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News

Jessica Mundy joins Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling with immediate effect

Ben Atkins : October 15, 2014 7:25 am : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is delighted to announce that Jess Mundy has joined the team with immediate effect as the focus moves towards the Australian summer season. The 20-year-old from Adelaide, South Australia, has pulled on the black and orange jersey before, as she rode as a guest rider during the 2013 Mitchelton Bay Crit Series (below, centre) and has spent most of the last two racing seasons as part of the Australian National Team in Europe.

A former Oceania Junior Road Race Champion, Mundy was awarded the Amy Gillett Foundation scholarship in 2013. Also an accomplished track rider, she took the Australian Madison Championship that year, along with fellow South Australian Annette Edmondson. This year saw her take her first win in the National Road Series, with a solo victory in the final stage of the Adelaide Tour, before travelling Europe with the National Team.

“I am super excited to join the Wiggle Honda team for the reminder of 2014,” Mundy said. “For me it’s an honour to be able to race as a part of such a professionally run team.”

Mundy will race alongside new teammates Peta Mullens, Emily Collins, and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore in the coming months, where the team’s targets will include the Noosa Australian Open in November, and the New South Wales International GP and Launceston Criterium in December.

“Jess is an absolute delight to have on the team, she has guest ridden with our teams in the past and always gives 110%,” said Gilmore. “It’s such a pleasure to be apart of Jess’s development and every member of our team loves racing with her. We select our athletes on the complete package and Jess represents everything we’re about, she’s a team player, she smiles a lot, she’s extremely appreciative and she is a true professional.”

The decision to offer Mundy a contract is part of Gilmore’s and Wiggle’s continued focus and commitment to developing talent globally, and giving opportunities wherever and whenever possible.

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Jolien D’hoore And Audrey Cordon-Ragot Sign For Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling

Ben Atkins : October 13, 2014 5:13 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is delighted to announce that Jolien D’hoore and Audrey Cordon-Ragot will be joining the team in 2015.  The two riders will be the first ever members of the black and orange squad from Belgium and France respectively, as it challenges for results over all kinds of terrain next year.

Jolien D’hoore is the current Belgian Road Race Champion, having also won the title in 2012, and, as a multiple National Champion on the track, she holds the Belgium National Omnium Title. As it has done in the past, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will support the 24-year-old from Gent, East Flanders, with her ambitions at the velodrome as well as on the road.

“I’m really happy to join Wiggle Honda in 2015,” Jolien said. “It was the right time to take the next step in my career to develop myself further next year.

“Also the fact that Wiggle Honda supports my track ambitions is very important to me as my goal is the omnium in the 2016 Rio Olympics,” she added. “I hope to learn from the other very talented riders in the team and I’m convinced that we can go for the victory in every kind of race with this strong team. I’m extremely motivated for 2015 to defend the Wiggle Honda colours.”

Along with her Belgian title, Jolien’s road victories in 2014 included the Diamond Tour, two stages of the BeNe Ladies Tour and a stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, along with numerous important podium places.

“Jolien was one of the very first athletes I approached for 2015, she was someone I really wanted to sign at the end of 2013 and had to wait another season,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore. “Jolien had a very successful year with Lotto Belisol so I can imagine it was a very difficult decision to let go of her strong bond there.

“We have a lot prove to Jolien, and we’re motivated to ensure she’s in the right place to continue consolidating her reputation as one of the fastest sprinters in the world.”

Audrey Cordon-Ragot is part of the new generation of French riders that is rising to the top of women’s sport, and played a crucial role in the World Championship victory of compatriot Pauline Ferrand-Prevot in Ponferrada, Spain, last month. It is this kind of selfless devotion to her teammates that will make Audrey an indispensable member of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling in 2015.

“I can’t wait to ride my first training with my new kit,” she said. “It’s an honour to fight for Wiggle Honda next season, the team looks professional and with a good atmosphere, which is for me the most important criterion to choose a team.

“I also wanted to stay next to Elisa Longo Borghini, we had a really good feeling together this season and I will continue my role of friend and domestique with her!” Cordon-Ragot added. “I’m looking forward to working with everybody, with my new stuff and staff, and I thank Rochelle for giving me my chance.”

As well as working hard for others, the 25-year-old from Pontivy, in the Breton department of Morbihan, took several important victories in 2014, including a stage of the Route de France, a stage of the Tour de Bretagne, and the Coupe de France races GP Plumelec-Morbihan and Classic Poitou-Charentes.

“France is a very important country for our major partners and we’d been watching Audrey closely for a couple of years,” Gilmore said “She’s certainly done enough this year to prove she’s an amazing talent and if nurtured correctly – we believe she’s capable of winning the big races. Audrey will play a key role in 2015 as a super domestique for our leaders, being very reliable on all types of terrains; flat, classic and mountainous races.

“We’re excited about Audrey’s capabilities.”

Jolien and Audrey are the fifth and sixth members of the 2015 Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling line up to be confirmed, along with Olympic Champion Dani King, Italian Time Trial Champion Elisa Longo Borghini, two-time Giro d’Italia winner Mara Abbott and up-and-coming British rider Anna Christian.

The black and orange team will be directed by Dutchman Egon van Kessel, one of the most experienced and respected Directeur Sportifs in the women’s peloton.

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Egon Van Kessel Joins Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling As Directeur Sportif

Ben Atkins : October 10, 2014 5:23 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is pleased and proud to announce that Egon van Kessel has joined the team as Directeur Sportif. The Dutchman, who was a professional rider in the late 1970s, is one of the most experienced coaches in cycling, having worked with many of the biggest names, and biggest teams, in the women’s sport.

“I’m very pleased to announce our head Directeur Sportif and his core lead staff,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore. “Egon has had a very impressive history, working with Women in Cycling.

“He has a reputation as a master tactician and bringing a group of talented individuals together, to create an extremely competitive team atmosphere,” Gilmore continued. “Wiggle Honda is looking very strong on paper for 2015 and we’re hoping that Egon and his staff can prepare our athletes, utilising their individual strengths to unite as a team and hopefully reach all of our performance targets in 2015.”

Egon van Kessel is best known in women’s cycling for his leadership of the all-powerful Cervélo TestTeam in 2010, which finished the season as the World Number One. The Dutchman feels confident that he can be as successful again with his new team.

 “Wiggle Honda is a team on the same level as Cervélo four years ago and it is very attractive for me to work with this Team and try to be the most successful women’s team for 2015,” said van Kessel. Wiggle Honda has the riders and structure to reach this goal.

“In the past I worked mostly for men’s teams but also 14 years as a national coach for the Netherlands and three successful years with the women; elite and junior,” van Kessel explained. “In that period I had Marianne Vos as a junior women rider in my national team and Leontien van Moorsel as an elite rider. Both different people; both with big results and very special to work with.

“I could use the experience with two of the best riders in recent years in women’s cycling when I worked for Cervélo, and I am sure I will again next season for Wiggle Honda,” he added. “Also my experience, working with Cervélo four years ago, can be very useful for our team I am sure.”

Confirmed in the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for 2015 so far are Olympic Champion Dani King, Italian Time Trial Champion Elisa Longo Borghini, two-time Giro d’Italia winner Mara Abbott and rising British star Anna Christian. Stay tuned for further announcements as the team builds towards its third season at the top of women’s cycling.

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Mara Abbott and Anna Christian sign for Wiggle Honda in 2015

Ben Atkins : October 6, 2014 6:28 pm : News

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is delighted to announce that Mara Abbott and Anna Christian have both signed a contract to join the team in 2015. Both riders were selected to ride for their countries in last month’s World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, and will add to the strength of the black and orange team, as well as maintaining its commitment to develop young talent.

28-year-old Mara Abbott, from Boulder, Colorado, is a two-time US National Champion, and the winner of the Giro d’Italia – the toughest and most prestigious stage race in women’s cycling – in 2010 and 2013. Other notable results include four overall victories of the Tour of the Gila, in the US, with 2014 seeing her take that fourth Gila and the Vuelta a El Salvador.

“I am so excited to ride a full season in Europe next year, and Wiggle Honda is offering me the perfect set up to do that,” Abbott said. “I am absolutely thrilled by the line-up of teammates, and the chance to work with a rider as strong and proven as Elisa Longo Borghini is going to be really amazing.

“I have been so impressed by the organisation and attention to personal desires and strengths of riders already,” Abbott added. “I know this is going to be a team I will be very proud to represent and I can’t wait for the season to begin!”

Mara’s World Championship road race unfortunately ended with the big crash that hit the peloton midway through the second of seven laps. Thankfully, however, despite leaving the course by ambulance, she suffered no serious injuries and will be ready to start 2015 in the black and orange jersey.

“I was really excited when Mara expressed that she wanted to join Wiggle Honda,” said the team’s Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore. “A pure climber is something Wiggle Honda has missed until now and the addition of Mara, in combination with Elisa Longo Borghini means that we can now target winning races like the Giro d’Italia Femminile. Wiggle Honda has some very important Italian partners like: Colnago, Campagnolo, Fizik, Deda & Vittoria so winning a race like the Giro would be a lovely way to thank our committed partners.

“Mara has won the Giro d’Italia twice and has a degree in economics – along with her friendly smile she will bring a world of knowledge to the team,” Gilmore added. “Wiggle Honda are proud to bring her Grand Tour legs into the team!”

Anna Christian is one of the most exciting young British talents, having been selected to ride for her native Isle of Man in the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Scotland, this year. The 19-year-old rode the time trial and road race, and finished in the top-20 in both.

“I’m really proud and excited to have the opportunity to ride for such a high profile team as Wiggle Honda. It will be great to work alongside Rochelle as well, who has experienced and achieved so much at the top end of the sport and in the women’s peloton. I know the team’s set up and environment is going to help me achieve my ambitions and dreams. I’m already excited to get stuck into racing for the team in 2015!”

Performances like those in Glasgow 2014 earned Anna a place in Great Britain’s World Championship team in Ponferrada, in her very first year in the Elite category. Anna’s attacks and accelerations in the last 30km of the race, in support of team captain Lizzie Armitstead, marked the beginning of what was to become an aggressive finale.

“Anna caught my eye when I was commentating the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July,” Gilmore said. “She kept coming into vision, even on the toughest parts of the circuit which meant she was always well positioned and extremely strong.

“Next, I was commentating the World Championships and witnessed Anna Christian being the rider that really got the race started, again on the toughest parts of the World Championship circuit…” Gilmore added. “I just had to have her, she’ll be a huge success and I’m honoured be a part of her journey in the early stages of her career.”

With the inclusion of Mara and Anna, alongside Dani King and Elisa Longo Borghini, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling has confirmed four of its riders for 2014. Stay tuned for further announcements in the coming weeks.

 

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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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