China, as she held on to her overall lead on the hilly final stage. With only second place overall Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) to worry about in the general classification, the two-time former World champion managed to stay with the Trofeo Binda World Cup race winning climber on the hilly course, and finished one place ahead of her at the finish.
The stage was won by Longo Borghini’s teammate Cecilie Johnsen, taking her second straight stage, after the Norwegian escaped from a five-woman breakaway in the closing kilometres. Elena Kuchinskaya (RusVelo) finished second, four seconds behind Johnsen, while Meng Lang (China Chongming-Giant) took fourth, ahead of Bronzini and Longo Borghini, 16 seconds behind.
Having successfully contained the threat from Longo Borghini, Bronzini confirmed overall victory in the race, taking Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s first ever stage race as well as her own, with her compatriot 14 seconds behind her. Johnsen’s second stage victory lifted her to third in the final general classification, one minute and six seconds behind.
Having taken the lead with a breakaway victory on stage one, where she beat Longo Borghini in a two-up sprint, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Italian superstar held on to the leader’s yellow jersey from start to finish. Second place in a chaotic bunch sprint on stage two meant that Bronzini increased her lead over her compatriot and, with the rest of the peloton more than a minute behind, only had one rider to worry about on the final, hilly stage.
Once again Bronzini proved that there is far more to her than just one of the fastest sprints in the women’s peloton, by staying with the best climbers in the race to secure the overall victory.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini maintained her overall lead in the Tour of Zhoushan Island as she sprinted to second place on the second stage of the race. In a chaotic final few hundred metres the former two-time World champion was just beaten to the line by Norwegian Cecilie Johnsen (Hitec Products) at the end of the flat 89.7km stage. Chinese Taipei rider Huang Ting Ying finished third for the second day in a row.
“It was extremely close,” said Bronzini’s Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate and team manager. “There were only centimetres in it but, because it was such a slow race – an easy race – the finish was extremely chaotic, with a lot of the riders from smaller teams having full power because they’d done nothing in the race, because the race was really slow.
“It was a little bit messy,” she added. “Giorgia had Beatrice Bartelloni to lead her into the last 200 metres, but then she was a little bit isolated because it was a really big, wide road, and very windy. So she didn’t have a dream run.”
In contrast to the previous day, stage two of the Tour of Zhoushan Island was raced over a completely flat course – much like those of Chongming Island the previous week – which meant that the peloton stayed together for the entire distance.
“There weren’t so many attacks but the girls were always present at the front, and they kept control of the bunch to stop the breakaways,” said Bronzini afterwards. “It was only in the final that there was a lot of confusion in the last kilometre, and so I was a little bit scared that someone would crash.
“I’m sad about the result, but it was a chaotic sprint, because no one was tired for the finish because it was an easy race,” she continued. “We must think of tomorrow, for the jersey. I have 11 seconds on Longo Borghini and tomorrow will be a climbing stage again. For sure she will attack me and I must try and stay in her wheel, and for sure that’s not going to be easy but I will try.
“Maybe the anger from today will be good for the power tomorrow,” Bronzini smiled.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini continued her winning ways as she took victory in the opening stage of the Tour of Zhoushan Island, outsprinting Trofeo Binda World Cup winner Elisa Longo Borghini in a two-up sprint. The two Italians had escaped a breakaway group with 15km of the hilly 81.3km course remaining, with climber Longo Borghini doing all she could to shake off sprinter Bronzini on the way to the finish.
Third place was taken by Chinese Taipei rider Huang Ting Ying, at the head of a seven-rider group a minute and 12 seconds behind Bronzini, with the main peloton coming home more than five minutes later.
“It was a hard race today, because it was a little bit hilly and on the climb Longo Borghini always tried to attack,” explained Bronzini afterwards. “It was hard for me to follow her every time, but I tried to stay in her wheel because it was the only way to make it to the finish and beat her in the sprint.
“In the final it was me and her in the break in the last 15km,” Bronzini added. “In the first kilometre of the break I didn’t give her a hand because there were so many climbs, but after the climb I decided to work with her to try to take more minutes out of the others. At the finish, at one kilometre to go, she tried to attack me again through a little tunnel before the last corner, but I was in the wheel and took the corner in first position.
“She began her sprint, and I started my sprint, and I won easily,” the former two-time World champion smiled.
The victory was Bronzini’s fifth of the season, but could not be more different from the previous four, which all came in bunch sprints. A breakaway win over such a challenging course shows the Italian superstar’s versatility.
“It was extremely hilly; up, down, up down, and no flat,” confirmed Bronzini’s Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate and team manager Rochelle Gilmore.
“The first 30 or 40km was extremely hard, for everyone except for Giorgia,” she joked. “It was an aggressive race right from the start, the bunch didn’t stay together at all, and it was really, really hilly.
“This is obviously a pretty special result,” Gilmore added, “because everyon had to try and drop Giorgia, because she’s proved that she’s the fastest. Everyone tried to do everything they possibly could, and Elisa Longo Borghini’s a pretty bloody good climber, and she tried everything.”
Victory on the first stage gives Bronzini the leader’s jersey in the three-day race, which she will look to defend over the remaining two stages.
Photo Credits: (C) Tour of Zhoushan Island
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara took the first European victory of her career at the Championnat de Wallonie Kermesse in Foy Notre Dame, near Dinant in Southern Belgium on Sunday. The eight-time Japanese champion, resplendent in her distinctive “Hinomaru” flag jersey, escaped from a select group of riders on the last of the race’s seven 12.7km laps and soloed to the finish.
Behind Hagiwara, Kaat Hannes (Lotto-Belisol) outsprinted CycleLive Plus-Zannata duo Annelies Van Doorslaer and Liz Hatch in the race for second place.
“It was small race but I’m very happy because it was my first win in Europe,” said a delighted Hagiwara after the race. “I appreciate everybody who supported me and would like to say thank you to the people who supported me in the race today.”
Hagiwara has played a strong supportive role to her teammates so far this season, but now hopes to build on her very first victory in Europe.
“I couldn’t do a good performance for the team in the pro season, so I want to build up my condition from this win,” Hagiwara said, modestly. “I want to try harder to help the team win, and want to take my chance in Europe.”
With most of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team racing in China, Hagiwara was the only member of the team to line up in Dinant, and was up against a number of strong Belgian teams. Inge Roggeman (Sengers Ladies) attacked in the lap two, and managed to open up a minute’s lead but a powerful chase from Hagiwara pulled a group of riders up to the Belgian in the final lap.
In the front group with Hagiwara were Hannes, van Doorslaer and Hatch, as well as Julie Leth (Breast Cancer Care) and Belgian cyclocross champion Sanne Cant (Ciclismo Mundial) but, on the last climb of the final lap Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Japanese champion attacked and opened up a gap that continued to widen all the way to the finish line.
1. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Kaat Hannes (Lotto-Belisol)
3. Annelies Van Doorslaer (CycleLive Plus-Zannata)
While Mayuko Hagiwara was winning in southern Belgium and Giorgia Bronzini was winning in China, their Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates were also taking victories elsewhere. Australian Lauren Kitchen won the “Ladies Komtoer” in Moergestel, Netherlands, while double Olympic champion Laura Trott won the new women’s race at the Elveden Estate in Suffolk, eastern England.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini won the bunch sprint for second place in the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup race after the peloton was sent the wrong way in the closing kilometres and so was unable to catch a lone breakaway rider. Ukrainian Tetyana Riabchenko (Chirio Forno d’Asolo) had escaped with just over 15km to go, and was being hunted down by a strong chase from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling when the entire peloton was forced to stop.
By the time the bunch got started again Riabchenko had built up an unassailable lead and, despite another hard chase from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, was able win by 12 seconds. Bronzini easily took second place, ahead of Amy Pieters (Argos-Shimano), but the two-time road World champion was forced to reflect on what might have been, as she was denied the chance to sprint for her second career victory in the World Cup.
“I’m very happy with the team’s performance today and to be the fastest at the finish, however, we’re obviously very disappointed with the result,” said Bronzini afterwards. “It’s very difficult to accept defeat when I and the team did everything right. We worked very hard to prepare for this World Cup.
“The solo rider who was not stopped won by 12 seconds, the chasing bunch was stopped with two kilometres to go,” the Italian sprinter added. “If you think about the math, a stop from 50kph probably costs more than 12 seconds right?”
“The team worked really hard today and did everything right,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team manager Rochelle Gilmore. “Every rider was fit and healthy and at their best, and Giorgia was put in the right position and proved again that she’s the fastest in the World.
“Obviously the team’s really disappointed because we did everything right,” Gilmore added.
“It’s frustrating, but what can you do, it’s one of those things,” echoed Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “Giorgia definitely had the legs to win, but this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened in a race. I remember it happened to Robert Millar at the Tour de France, but yes, it is frustrating.”
Bronzini scored 50 World Cup points for second place, which lifts her to seventh place in the overall standings, while Gilmore also finished in the points, scoring nine for 12th place having led Bronzini into position.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini took fifth place in a hectic bunch sprint at the end of the third and final stage of the Tour of Chongming Island at Shanghai East Beach. The former two-time World road champion was just unable to repeat her stunning victory from the previous day as the sprinters fanned out in the final dash for the line.
Commonwealth champion Rochelle Gilmore also sprinted to tenth place, to put two Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders in the top ten.
“It’s not the result that we wanted,” admitted Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “Giorgia’s pretty disappointed with her result, but [Orica-AIS] really got their act together today. I don’t know that they were too far back, or if they did make a mistake by not being far enough up, but Orica were really good.”
The 80km stage, made up of eight laps of a ten kilometre city circuit, was won by Annette Edmondson (Orica-AIS), ahead of 2007 World champion Marta Bastianelli (Faren-Let’s Go Finland) and Edmondson’s own teammate, Swedish champion Emma Johansson. Time bonuses on the line meant that Edmondson also secured the overall race victory.
Bronzini’s fifth place meant that Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Italian superstar held on to her overall fourth place in the final general classifcation.
With the two preceding stages having been affected by crashes to a varying degree, the sprint for stage three was no different with a final kilometre incident threatening to disrupt the final sprint.
“Kim de Baat went down in the last corner,” Cope confirmed, “but I’m not quite sure what caused it, so I’m not quite sure what happened there.”
Thankfully none of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders were affected by the incident, and Bronzini and Gilmore’s teammates Beatrice Bartelloni, Emily Collins, Amy Roberts and Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier finished the stage safely after another strong performance.
“They all rode well and covered everything,” said Cope. “The performance from the team was very good, it just didn’t get the end result really.
“Hopefully it’ll be better for the World Cup on Sunday,” he added. “It’s the same finish as yesterday so it should be interesting.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini put the disappointment of the previous day’s eleventh place well and truly behind her with an emphatic sprint victory in the second stage of the Tour of Chongming Island in Chongxi. The former two-time World road champion, who was almost brought down by a crash in the final two kilometres of stage one, found a clear path to the line this time and powered past of Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) to win by almost a bike length.
Annette Edmondson (Orica-AIS) – who was the rider to have been brought down in front of Bronzini on stage one – finished third as she crossed the line in Bronzini’s wake.
“It was the GreenEdge train again for Edmondson today, and I was on the wheel of Chloe Hosking,” Bronzini explained. “The last teammate to bring me there was Beatrice [Bartelloni]. I felt very good through the whole race, and I told the girls and they worked hard for me to he finish line.
“Most of all in the finish from Beatrice,” Bronzini added. “Because she is able to have the power to bring me up to the front, and she’s not scared to fight with the others. So I was in the right position at the right moment.”
Conditions for the 114km stage were windy once again, on a course that offers few other obstacles, with heavy rain making the roads slick and treacherous and causing numerous punctures. A group escaped midway through the race, containing Bronzini and most of the other big favourites; the peloton split into pieces behind the break, with stage one winner Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano) trapped in the third group, but the race was all together again as it came into the finish.
“It was a little bit of a hard race today, because there was a break in the middle of the race with the best riders – there were 15 of us I think – and they were pushing hard to try to get to the finish,” said Bronzini. “After the second intermediate sprint, when they saw that the bunch was at 30 seconds, they stopped pulling, the big bunch caught us and we arrived at the finish together.”
A ten-second time bonus on the line means that, despite the disappointment of stage one, Bronzini now sits in fourth place, just nine seconds behind new race leader Hosking, with one stage remaining.
“For tomorrow we will go for the stage – to be in the sprint for the stage – and then the maximum power for the World Cup on Sunday,” Bronzini confirmed.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini managed to salvage eleventh place in the first stage of the Tour of Chongming Island after almost being taken down in a crash in the final two kilometres. The former two-time road World champion had positioned herself well near the front of the peloton, but the rider in front of her was taken out by a wayward rider and Bronzini was lucky not to have also been brought down.
“There was a crash at one of the intermediate sprints, and then one close to the finish, but luckily none of our riders were brought down,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope.
“Orica had their train going so Rochelle [Gilmore] took Giorgia up to Edmondson’s wheel,” Cope explained “But then a rider cut straight across Edmondson and took her out. Giorgia just about managed to get around it, but Rochelle had to stop and put her foot down.
“I think Giorgia was running on pure adrenaline after that and she ended up sprinting far too early,” he added.
The race was won by World junior champion Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano), taking her first ever victory in the professional ranks, ahead of Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) and Oksana Kozonchuk (RusVelo). 11th place for Bronzini was disappointing after having taken two victories in the weeks before, but Cope is optimistic about the remaining two stages, as well as the World Cup race on Sunday.
“Giorgia has the legs, and she’s pretty disappointed about today,” Cope confirmed. “But we’re lucky that she wasn’t taken out in the crash.
“I’m disappointed with the result, but not the performance,” he concluded.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted to victory once again in the Knokke-Heist to Bredene race, the second round of the Lotto Cycling Cup, on a windy day on Belgium’s North Sea coast. The two-time World road champion was delivered into the headwind finishing straight by a dominant display from her teammates, giving her the perfect launchpad to take her third win of the season so far. Second place went to Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore (Lotto-Belisol), with Martina Zwick (Koga Ladies) third.
“It was windy in the final kilometre, but I had two of my Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates in front of me in Beatrice Bartelloni and Lauren Kitchen,” explained Bronzini after her victory. “Lauren was the last one to leave me at 300 metres, but I waited a moment because it was so windy, and I think that the other riders were waiting for me to go.
“I began with 200 metres to go with my maximum power and it was good,” she added.
The 112.8km race, which consisted of a winding 52.3km section along the coast, followed by five laps of an elongated 12.1km circuit, saw Bronzini get away as part of an early breakaway group as the peloton split on a long section of cobbles. The peloton was soon back together again, however, with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling able to keep control of a number of attacks as the race neared the finish.
“Today I felt good all day,” Bronzini said. “It was a hard day because in the first part of the race there was a break with seven riders; it was windy and I was alone with other riders that had teammates with them. After the others caught up it was a big group and I was feeling better because my teammates were there.
“We talked many times during the race, and they asked me what I would like to do, and it was perfect.”
The race was subject to several attempted breakaways as it continually changed direction in the stiff North Sea wind, but the riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling were able to keep the peloton together into the finish and lead out Bronzini to victory.
“They finished it off well,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “It was a really windy race, and to have six riders there at the end was definitely a bonus.
“Into the headwind nobody was doing anything,” he explained, “and when it turned right [into the tailwind section] it always split but we were always represented. Then they took it on coming into the finish and teed Giorgia up really well.”
“Today I would like to say thanks to Beatrice and Amy Roberts,” Bronzini echoed. “Because they are so young, and they did such strong work.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is delighted to announce that Olympic champions Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King will compete in the Elite Women’s Criterium at the IG London Nocturne on Saturday 8th June, where they will race in the strongest-ever elite women’s field at Smithfield Market in London in less than six weeks’ time.
British fans who attend the Nocturne will be hugely excited at the chance to see a trio of British medal winners compete on the streets of London, rather than the Olympic Velodrome, after their victory at the London 2012 Olympics.
“I’m really excited about this race, there are always so many fans lining the streets, and we’ll want to put on a great performance,” said double Olympic champion Trott. “The IG London Nocturne will be important for us leading into the National Championships – it will be our last real test against a competitive field.”
“The IG London Nocturne will be the first time Wiggle Honda officially races as a team in the UK, in front of a massive British audience,” added team manager Rochelle Gilmore. “This is a really big and important event for our team. We’re extremely excited about racing in front of a home crowd against a strong line-up of professional women.”
FACE Partnership MD James Pope, the event organiser, said: “We are committed to promoting women’s cycling, and I am delighted that the Nocturne will feature the strongest women’s professional team.”
The 2013 IG London Nocturne promises to be the biggest and best yet: elite competition will be accompanied by the usual favourites like the Time Out London Folding Bike Race and the Brooks Penny Farthing Race.