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News

Elisa Longo Borghini joins Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling in 2015

Ben Atkins : September 29, 2014 6:18 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is excited to announce that Elisa Longo Borghini will be joining the black and orange team in 2015. The 22-year-old from the Piemonte region of Northern Italy is the reigning Italian time trial champion, and currently one of the most exciting riders in the women’s peloton. Elisa represented Italy in both the time trial and road race at last week’s World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, where she was part of a four-rider final lap attack with Vos, Johansson and Armitstead, that was unfortunately caught in the closing half kilometre.

“I’m really excited to join Wiggle Honda,” said Longo Borghini. “I had three great years at Hitec Products, I learnt and improved a lot but now it was time for a change.

“Wiggle Honda will be a really strong team which can compete for the victory in every type of race,” she added. “I will ride next to top-class athletes and have the chance to keep learning about cycling.

“I am already looking forward to the upcoming season, and I can’t wait to race!”

From a sporting family Longo Borghini’s mother Guidina Dal Sasso was a multiple champion cross country skier, while Elisa’s brother Paolo is also a professional cyclist, currently with WorldTour team Cannondale Pro Cycling.

Elisa burst onto the international scene in February 2011 when, aged just 19, she finished fifth in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, with the Belgian Classic raced in conditions of freezing rain. 2012 saw her finish as the best young rider in the Giro d’Italia, and end the year with a World Championship bronze medal.

Her ability to overcome the worst conditions showed again when she took a solo victory in the 2013 Trofeo Alfredo Binda World Cup. She suffered horrific injuries in a crash in that year’s Italian Championships, but recovered quickly enough to play an influential part in the World Championship road race in Florence.

In 2014 Elisa won both the Tour de Bretagne and Trophée d’Or stage races, and finished the Giro d’Italia as the best Italian rider. She has finished on the podium of the last two editions of la Flèche Wallonne, and finished fourth in the last two Tours of Flanders.

“Elisa is an athlete I have wanted to work with from the moment I started Wiggle Honda,” said the team’s Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore. “Before her horrific accident last year I recognised her capabilities and, after an impressive rehab, she is well on her way to what I believe she can achieve in the next few years: a World Number One ranking.”

After Olympic Champion Dani King, Elisa is the second rider to be confirmed as part of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling in 2015. The team will be making further announcements in the coming weeks.

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Laura Trott wins Great Britain National Scratch Race Title

Ben Atkins : September 28, 2014 8:52 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Laura Trott won her second Gold Medal of the Great Britain National Track Championships at the National Cycling Centre, Manchester, as she sprinted to victory at the end of the 15km Scratch Race. The double Olympic champion, who was part of the successful Team Pursuit defence on Thursday crossed the line well clear of Team USN’s Emily Kay, with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Dani King taking the Bronze Medal for third place.

“I feel amazing,” Trott told British Cycling. “I’m really, really happy. I was disappointed with yesterday’s result [when she took Silver in the Individual Pursuit] after training hasn’t been going too well for last couple of weeks to be honest.

“I felt really good, we took a lap and I felt like we were cruising round,” Trott explained. “I was just really relaxed and it came into the sprint and it panned out just how I wanted.

“I waited and I was in control and I didn’t want anybody to get in the way of how I sprint. I took it on with a lap to go and it worked!”

Trott, King and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker were part of a group of just six riders that managed to take two laps on the field in the course of the 60 lap event. With the trio were Kay, as well as Pearl Izumi teammates Katie Archibald and Dame Sarah Storey.

Barker took fifth place, while Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Amy Roberts who had also lapped the field took seventh place after her sprint had seen her the fifth rider to cross the line.

Result
1. Laura Trott (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Emily Kay (Team USN)
3. Dani King (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

5. Elinor Barker (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
7. Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling defends Great Britain Team Pursuit

Ben Atkins : September 25, 2014 6:42 pm : News

The Wiggle Honda quartet of Elinor Barker, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott successfully defended its Team Pursuit title at the Great Britain National Track Championships on the boards of the National Cycling Centre, Manchester. The four riders – with Barker, Rowsell and Trott dressed in the rainbow bands of World Champions – completed the four kilometre distance in a time of 4:24.903, to beat the Pearl Izumi team of Katie Archibald, Ciara Horne, Anna Turvey and Dame Sarah Storey.

“We’re pretty happy with that,” said Barker. “We went a lot better in the second ride, which is pretty good considering the [World Championship] format has gone to three rides, so it’s good that we can back it up.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling set a qualification time of 4:29.742, which would have been little more than half a second short of making the bronze medal final in the men’s competition, was six seconds quicker than Pearl Izumi and set up a race for gold.

“Fair play to Katie and Ciara,” Barker said. “They did some absolutely monster turns apparently.”

The final race was delayed a little as the Pearl Izumi team false started on the first attempt. Once things had got going at the second attempt, however, Barker, King, Rowsell and Trott soon moved into a lead that they were to increase lap on lap. By the time they completed the four kilometre distance the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders had improved on their qualification time by almost five seconds.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Barker said of the team’s performance so early in the track season. “It’s early on, but we all going pretty well, all things considered.”

Result
1. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling

2. Pearl Izumi
3. VC St Raphael

Photo Credit: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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Olympic Champion Dani King Renews with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling

Ben Atkins : September 22, 2014 10:08 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is delighted to announce that Dani King has extended her contract with the team to the end of 2015, as she builds towards her bid to defend her Olympic title in Rio 2016. The 23-year-old from Southampton, on the south coast of England, has been an important part of the black and orange squad since its inception in 2013, and will continue to be so as both a Track and Road rider.

“I’m delighted to be staying with Wiggle Honda for 2015,” said King. “The team give me the perfect combination of being able to focus 100% on the track for Rio and use the road racing program, when British Cycling advises it, to compliment my track preparation.”

While a member of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, the team fully supports Dani’s ambitions on the track, and will be working with programme suggestions and recommendations made by British Cycling and Dani’s management. As she pursues her goals Dani will have the freedom to control her own training, preparation, races and personal appearances.

Dani’s 2014 season has been focussed on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in August, but she has still had time to ride an impressive road programme. Always willing to put her teammates first, the Englishwoman was a key member of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s team at the Women’s Tour in Britain, and took a superb Silver Medal in the Great Britain National Championships, after leading her teammate to victory.

Discovered at the age of 14 by British Cycling, Dani King MBE has been a big star ever since she was part of the winning Team Pursuit squad at the London 2012 Olympic Games – an event that she has also been a three-time World Champion in, and is the current World Record holder. At just 23 years of age, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling and its staff believe that Dani’s abilities as a road rider will see her achieve even more great things in 2016 and beyond.

“It’s extremely motivating for Wiggle Honda’s athletes, staff and sponsors that Dani King has chosen Wiggle Honda long term, to support her career, combining both road and track to achieve her maximum potential as a professional cyclist,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore. “It’s a real pleasure to work with Dani, her smile lights up a room and she gives 110% to her team, her sport, fellow athletes, fans and followers. Dani also has an enormous amount of respect for her entire support crew which makes working with her so enjoyable.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will commence further announcements of its 2015 line-up following the World Road Cycling Championships being held in Spain this week. The 2015 team has been specifically selected to strengthen the team’s ability to win more races from, not only sprint races, but also Classic and Grand Tour type races. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will focus on scientific and technological marginal gains at the professional end of the sport in 2015, as well as developing, educating and nurturing young upcoming talent.

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Linda Villumsen secures overall victory in the tour de l’Ardèche

Ben Atkins : September 9, 2014 1:44 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Linda Villumsen has secured overall victory in the 2014 Tour de l’Ardèche after yesterday’s seventh and final stage, between Grotte de St Marcel and Bourg Saint Andéol. The Commonwealth Time Trial Champion, who had led the race since taking the lead over from teammate Giorgia Bronzini after stage two, beat American Tayler Wiles, riding for the ‘Mixte Internationale 1′ team, by 12 seconds, with French veteran Edwige Pitel of ‘Mixte Internationale 2′ 37 seconds back in third.

“I am just real happy we finished the wiggle Honda season off in such a good way!” Villumsen exclaimed. “I mean Gio is clearly super fit, some of them stages weren’t exactly flat and she made the selection and was able to sprint too and win so many stages.

“We were down to just 4 riders in the last stage of Ardèche but we managed to pull it off and we are all just hoping that Anna [Schnitzmeier] will recover quick from the injuries attained from her crash,” Villumsen added.

With the priority on the 77.8km stage the protection of Villumsen’s Pink Jersey, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was happy to allow a breakaway to escape made up of riders that were no threat. German Kathrin Hammes of the Racing Students+Stevens Hytera Mixte team beat Uenia De Souza Fernandes of Estado de Mexico Faren and Australia’s Carlee Taylor in a three-up sprint for the line, as the black and orange team controlled the peloton containing Villumsen’s rivals behind them.

“I myself was so happy to get the TT right,” Villumsen said, “and as always it is good to have the confidence boost at this time of the year.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Bronzini easily won the sprint for fourth from the first chasing group, 48 seconds behind the break, to comfortably cement her victory in the Green Jersey Points Classification.

Final General Classification
1. Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Tayler Wiles (Mixte Internationale 1)
3. Edwige Pitel (Mixte Internationale 2)

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Bronzini takes third Ardèche stage win as Villumsen holds her lead

Ben Atkins : September 7, 2014 7:55 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini took her third victory in the 2014 Tour de l’Ardèche as she sprinted ahead of the field at the end of stage six, between Grignan and Rochegude. The former two-time road World Champion – who had already won stages one and four – finished several lengths clear of Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink) and Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren), in second and third place after 142.8km hilly kilometres.

“In final kilometre Linda Villumsen brought me into the first positions,” said Bronzini. “I knew it was a technical final because, with 20km to go, Linda brought me the map of the last-k. So we knew the corner, and we were prepared in our minds how the final could be technical.

“I didn’t know that it was a little bit uphill, but when I saw the final I said ‘okay, I can sprint up here,’” Bronzini added. “I took Ratto’s wheel and I came out with about 150 to go, and I had a big gap in the end.”

The longest stage of the race saw a seven-rider group get clear, including sixth place overall Amélie Rivat (Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86), who began the day just two minutes and 41 seconds behind Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s race leader Villumsen. The team was able to keep the group under control, however, and, although the remains of the break were still more than a minute and a half clear with just over 25km to go, the last riders were caught well before the finish.

“The map said that the stage was going to be really hard today, but we perfectly managed the climbs because we let a break go,” explained Bronzini. “We were not represented, but we rode well behind it and stayed together. Astana was represented, and also a teammate of Ratto, and Australia, so it was a perfect breakaway for the bunch.

“So the rest of the bunch took its time and the breakaway was always at about one minute thirty, or one minute forty. Not so much.”

“We didn’t want to take a risk on the final downhill with Linda, so we stayed with her, but after that there was some really amazing work form Emilia Fahlin and Emily Collins – working with two girls from Futuroscope – from 25km to go. We caught the break with about eight kilometres to go.

“Linda then stayed in front of me to stop any more breaks from going, then afterwards Emily and Emilia came to the front again for the last kilometres.”

Villumsen finished in the group behind teammate Bronzini, retaining her 12-second lead over Tayler Wiles of the ‘Mixte Internationale’ team. The Danish-born New Zealander has just one more stage to negotiate to secure the overall race victory.

“Tomorrow all hands will be on Linda’s back,” Bronzini said. “Whatever happens we will be there next to her.”

Result
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink)
3. Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren)

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Bronzini wins hilly Tour de l’Ardèche stage four; Villumsen consolidates overall lead

Ben Atkins : September 5, 2014 7:34 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini took her second victory of the 2014 Tour de l’Ardèche on the hilly fourth stage, between Le Pouzin and Cruas, as she outsprinted the leading group of 14 riders. The former two-time road World Champion once again beat Tiffany Cromwell (Australia) into second place, with Italian Champion Elena Cecchini (Estado de Mexico-Faren) third.

“The other girls in the group rode a tempo and I was okay in the last climb, and then it was downhill to the finish,” Bronzini explained. “There was an attack, but Linda brought me back and took the head of the peloton with one kilometre to go and started to pull me in the sprint.

“In the last corner, with 500 metres to go, Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren) attacked but Linda pulled me up to behind them. Then I started my sprint, and I won!”

Present in the leading group were Bronzini’s Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates Linda Villumsen – wearing the pink leader’s jersey since yesterday’s stage two time trial – and Emilia Fahlin. Missing from the group was second place overall Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink).

“It was a really climbing stage, and after the first downhill – where Anna [Schnitzmeier] crashed – we were in front as a team,” Bronzini said. “On the second climb Emilia and me rode a tempo; there was a little breakaway in front of us of three riders, so we rode a tempo to the top of the climb and then Linda led into the downhill and we caught them.”

“Then Emilia and me rode on the front again, and behind us there was a crash at about 15 riders back,” Bronzini continued. “So there was a group of about 15 or 20 girls gone, and Linda, me and Emilia were in there. After the downhill Emilia was on the front again and drove it because Amialiusik was behind.

“Then on a little rolling climb I took the head again, but then Julian [Winn, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Directeur Sportif] came to me and said ‘okay Giorgia, stop riding on the front because you should save some energy for the final.’

“It was a great job from Emilia and Linda today!”

Chasing alone, Amialiusik lost 44 seconds by the finish, meaning that Villumsen now leads Tayler Wiles (Mixte Internationale) by 12 seconds. Bronzini’s victory sees the Italian increase her lead in the green points jersey classification.

Result
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Tiffany Cromwell (Australia)
3. Elena Cecchini (Estado de Mexico-Faren)

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Villumsen takes Tour de l’Ardèche lead with stage two time trial victory

Ben Atkins : September 4, 2014 6:51 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Linda Villumsen ended the second day of the 2014 Tour de l’Ardèche in the race leader’s pink jersey, thanks to her victory in the morning’s seven kilometre stage two time trial, between Valvignières and Alba la Romaine. The Commonwealth Champion completed the rolling course in a time of ten minutes, 2.13 seconds, which was ten seconds quicker than Alena Amialiusik (Astana BePink) in second place, with Tayler Wiles (Mixte Internationale) another nine seconds back in third.

“I don’t think anyone ever feels good in a time trial!” Villumsen joked. “But it was a good course for me because it was a little bit up and down the whole time. Not flat, not hilly, but sort of rolling.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Charlotte Becker finished just 30 seconds behind teammate Villumsen in sixth place. Villumsen’s time trial victory saw her take the pink jersey from Giorgia Bronzini, who held it after her stage one victory.

“It was supposed to be the easiest day today,” Villumsen laughed, “so we’ll see what happens in the next stages, but we had another good day. We’ll see how the girls are feeling in the morning, because they really really did a lot today.”

The afternoon road stage, between the Musée d’Alba la Romaine and Le Teil, saw Bronzini take second place in an untidy bunch sprint after her Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates controlled the peloton over the hilly 76km course. The former two-time road World Champion was just unable to overcome Australian Loren Rowney, as she combined with Specialized-lululemon teammate Tiffany Cromwell in the finishing straight, but managed to get past Cromwell before the line.

“This afternoon it was a hilly stage,” Bronzini explained. “It began with a steep climb, and I was in the front with Linda, trying to set a rhythm so there wouldn’t be any attacks from the other teams. After the second climb the other girls came back to help us – there was one breakaway solo from Astana – and the girls got on the front and we caught the girl before the last climb.

“In the last climb the girls were in the front again to set a rhythm and we managed to stop any attacks. We worked together on the downhill and, with 10km to go, everyone was on the front to make a good speed and stop any attacks.”

“In the last kilometres Emilia [Fahlin] was on the front in a long, long effort, and I was perfectly on Linda’s wheel,” Bronzini continued. “In the final-k Linda tried to lead me out but it was a really, really technical final. Chloe Hosking [Mixte International] attacked and the others followed her, putting Linda into trouble.

“Rowney was pulling the sprint, but Cromwell left a gap to her teammate, so I must start my sprint really early. I tried to catch her but I was too late. It was a different tactic from them to beat me, but that’s the way racing is.”

Despite missing out on the victory, Villumsen finished the day safely in the pink jersey, while Bronzini took the lead in the green jersey points classification.

“The important thing is that we are still in the jersey, and also I have the points jersey, so we are happy,” Bronzini confirmed.

Result Stage 2
1. Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Alena Amialiusik (Astana BePink)
3. Tayler Wiles (Mixte Internationale)

Result Stage 3
1. Loren Rowney (Australia)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Tiffany Cromwell (Australia)

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Bronzini Repeats In Tour De L’Ardèche Opening Stage Sprint

Ben Atkins : September 3, 2014 7:03 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini continued her winning summer with a repeat of her 2013 victory in the opening stage of the Tour de l’Ardèche, between La Voulte and Beauchastel, as it finished in a bunch sprint. The former two-time former road World Champion sprinted to the line clear of Specialized-lululemon’s Tiffany Cromwell and Hitec Products’ Chloe Hosking, riding for  Australia and a ‘Mixte International’ team respectively.

“It was a really windy stage today,” Bronzini said afterwards. “There were two laps – one small and one longer – and there were some breakaways but we were covering everything.

“In the end we thought about the sprint and the girls did a lead out for me,” the Italian explained. “Everyone was on the lead out. The last one was Lotte [Becker] and I went out from her wheel to the Australian ones with 500 metres to go; I just jumped out with 200 metres to go and I began my sprint.”

The 102km stage was made up of one 28.8km loop, ten 7km loops, and ended in a separate 1.3km bolt for the line. There were several attempts to create a breakaway, but the only rider able to open a significant gap was Hosking’s ‘Mixte’ teammate Olivia Dillon. The Irish rider was clear for around 15km, with a maximum gap of around 45 seconds, but was pulled back well before the finish by a powerful chase from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling.

Knowledge of the finishing straight – which was only tackled at the end of the stage despite it being based on a circuit – meant that Bronzini was able to time her sprint to perfection and repeat her victory of last year.

“It was the same,” Bronzini confirmed. “It was exactly the same in the final kilometre. It was a different lap, but the final was the same.

“It was a copy of last year!” Bronzini laughed, referring to the fact that Cromwell also took second place in 2013.

Bronzini’s victory sees the former World Champion take the race’s pink leader’s jersey, but doesn’t expect to keep it for long.

“The team is working really, really well,” she said. “Tomorrow will be a time trial which is not my best thing. I know we start with the jersey but I think I’m going to lose it! I will be happy though, if it should go to one of my teammates. We will work for that I hope.”

Result
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Tiffany Cromwell (Australia)
3. Chloe Hosking (Mixte International)

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Emilia Fahlin looking to show herself in Sweden’s Vårgårda World Cup

Ben Atkins : August 21, 2014 7:05 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling returns to the UCI Women’s World Cup this weekend, with Sunday’s Crescent Women’s World Cup race in Vårgårda, Sweden. The black and orange team will be led by former two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini and Commonwealth Time Trial Champion Linda Villumsen on the rolling circuit course, but former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin will also be looking to perform.

Although she will no longer be wearing the blue and yellow jersey of National Champion, Fahlin is looking forward to racing on her home roads.

“I am really excited for the weekend ahead, and Sunday in particular!” Fahlin said. “I really like the Vårgårda World Cup, and that not just because it’s in my home country, but I really like the race itself. I think its a fun, fast, and very active course which makes for interesting racing, and although the course might not look too heavy all the criterium-like inner-city course and the little hill makes for tired legs in the end!

“And the bonus to be able to have some family and familiar faces around too, just adds to the already good atmosphere of the race and makes it even nicer,” she added. “I do hope the weather will be with us, just so more people will be out watching it!

Fahlin rode a strong Giro d’Italia, followed by La Course and the Sparkassen Giro, in support of her teammates, and the Swedish rider’s attacks in the RideLondon Grand Prix – along with the rest of her Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates – were instrumental in Giorgia Bronzini’s victory there. After a short break from racing, the 25-year-old is ready to return on the roads of her home country.

“I’ve been feeling better and better the last few races and done some good work last week, and I’m hoping I will have some decent legs on Sunday to be there and play it out with the team!” she said.

Bronzini’s second place in the Sparkassen Giro saw her rise to fifth in the overall World Cup Classification. She only narrowly missed out on the winning move of last year’s Vårgårda road race – finishing tenth after having made the initial selection – but, after some superb performances in the hilly stages of this month’s Route de France, the Italian is looking to go several places better this time.

“I’m really excited to be going to this World Cup,” Bronzini said. “I think I am in shape for trying to do a good race.

“I would love it if Emilia and Linda can do a good race too!” she added.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for the Crescent Women World Cup, Vårgårda, Sweden (24th August 2014)
Beatrice Bartelloni (Italy)
Charlotte Becker (Germany)
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan)
Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)

Reserve: Emily Collins (New Zealand)

 

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