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)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is delighted to announce that Kathryn Bertine, the co-founder of Le Tour Entier – which was instrumental in persuading race organiser ASO to host the women’s La Course by Le Tour de France – will ride the prestigious event in the team’s black and orange jersey on the 27th of July. La Course will take place on the streets of Paris, and finish on the grand Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in the afternoon before the arrival of the Tour’s final stage.
Bertine founded Le Tour Entier along with World Champion Marianne Vos, 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Emma Pooley and Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington. Their online petition, urging ASO to organise a women’s Tour alongside the men’s, attracted 97,000 signatures.
As part of her campaign to secure more recognition and support for women’s racing, Bertine has directed the documentary film “Half the Road,” which is currently showing in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom.
“Kathryn was instrumental in creating the La Course race and it simply wouldn’t be right for her not to race in this potentially historic event,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling owner and manager Rochelle Gilmore. “La Course is one of 2014’s most important races in shifting the sport to where it deserves to be and we’re delighted to make her dream of racing it come true.”
Bertine is the reigning Caribbean champion and three time St Kitts and Nevis national champion, and has represented her country at numerous World Championships. She joins Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s British road champion Laura Trott, Japanese road and time trial champion Mayuko Hagiwara, Australian XCE mountainbike champion Peta Mullens and New Zealand criterium champion Emily Collins.
“I am over the moon to be given this incredible opportunity by Rochelle, it is the highlight of my cycling career,” said Bertine. “While ASO might not be able to create a 3-week event in year one, we see La Course as a vital stepping stone in changing both the public’s perceptions of, and the outdated regulations governing, women’s professional cycling.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Laura Trott and Mayuko Hagiwara took victory in the Great Britain and Japanese Road Race Championships in Abergavenny, Wales, and Hachimantai, northern Japan, respectively. This was a first Elite road title for reigning under-23 champion Trott, while it was a fourth for Hagiwara, to add to her six Time Trial titles, and is now current Japanese Champion in both disciplines.
Trott finished at the head of a Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling one-two in the Great Britain Championships, as she and Dani King outsprinted Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) in the centre of Abergavenny. The leading trio had been part of an eight-rider selection that had broken clear of the peloton on the course’s 72km loop. Defending champion Armitstead attacked alone during the second of four 7.2km finishing circuits, but was prevented from opening a decisive lead and caught on the final lap.
Trott also retained her under-23 title while, having done so much work to chase down Armitstead, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker’s eighth place was good enough to take the under-23 Bronze Medal.
“I was just over the moon when I crossed the line,” said Trott. “I was so disappointed after the time trial, I thought I had good form, but the time didn’t really reflect the form I thought I had, so to come here and win this, I’m just so pleased.
“It’s just unbelievable. It’s up there with a World title,” the double Olympic champion added. “It’s been such a roller coaster recently and I’ve been feeling a bit down, but to come and win this… when I crossed the line I was just so happy, and I think it takes only one race like this to say ‘yeah, I am still there, I am still good enough.’”
With Trott, King, Barker and Armitstead in the leading group were 2010 and 2012 champions Emma Pooley (Lotto-Belisol) and Sharon Laws (UnitedHealthcare), and Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International duo Katie Archibald and Dame Sarah Storey. Armitstead’s attack, along with the strength of the chase, saw the lead group down to just five – with Pooley and Laws – as they entered the finishing straight.
“To be honest, on the first climb after about 16km, I just thought Lizzie was in a class of her own,” Trott admitted. “She just floated up the hill and I just thought it was really not going to go down well. My legs were absolutely killing me, but I just got stuck in and hoped it would pay off by the end.
“Jo [Rowsell] and Amy [Roberts] did so much early on,” Trott added. “Jo attacked three times to start with; Lizzie was straight on them, but it was a case of wearing her down.
“When we hit the finishing lap Emma Pooley was asking me to work, but I was going flat out just to hang on the back. I just stuck in for as long as I could.
“At the finish Lizzie didn’t hug the barrier enough and I saw a gap on the left hand side and just went for it. Dani had led it out perfectly, she’d strung it completely out, so I knew that if I could get in front then nobody was going to get round me.”
Trott hit the front in the final hundred metres, and held on all the way to the line. King’s momentum also saw the Olympic track champion overcome Armitstead, and take the Silver Medal.
“I couldn’t celebrate really because of the right hand corner after the line, but I just didn’t really know how to react,” Trott concluded. “I was just so happy and, when Dan crossed the line and said she got Silver, I was over the moon.”
“It was really good,” echoed King. “I just felt really good today. I don’t know what happened today, it just all came together. We had a plan, we stuck to it, and it worked. So yeah, I’m really pleased. We can’t really ask for more than a Wiggle Honda one-two.
“It was obviously good to have the numbers,” she continued, referring to Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s three-rider presence in the decisive break. “We were all rolling through as much as we could. Elinor attacked, which was really good because it forced the others to chase.
“I rode this course in 2009, so I knew that you’re not going to get around many people going into the last 500 metres,” King added. “So I led it out; Lizzie went quite early and Laura managed to come around, and I managed to get back around Lizzie, so it was perfect really.”
A hilly circuit in Japan saw the field quickly reduced to just the big names in the race, with Hagiwara eventually breaking clear with defending champion Eri Yonamine (Saxo Bank FX securities). The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider was too strong on the final climb to the line, however, and finished 13 seconds ahead of Yonamine to reclaim her “Hinomaru” jersey.
“Fortunately I was able to win the road race today too,” Hagiwara said. “I’m very happy that I’m able to bring the Japanese national champion’s jersey back to the team.
“I’m really appreciative of everything Wiggle Honda have done for me,” she added, “and I can’t wait to wear my new jersey next week at the Giro d’Italia.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Emilia Fahlin was sadly unable to defend her Swedish national title against World number one Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), but finished fourth in a cold, wet, hilly race in Götene-Kinnekulle. Charlotte Becker and Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier were both in action in the German Championships in Baunatal. Schnitzmeier was away in a three-rider breakaway in the first half of the race, allowing Becker to stay safe in the peloton, but former champion Becker was outsprinted in the race for a second bronze medal behind Specialized-lululemon duo Lisa Brennauer and Trixi Worrack.
GB Nationals Photo Credit: Huw Evans Agency
Result GB National Championships
1. Laura Trott (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Dani King (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
8. Elinor Barker (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
16. Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
17. Joanna Rowsell (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
Result Japanese National Championships
1. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Eri Yonamine (Saxo Bank FX securities)
3. Yumiko Goda (Waseda)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara retook her title in the Japanese National Time Trial Championships, in Hachimantai, in the northeast of Honshu Island, to claim an incredible sixth victory in the race against the clock. The 27-year-old completed the 26.8km course in a time of 39 minutes and four seconds, to beat 2013 champion Eri Yonamine (Saxo Bank FX securities) by 51 seconds. Minami Uwano (Kanoya Sporting) finished another two minutes and two seconds back to take the bronze medal.
“I am very happy to win the national time trial,” Hagiwara said. “I could ride a good tempo in the race, so I was able to enjoy it.
“I really appreciate all the support from my family and friends,” she added. “Japan Colnago lent me a K.Zero time trial bike, with a Campagnolo disk wheel, and Team Nippo – a Japanese men’s Continental team – is helping me while I’m at the nationals.”
“I am alone in Japan but I can race without problems,” Hagiwara continued. “As I know I have a good team, family and friends in Europe which gives me a lot of energy.
“I will now keep going hard for win the national road race,” she concluded. “I want good race on Sunday, and I hope all my teammates can do good a race in each of their nationals.”
Sunday’s road race offers Hagiwara the chance to take back the title that she held in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and add an incredible tenth Japanese title to her collection.
“I’m quite happy with my third place,” Becker said. “I was almost sure before that Lisa is not really beatable at the moment, and also Trixi is in a good shape. I really wanted a medal and I have it now, so thats fine.
“Maybe I can get another one in the road race tomorrow but they say rain and I hope we are lucky that it stays dry,” Becker added. “Tomorrow the course is the same except a little 3km extra loop in the lap with a short steep hill. For a TT the course today was not easy. It was a pretty technical loop with ups and downs, and no really flat part. My legs were good and I think thats a good sign for tomorrow.”
Result Japanese TT Championships
1. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 39’04”
2. Eri Yonamine (Saxo Bank FX securities) 39’55”
3. Minami Uwano (Kanoya Sporting) 41’57”
Result German TT Championships
1. Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon)
2. Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon)
3. Charlotte Becker (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker finished just seconds off the podium in the Great Britain National Time Trial Championships, at Celtic Manor, Newport, South Wales, with a time of 31 minutes and 22 seconds for the hilly, 20.4km (12.2 mile) course. The 19-year-old from nearby Cardiff was just one minute and four seconds slower than former World Champion Emma Pooley (Lotto-Belisol), and just an agonising 13 seconds behind Dame Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) in the bronze medal position.
The silver medal was taken by Storey’s teammate Katie Archibald.
“I’m pretty happy with that,” said former Junior World Time Trial Champion Barker, “although I would have liked to have got on the podium. I’d say that time trialling is one of my favourite events, so it would have been nice to have got on the podium, but I did better than last year; I came seventh last year, and fourth this year, so hopefully I’ll go a little bit better again next year.”
“It was really nice,” Barker said of what was almost a hometown course. “My parents’ house is about a forty-minute ride away, which is perfect really, so I’ve ridden it quite a few times.”
Just five seconds behind Barker was Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s double Olympic champion Laura Trott in a time of 31 minutes, 27 seconds, while defending champion – and fellow Olympic champion – Joanna Rowsell was fifth, another 14 seconds down in 31 minutes, 41 seconds. Olympic champion Dani King was the fourth Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider inside the top ten, in eighth place with a time of 32 minutes, 28 seconds.
“It was a tough course,” said outgoing champion Rowsell. “It’s no secret that, if I was able to design a time trial course, I wouldn’t have designed it with that hill in it! I’m a big girl, I’m not known for my climbing abilities, but I do prefer the short, steep hills, so I wasn’t completely writing myself off. But it was always clear that Emma was the favourite with that sort of hill in it, so I expected her to win.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed not to get a medal, but I’m preparing for the Commonwealth Games,” she added. “I’ve been training on the track for the last six weeks anyway, so this was never the primary target of the season like it was last year.
“I’m disappointed but, at the same time, the person that won was the favourite, and I never counted myself as the favourite,” Rowsell concluded.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Amy Roberts was the first rider to start and, despite having no riders to chase or times to aim at, posted a time of 33 minutes, 19 seconds, which was to hold up until almost half the field had finished.
“I don’t really like going off first, to be honest,” said Roberts. “You don’t really have any benchmark. I guess it doesn’t make any difference, but it’s just nice to know. At least I’ve got it done, I don’t really mind I guess.
“It was so, so hard,” she laughed. I feel sorry for the people that were standing on that last hill, I was going so slowly and making so much noise!
“I didn’t really know what time to aim for, I was just going to go out and go as hard as I could and see what happened.”
In the end, Roberts’ time was good enough to put the 19-year-old Welsh rider in 12th place.
1. Emma Pooley (Lotto Belisol) 30’18”
2. Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) 30’57”
3. Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) 31’09”
4. Elinor Barker (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 31’22”
5. Laura Trott (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 31’27”
6. Joanna Rowsell (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 31’41”
8. Dani King (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 32’28”
12. Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 33’19”
Photo Credit: Huw Evans Agency