Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Linda Villumsen won the Commonwealth Games Individual Time Trial Gold Medal at Glasgow 2014, to go one better than her Silver Medal in Delhi four years ago. Setting off last in the all-black colours of New Zealand, and despite worsening rain, the five-time World Championship Medallist, completed the 29.6km course in a time of 42 minutes, 25.46 seconds, to beat British champion Emma Pooley of England by 6.03 seconds. Katrin Garfoot of Australia finished in the Bronze Medal position 48.45 seconds back.
“I’m so happy about today, it could not have been more perfect,” Villumsen said after receiving her Gold Medal. “This is a massive confidence boost for me after years of heartache.”
Garfoot set the time to beat at the first checkpoint after 6.4km but, as Pooley went through almost half a minute quicker with Villumsen just 1.35 seconds behind the former World Champion, it was clear that the fight for Gold would be between the two big favourites.
Pooley still led by 1.3 seconds at the 17.1km check, and had opened this up to 8.43 seconds after 23.2km. A super-fast performance on the final, technical section back into Glasgow from Villumsen, however, saw the Danish-born New Zealander take almost 14.5 seconds back from the English rider to cross the line in first place.
“I want to enjoy the moment before thinking about other significant targets for the year,” Villumsen added. “But I’m excited to get going again and for the road race on Sunday.”
Consistently passing the checkpoints only slightly slower than the times set by Garfoot, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker of Wales just missed out on her third medal of Glasgow 2014, but finished in seventh place.
1. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)
2. Emma Pooley (England)
3. Katrin Garfoot (Australia)
7. Elinor Barker (Wales)
12. Amy Roberts (Wales)
13. Joanna Rowsell (England)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s two German riders, Charlotte Becker and Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier, are excited for the return of the UCI Women’s World Cup to their nation, with the Sparkassen Giro, in Bochum, on Sunday. This will be the first race in the series to take place in Germany since the 2009 edition of the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, as German cycle sport continues its revival.
The black and orange team will be built around former two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, but both German riders expect to get their chance in front of a home crowd.
“Bochum is something special for me for some reasons,” said Becker. “First it is in Germany, and because I missed the Thüringen Rundfahrt this year I am doubly motivated for this!
“And then it is so close to my hometown of Waltrop,” she continued. “I have done this race so often and my family is always around there. AND it is a World Cup this year which is so cool. The last World Cup in Germany was the one in Nürnberg, which is already five years ago. It’s good to see that women’s cycling is making a step up again in Germany!
“I am not sure about the lap because they had quite a few different laps in the past,” Becker explained. “The lap from last year was a little bit too easy but I think also the bunch in a World Cup race is stronger and I think that for even on that course it can be painful and the bunch could split. It is right that there was usually a bunch sprint, but also a few times a breakaway… so everything is possible!”
“We have more cards to play,” Becker concluded. “With Gio we have one of the world best sprinters and we have the riders who could go in a breakaway. For myself, I feel good and fit at the moment, and I have a lot of motivation.”
Schnitzmeier, who finished second in the Sparkassen Giro’s 2012 edition, is also local to the race and looks forward to performing in such a big event in front of her home crowd. The 24-year-old Dortmunder will be giving her all for her teammates, as usual, and hopes to put on a good show.
“I think for me and Lotte its really nice to race in Germany,” said Schnitzmeier. “For me its kind of my home race because its just 15km from Dortmund where I live. It means a lot to me because heaps of friends and family will come to watch.”
“Its most important the team will get the best result and with Gio our chance is really big to finish with a win,” she continued. “I think for us its important to cover moves and try to not have the pressure on us, if Lotte can get in a break I think she can take that chance to finish it of, but if it comes to a sprint it will be all for Gio and I really hope we can all find each other and go for the win.
“Personally I just want to show the people a good race, so that they go home and say that was nice and awesome to watch,” Schnitzmeier added. “Cycling was really big here in the past and they should get the feeling back how awesome it is. Even more how awesome women’s cycling is!”
Alongside Bronzini and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s two German riders will be Italian track specialist Beatrice Bartelloni and former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin. The team will be completed by last year’s Sparkassen Giro mountains classification winner, Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara, for whom it will be almost a home race since she bases herself in Germany during the season.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for the Sparkassen Giro (3rd August 2014)
Beatrice Bartelloni (Italy)
Charlotte Becker (Germany)
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan)
Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier (Germany)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Laura Trott and Elinor Barker took the Gold and Silver Medals in the Commonwealth Games Points Race, on the boards of Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, in the tightest possible finish to the 25km race. Both riders – riding for England and Wales respectively – finished tied on 37 points but, as Trott finished higher than Barker in the final sprint, the English rider was awarded the victory.
“I can’t believe it,” she told BBC Radio 5 live. “I felt so bad at times in that race. I’m not even 100%, I’ve not eaten properly for the last two days and I’ve been living off porridge. I’m not really a porridge fan.
“It’s right up there with the Olympics for me after the disappointment of the last two days. To pull it off at the end was great.
“[Elinor] is unbelievable,” Trott added, paying tribute to her Welsh teammate. “She’s not even a sprinter so normally she’d be going for the lap, but that shows what form she’s in. She got third in the [Scratch Race] sprint yesterday and then she almost won that in the sprint!”
Trott was the first of the home nations riders to take points, as she finished fourth on the first sprint lap, but Barker moved ahead of the double Olympic Champion with first place in the second. The rest of the race was to see the two Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders exchange the lead, as the challenge came from the strong teams of Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The two riders – along with English Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Dani King – were among the eight riders that managed to gain a lap on the rest of the field in the course of the race. This gave them 20 points each, moving them clear of the others, but the sprints for points were to prove decisive between them.
Barker took five points in the ninth and penultimate sprint, giving her a one point lead over Trott, which meant that the final dash for the line was to provide decisive. Local rider Katie Archibald was the first over the line, to take the bronze for Scotland, but a tight sprint between Trott and Barker saw the English woman take three points to the Welshwoman’s two.
The tie in the two riders’ scores meant that those final sprint positions were to prove crucial, which meant that Trott took Gold and Barker Silver; the Welsh rider’s second medal of Glasgow 2014, after her Bronze Medal in yesterday’s Scratch Race.
1. Laura Trott (England)
2. Elinor Barker (Wales)
3. Katie Archibald (Scotland)
7. Dani King (England)
15. Amy Roberts (Wales)
17. Joanna Rowsell (England)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker took the Bronze Medal in the Commonwealth Games Scratch Race on the boards of Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The 19-year-old, riding in the red, white and green colours of Wales, won a close sprint for third place behind Australian pair Nettie Edmondson and Amy Cure, just beating English Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Dani King to the line.
“I think my positioning wasn’t perfect,” Barker told BBC Sport. “I got properly boxed in by [English Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Laura Trott] and I thought – with the kick that she’s got – I’m never going to get out of this. I’ve got no idea how, I just kind of weaved my way through the front and if I hadn’t done that then maybe in the final few metres I could have gone a bit better.
“But I’m so happy with that,” Barker added. “I came so close to not medalling at all that I celebrated like I’d won it at the end, I was just very happy with it.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” Barker said of the capacity crowd. “There’s a whole wall of Welsh flags over there which is unreal to see. Personally, for me, it’s a really proud moment because my parents are here and they never, ever get to watch me race live and be here, so I’m very proud today.”
The ten kilometre Scratch Race, over 40 laps of the track, is simply won by the first rider over the line. Despite a quiet first half, a series of attacks threatened to split the 23-strong peloton, but the bunch was all together as it entered the final laps.
Like the previous day’s Individual Pursuit, all five of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s British riders were in action, with England’s King, Trott and Joanna Rowsell, and Wales’ Barker and Amy Roberts all riding aggressively at the front. It was the Australians that led the race into the last lap, however, but – despite being trapped at the bottom of the track – Barker was almost able to outsprint Cure as she beat King to the line.
1. Annette Edmondson (Australia)
2. Amy Cure (Australia)
3. Elinor Barker (Wales)
4. Dani King (England)
11. Laura Trott (England)
13. Amy Roberts (Wales)
19. Joanna Rowsell (England)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will start Sunday’s La Course by Le Tour de France with six riders aiming for victory in the prestigious event. The 89km race will consist of 13 laps of the iconic 7.5km Paris circuit, traditionally ridden by the men’s peloton on the final day of the Tour, and will finish on the French capital’s beautiful Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
With the race likely to finish in a sprint – just as the men’s race almost always does – the black and orange team will be led by former two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini. The Italian sprinter took victory in the second stage of the Giro Rosa earlier this month, as well as two second places, and confirmed her form by taking the Points Race in last week’s Sei-Giorni delle Rose, in Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Italy.
“I feel good, I think I have good shape after the Giro, and having won a race on the track last week,” Bronzini said. “It is a really good chance for us so I think everyone will be a bit nervous, trying to do the maximum to win.”
The famous Champs-Élysées cobblestones will present challenges to many in the peloton, which is something that Bronzini herself is only too aware of.
“It’s not a typical finish that I like, because there are pavé at the end,” she said. “To win on the cobbles you need to be quite heavy on the bike and I’m one of the lightest sprinters in the bunch! If we finish in a bunch sprint it will be difficult for me to win against the big sprinters but I will try my maximum.”
With the race taking place on the same circuit to be used by the men’s peloton later in the day, including riding around the Arc de Triomphe for only the second time in history, Bronzini knows what an opportunity the race provides to showcase the women’s peloton to the world.
“For us it is a really good experience and I hope that the girls put on a good show; that is the most important thing,” said the former World Champion. “If the people that are there think that women’s cycling can be a good show then maybe we can have another opportunity to have stages at the Tour de France.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Managing Director Rochelle Gilmore will be watching the race from the commentary box, where she will be working alongside for British broadcaster ITV4.
“The significance of this event is incomprehensible,” she said. “It will not be until our athletes line up on the Champs-Élysées that they realise the magnitude of this Tour de France event.
“This is history in the making,” Gilmore added, “and words can not describe how proud I am that Wiggle Honda will line up for the first ever women’s Tour de France event, La Course. It’s the most exciting and satisfying moment I’ve experienced in all my years involved in our beautiful sport.”
Bronzini will be supported in the race by Italian compatriot Beatrice Bartelloni, fresh from her Bronze Medal performance in the European Track Championships, German Charlotte Becker (pictured, above), Swede Emilia Fahlin and New Zealand Criterium Champion Emily Collins.
The race will also see the debut of St Kitts and Nevis rider Kathryn Bertine (pictured, below), whose tireless campaigning with groups like Le Tour Entier helped lead to Tour organiser ASO staging La Course for the very first time.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling line up for La Course by Le Tour de France (Paris, 27th July)
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
Beatrice Bartelloni (Italy)
Charlotte Becker (Germany)
Kathryn Bertine (St Kitts & Nevis)
Emily Collins (New Zealand)
Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted to her third podium finish of the 2014 Giro d’Italia Femminile with second place in the seventh stage, between Aprica and Chiavenna. The former two-time road World Champion, who won stage two of the ten-day race, was beaten to the line on the sharply rising finishing straight by current rainbow jersey and race leader Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) but managed to hold off Swedish champion Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS).
“I’m pretty happy with that because I wasn’t sure if I would be there at the finish,” Bronzini said. “The race started on fire at the bottom of a climb – and the start was given at the bottom of the climb – but it was a long climb and I managed to get back on on the descent.
“Then on the second climb I was a little bit back, but the break of seven riders got away – including Linda Villumsen – and Charlotte Becker got me back in to the bunch.”
“The other teams had to pull, because they had missed the break, which was perfect for us,” Bronzini explained. “After the break was caught a lot of riders tried to get away but we were all together in the final kilometre and there was a good lead out from [Orica-AIS] and [Specialized-lululemon].
“The final was a little bit technical, and a little bit uphill. I managed to get onto Vos’ wheel, but I was a bit closed in and couldn’t start my sprint when I wanted. Vos started her sprint but I had to wait, and I couldn’t catch her.”
The fast, 91.8km stage began immediately with the second category climb to Teglio, but the peloton stayed together for most of the first half. A seven-rider group, including Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Villumsen, escaped soon afterwards, allowing the rest of the black and orange team to keep Bronzini safe in the bunch.
The break was caught inside the final 20km, with Bronzini taking her second second place of the Giro Rosa, to add to her stage victory.
“I’m happy with my race,” the Italian said. “Whenever the stages ended in a sprint I was always on the podium and I won one. I’m really happy. Tomorrow I will do what I can for Linda and Mayuko [Hagiwara] in the big climbs, but then I think I will be in the gruppetto!”
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini and Amy Roberts both scored second places today, in the fifth stage of the Giro Rosa and the Great Britain National Criterium Championships. Former two-time road World Champion Bronzini beat Shelley Olds (Alé-Cipollini) in the race for second place behind current rainbow jersey and Giro leader Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv). Roberts, as the only representative of the black and orange team in Hull, East Yorkshire, managed to escape the bunch on the final lap in pursuit of lone leader Eileen Roe (Starley Primal) but was just unable to catch the Scottish rider.
“Today’s stage was very fast,” Bronzini said of the 118km Giro Rosa stage along the Adriatic coast between Jesi and Cesenatico. “We averaged around 45kph. There were a lot of breaks, but we were a big bunch at the end.
“There was only one climb, but at the bottom I punctured my back wheel, but Emilia [Fahlin] waited and brought me back to the bunch again,” Bronzini explained. “Then when I was back in the bunch in the middle of the climb Linda [Villumsen] brought me up to the front again.”
“At the end Lotte [Becker] brought me up to Vos’ wheel, but I was little bit upset in the final because it was different to what it said in the road book,” Bronzini continued. They said that the last corner was at 400 to go, so I got myself into third position and was ready for my sprint. When I saw that it was longer I was in the front too early. It meant that I started my sprint with 300 to go, but Vos started her sprint at 200 to go, and I was too long in the wind.
“Maybe it didn’t change anything though,” Bronzini conceded. “Maybe Vos would have won anyway. I was a little bit upset, but I can’t change anything.”
Bronzini’s second place was Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s third podium of the Giro Rosa so far, after her own victory on stage two and Japanese champion Mayuko Hagiwara’s third place on the uphill finish of stage three.
Meanwhile, in Hull, Roberts was up against the best of the UK’s domestic teams, and could be seen chasing down several attacks on the 1.1km city centre course. Despite a powerful final lap chase, the 19-year-old was just unable to chase down Roe’s winning move.
“It was pretty hard,” said Roberts. “Matrix-Vulpine had seven riders so you had to watch everything in case it stuck, but I left it a bit late at the end and when Eileen went it was a bit annoying. But I’m pretty happy with the Silver medal, considering I was on my own.”
Result Giro Rosa stage 5
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Shelley Olds (Alé-Cipollini)
Result British Criterium Championships
1. Eileen Roe (Starley-Primal)
2. Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Charline Joiner (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International)
GB National Crit Photo Credit: British Cycling
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara took the first ever podium spot for a Japanese rider in the Giro d’Italia Femminile as she took third place in the third stage, between Caserta and the uphill finish at San Donato Val di Comino. Clad in her white and red national champion’s colours, Hagiwara managed to bridge across to the stage’s breakaway group just before the final climb to the finish and – despite that considerable effort – was able to take third place just 16 seconds behind the stage winner.
Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) won the stage, having been part of the long breakaway, with fellow fugitive Elena Berlato (Alé-Cipollini) taking second.
“Today was a good day for our team,” said the ever-modest Hagiwara. “Our plan was that everyone would have their opportunity before the climb, and could try something to go hard. In the middle of the race the break went with Giorgia [Bronzini] and I stayed in the bunch.
“It was a very big result for me today,” she added. “I’m very happy and I appreciate the help from all of my teammates.”
With the peloton having stayed together for the first hour of the 125km stage, a group of 15 riders managed to break clear after 45km. Included in the break was Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s stage two winner Bronzini, who had vowed to work for her teammates on today’s hilly stage following yesterday’s stunning victory.
“That was the tactic today,” Bronzini explained. “To put somebody in the break, and then for Mayuko to try something. Mayuko is in good shape and we wanted to give her a chance to do something. We are really, really proud of her because we didn’t know if the pressure on her shoulders would be good or not, but now we know that if we give her the responsibility she is able to do something.
“She was really, really amazing today.”
With the Italian former two-time road World Champion up the road, Hagiwara was able to bide her time in the peloton and pick her moment to strike.
“With 10km to go we caught Giorgia’s group and I tried to attack because I was able to do nothing today,” Hagiwara explained. “I wanted to test to see if I was good and I joined up with the front group. The other riders didn’t work so much, so I tried some attacks, but then just rode tempo because if we were caught by the bunch then we have some strong riders behind.
“I just rode tempo, but in the last 500 metres Annemiek attacked and I couldn’t follow, but I could catch the third rider [Doris Schweizer] from Astana-BePink, and I could finish third.”
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv)
2. Elena Berlato (Alé-Cipollini) @ 10s
3. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) @ 16s
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini won today’s second stage of the Giro d’Italia Femminile in Frattamaggiore, in the province of Naples, in a technical bunch sprint. The former two-tome road World Champion managed to outpace current rainbow jersey and race leader Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) at the end of the 120km stage, with Shelley Olds (Alé-Cipollini) third.
“With a few kilometres to go the girls were all around me, and I asked them to put me on Vos’ wheel, because that’s where I wanted to be,” Bronzini explained. “The finish was technical and dangerous, so it wasn’t good for a lead out, so I asked them to bring me to her wheel, and I just tried to follow her and to beat her – and I did!”
The stage, based on six laps of a mostly flat 20km circuit, saw a lone attack from RusVelo’s Alexandra Burchenkova at just after halfway. The Russian rider managed to get more than a minute clear of the peloton, but the teams of the sprinters managed to keep her under control and pull her back in the final lap. Michela Fanini’s Valentina Bastianelli then tried to get away in the final kilometres, but her attack was also doomed as Bronzini and the other sprinters were not to be denied.
“The girls did amazing work all day,” Bronzini said of her Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates. “They tried to protect me, to stay in front. The team worked so well, and I’m really proud of that. I thank the girls, and the staff, and the victory is for the team. I know that [team manager] Rochelle Gilmore is behind us. She’s not here, but she is with us, and I want to thank her for the amazing job she does behind us.
“The problem today was to ride safe, because there were big holes in the road for the whole lap. But the lap was nervous, and I like that kind of race. It was set alight in the middle when Burchenkova got away, but she was chased down before the finish.”
The stage victory was Bronzini’s career sixth at the Giro Rosa, and the second straight year she has won stage two. With a hillier finish to tomorrow’s third stage – between Caserta and San Donato Val di Comino – suiting the climbers, Bronzini will be looking to support her teammate, Japanese champion Mayuko Hagiwara.
“Tomorrow’s stage will finish on a climb, so it won’t be easy for me to be up there, but we have the ‘Mayuko climber,’ and we hope she can take her chance,” she smiled.
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
3. Shelley Olds (Alé-Cipollini)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling heads into the 25th edition of the Giro d’Italia Femminile – the Giro Rosa – with the aim of at least matching last year’s stage victory from former two-time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini. The race gets underway with a 2.05km prologue time trial on the cobbled streets of Caserta, near Naples, this evening, and will finish on the iconic Madonna del Ghisallo on Sunday, the 13th of July, after nine stages.
“The Giro is an important race for Wiggle Honda due to having many loyal and dedicated Italian sponsors,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling managing director Rochelle Gilmore. “Our athletes are all in great condition and very much looking forward to supporting our Italian sprinter, Giorgia Bronzini in her quest for another stage win. All our athletes have the condition to pull off a stage win so it will be an exciting race to follow!”
With such a short prologue, and with time bonuses at each stage finish and intermediate sprint, five-time stage winner Bronzini has one eye on the possibility of her first ever pink jersey.
“I will try to do my maximum in the prologue,” Bronzini said. “It’s not really my sort of race, but if the gap is not so much then maybe tomorrow I can think about the GC.”
With several of the race’s nine stages likely to finish in bunch sprints, Bronzini is looking to take every opportunity possible to add to her tally of five Giro stage wins. When the peloton hits the mountains in the north of Italy towards the end of the race, however, she will be putting her considerable power to the service of her teammates.
“In the first half of the Giro every stage can be good for me,” she said. “I have no favourite stage that I will say ‘I will give everything for that,’ but I will give all my power in the first stages, and after that I would like to be good for helping Linda [Villumsen] and Mayuko [Hagiwara] in the GC. I won’t need to think about saving my energy in the last stages, so I will give my maximum to help the girls.
“For the first half of the Giro I will be looking for results, and after that I will be there to help the team,” Bronzini added.
Having ridden strongly in her debut in the Giro, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara is looking forward to a second appearance at the race, which will give her the opportunity to show off her new Japanese Champion’s jersey in both the opening prologue and the nine road stages.
“I am really happy to race the Giro with this team in my new national jersey,” said Hagiwara. “I want do all my best for the team to take a big win in the Giro because our team has some very strong riders.
“We will all be out to get a good result in the Giro,” she added. “I want to ride well in the mountains.”
Bronzini and Hagiwara will be accompanied in the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team by New Zealanders Linda Villumsen and Emily Collins, Australian Peta Mullens, former Swedish champion Emilia Fahlin and German Tour of Zhoushan Island winner Charlotte Becker.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Team for the Giro Rosa
Charlotte Becker (Germany), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Emily Collins (New Zealand), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Peta Mullens (Australia), Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)