Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Peta Mullens won the Australian National Cross Country Elimination (XCE) Championship, in the Gold Rush town of Bright, Victoria as she outsprinted Rowena Fry in the final race. The Gold Medal, and green and gold banded jersey, completed a full set for Mullens, who celebrated her birthday on Saturday, after having taken a Bronze in the Team Relay and Silver in the Cross Country (XCO).
“It’s been a whirlwind of a week really,” Mullens said afterwards. “I was happy to be on the podium in the team relay, but then second place in the XCO hurt me a lot, so to come out on the final day and steal the XCE title was a perfect 26th birthday present!
“In the XCO I knew I had to have a ‘great’ day if I was to beat Olympian and U23 World Cup Champion Rebecca Henderson. Instead I only had a ‘good’ day and I had to settle for second. I was heartbroken to lose the title because it was one of my three focus races on the dirt this year. Now I look ahead to the Commonwealth Games & World Championships even hungrier.”
Despite just missing out on the Cross Country Gold Medal, Mullens was able to bring her road racing experience to bear in the Elimination event, to take her fifth Green and Gold jersey across all mountainbike disciplines.
“Bouncing back from a disappointing loss wasn’t easy but I had to remind myself there was another National Title up for grabs and I was determined not to leave Australia without some stripes!” Mullens laughed. “XCE wasn’t my focus coming into these Championships but the course suited me & I knew the form was there. After a seeded run and a win in the semis I was quietly confident with my choice of tactics. The field is whittled to four for the final and I was happy to sit back in third and take a run at them on the tarmac finish straight. I got the early jump and it all came down to the throw to the line – lucky I’ve had plenty of practice doing that!
“I’m stoked to be a five time National Champion across five different cycling disciplines, but one day I need to break the moz because I’m running out of options!”
Having completed her domestic mountainbike season, Mullens will now be joining her Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates on the European roads, along with partner and team mechanic Jarrod Moroni.
“There’s no time for celebrations,” said Mullens. “Tomorrow Jarrod and I fly to Europe and I change caps again, back to the tarmac and a giggling bunch of ‘Wigglettes,’ which I’m really excited about. The girls have been sending me messages of support through the weekend so I can’t wait to show off my flash new jersey!”
Photo credit: Russell Baker
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Swedish champion Emilia Fahlin took ninth place in a bunch sprint from a much-reduced peloton at the end of Le Samyn in Dour, southern Belgium. The 111.6km race saw several riders try to break away, but nobody was able to get more than 40 seconds clear before being pulled back again.
“Emilia was riding really strongly today,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke. “She was always near the front, along with Charlotte Becker, they were covering all the moves.
“We were going to play the card of Emily Collins today, but she wasn’t feeling so good, so Emilia stood up and did her best in the sprint. The sprint was between about 40 or 50 riders, and we had three girls in there.”
The race was based on four laps of a 21.3km circuit, which featured the climbs of the Côte d’Audregnies and the cobbled Côte de la Roquette. It was won by Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), ahead of Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products) and Sofie De Vuyst (Futurumshop.nl-Zannata) as the depleted bunch arrived at the finish.
“The roads were really terrible today,” said Van Haesebroucke. “Mayuko Hagiwara had a flat tyre early on, and then she had a crash. All of this was in the first ten kilometres; she came down pretty hard on her tailbone, but she still managed to get back in to the peloton.
“Then, after about 20km Emilia had a flat tyre, but we managed to get her back in the peloton.
“Overall I was happy with the way they raced.”
1. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
2. Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products)
3. Sofie De Vuyst (Futurumshop.nl-Zannata)
9. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s double Olympic champion Laura Trott Win the Silver Medal in the Omnium at the World Track Championships in Cali, Colombia, as defending champion Sarah Hammer of the United States retained her title. The 21-year-old Great Britain rider finished the six-race event with a total of just 20 points, but was six points behind Hammer, who dominated the two day competition almost from the start.
“I am actually happy with how this has turned out,” Trott said afterwards. “I had a few shaky moments in the World Cups, not winning and just getting lucky at the Manchester World Cup [in November] that they just let me go and take a lap.”
Although Trott improved her performance in the Points Race on day one, she ended the day a little disappointed with fourth in the Elimination Race, which she has made her own in recent years. With more than two years to go to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, however, the British rider is happy with her current form.
“I still think there’s work to do,” she conceded. “I always think – although I do always want to win every single race that I enter – this time before London where was I? I was still a junior. And the next year was Apeldoorn and I finished 16th. And then went on to win the following year.”
Trott’s Silver Medal was her second of the Championships, after having taken Gold as part of Great Britain’s Team Pursuit squad – which also included Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates Dani King and Joanna Rowsell. It was also Great Britain’s fifth medal in total, all of which were taken by the country’s women riders.
“Although I would’ve absolutely love to have won, I’m really pleased with how I got on and how I am improving in each event,” Trott added.
Result World Championship Omnium
1. Sara Hammer (United States)
2. Laura Trott (Great Britain)
3. Annette Edmondson (Australia)
Photo credit: www.britishcycling.org.uk
A series of badly timed crashes kept the riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling from the results in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the opening race of the European season, as all but one of the orange and black team was brought down at some point during the 126.7km course. With the crashes coming at strategic parts of the race, the team was unable to regain the front of the peloton.
“There were a whole lot of crashes early on,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke. “We were thinking ‘that’s good, we have nobody in there,’ and then after 50km in one crash we had three of the six girls involved.
“Anna Schnitzmeier was out of the race because she was hurt,” Van Haesebroucke explained. “Emilia Fahlin had a bike change, and I eventually got her back to the peloton just as it hit the [Côte de Trieu] climb after 60km. It’s a small road and, if you arrive at the back of the peloton on those bad roads, you have no chance if it splits.
“Charlotte Becker was in that crash also, and she had to continue with her handlebars crossed, because I couldn’t get to her,” Van Haesebroucke added. “So she was also in a bad position as we hit that climb.”
Having avoided the crashes so far, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Emily Collins was close to the front of the peloton as it arrived at the Paterberg climb after 65km. Bad luck was also to strike the New Zealander, however, as the pace dropped on the famous cobbled slopes.
“Emily was in a perfect position at the bottom of the Paterberg,” said Van Haesebroucke. “She was sitting in around fifth position, but a girl hit her and she crashed. Her thumb looks really bad, it’s all blue and bruised and I’m a little bit afraid it may be broken. She continued the race, but her hand is really blue so that’s not a good sign.
“The Paterberg is 20%, so it’s not so easy to get back on your bike is not that simple if you’re involved in a crash,” he added.
“Mayuko Hagiwara was the only one who was not involved in a crash. We only had six girls in the bike race, and our luck was over very quickly.”
Despite missing out on the result, however, Van Haesebroucke is confident that the performance in adversity from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s riders bodes well for the races ahead.
“The first few races are always very nervous, and you just have to be lucky,” he reasoned. “We didn’t have the luck on our side; we lost a little battle, but we didn’t lose the war.
“I hope we come out of this race with no fractures,” Van Haesebroucke added. “They all did their best, even though they crashed they were still fighting. They were crying on their bikes because they were bleeding and they had a lot of pain, but they showed a fighting spirit in that they wanted to continue.”
The race was won by Giant-Shimano’s Amy Pieters, ahead of Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), after the three of them escaped over the Paterberg and just managed to hold off a chasing group of 20 riders.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Olympic Champion Joanna Rowsell took her second rainbow jersey of the 2014 UCI World Track Championships in Cali, Colombia, as she beat American Sarah Hammer to take the Individual Pursuit crown. The 25-year-old, who had been part of Great Britain’s successful Team Pursuit squad the previous day beat the former five-time champion by more than a second in the three-kilometre event.
“This has been a personal goal for me for a while, I just can’t believe I pulled it off!” Rowsell exclaimed afterwards.
“I was ill with a chest infection two weeks ago, so I missed three team training sessions, which in hindsight perhaps did me good, it gave me a bit more rest; a bit of a longer taper.
“I woke up this morning feeling good, which is unusual after two Team Pursuits the day before – especially four-k Team Pursuits – but I felt I had good legs on the rollers this morning and thought ‘this is a good sign,’” Rowsell added.
“I was really pleased with my qualifying ride just two tenths off my PB, but I can’t believe that ride just now, that’s a new personal best for me on pretty much an outdoor track, five spoke wheel… everybody else went slower.
“I can’t believe I’ve done it, I can’t believe I went that quick!”
Rowsell had led the qualification round, with a time of three minutes 30.610 seconds, until Hammer – setting off in the last heat – was able to go nine-tenths of a second quicker to set up the Gold Medal match.
In the final race, however, Rowsell, whose fast start gets Great Britain up to speed in the Team Pursuit event, managed to open up a lead of just over a second in the very first lap. This lead was up to almost 1.2 seconds after 500 metres, and the British rider still held a full second at the end of the first kilometre.
A fightback from Hammer in the second kilometre could only see the experienced American take back a fraction of a second over Rowsell, and the British rider still held almost all of her original advantage as the two riders began their third.
Despite the unpredictable open air conditions, Rowsell managed to hold onto her early pace to finish in a personal best time of three minutes, 30.318 seconds; Hammer, the World Record holder, was unable to match the British rider’s final kilometre pace, and finished in three minutes 31.535 seconds to take the Silver Medal.
Strong qualification rides from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders also saw Great Britain’s 20-year-old Elinor Barker – part of the British Pursuit Team – finish in ninth place with a time of three minutes 41.609 seconds, and Italian 21-year-old Beatrice Bartelloni take twelfth place with three minutes, 43.577 seconds.
1. Joanna Rowsell (Great Britain)
2. Sarah Hammer (United States)
3. Amy Cure (Australia)
9. Elinor Barker (Great Britain)
12. Beatrice Bartelloni (Italy)
Photo credit: www.britishcycling.org.uk
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott, along with Edinburgh’s Katie Archibald, have successfully retained Great Britain’s Team Pursuit Title at the UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia, in a close Gold Medal race with Canada. Trailing by more than a second at the halfway point, the British quartet managed to pull back the Canadians before the finish, as the unusual conditions in the velodrome made the race difficult for the normally impeccably drilled squad.
“It’s a tough track to ride,” Rowsell told the BBC. “It’s so different from Manchester, where we train every day and manage to get it perfect. Then you come here, and you’ve got added elements like the wind and stuff, so it keeps it interesting.”
The Cali velodrome is under the cover of a full roof, but its open sides mean that conditions on the track can be influenced by the weather. The resulting headwind on the back straight meant that Great Britain’s World Record of four minutes 16.552 seconds – set at December’s World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico – was a long way out of reach. Nevertheless, Barker, Rowsell, Trott and Archibald qualified with the fastest time; their mark of four minutes 28.597 seconds more than two seconds quicker than Canada’s.
“I think we did well to be honest,” Trott told the BBC. “I think we went a lot slower than we thought we were going to do this morning, but there was a headwind down the back straight so I don’t know what we expected.
“I think we’ve come together really well now,” she added. “Obviously Elinor and Katie are quite new to the team, and it’s not been 4-K for very long, so it took a bit of getting used to; learning it, and learning how each other rides, but obviously we’re World Champions now, so we must be quite good at it!”
Despite the usual powerful opening lap and a half from Rowsell, however, it was Canada that began to edge clear in the second half of the first kilometre, and was almost four tenths of a second clear. This lead had extended to more than a second by the two kilometre point, but this early effort meant that the four-woman team was reduced to three with half the race still to ride.
Still with all four riders, the British team began to claw the Canadians back, and cut the deficit to just half a second by the end of kilometre three. With just over half a kilometre to go, Great Britain edged ahead and was more than a second clear itself as the four riders took the bell.
This final kilometre effort had also taken its toll on the British quartet, and confusion over the final changeover caused a split between the riders. Great Britain had enough of a cushion by this point, however, and Barker, Rowsell, Trott and Archibald took the first ever Women’s Team Pursuit title over four kilometres in a time of four minutes 23.407 seconds.
“It was really hard work,” Barker told the BBC. “Personally, I didn’t have a great ride, but these girls really showed the World what they’re made of and managed to make up for what I didn’t do. They were just amazing, I’m so proud of them all.”
Result Women’s Team Pursuit World Championship
1. Great Britain (Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott, Katie Archibald)
Photo credit: www.britishcycling.
After some outstanding results in Australia, and a strong showing in Qatar, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will line up at its first European road race of 2014 in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, the 1st of March, as part of the traditional Belgian “Openingsweekend.” With six of the squad’s riders at the Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia, this weekend, however, the orange and black team will start the race with limited expectations.
“Charlotte Becker will be the leader of the team as she brings a lot of experience to the team,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke. “My ambitions are not too high for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as it’s a 1.2 race. Our main performances should come from the Tour of Flanders on, after our training camp in Italy!!
“We miss our top sprinter Giorgia Bronzini, who is at the World Championships, so we have to look for breakaways and try to finish on the podium from there,” Van Haesebroucke added. “The weather will be okay so that’s good for a girl like Emily Collins, who we will play out for if it comes down to a big bunch near the end.”
The 126.7km race, which starts and finishes in the city of Gent, will feature eight of the fearsome bergs of Flanders, including the super-steep Paterberg, as well as six sections of cobblestones.
As well as Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s first European race of the season, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will also see the debut in the black and orange colours of Spanish time trial champion Anna Sanchis.
“I really want to start competing and, although I had planned to debut by the end of March, I will use this race as preparation,” Sanchis said. “I’m very excited about my first race with Wiggle Honda, and I would like to stay near to Lotte Becker and help her all I can.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (1.2)
Charlotte Becker (Germany), Emily Collins (New Zealand), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Anna Sanchis (Spain) and Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier (Germany)
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling took three prizes in the first ever edition of the Total Women’s Cycling Awards, which were announced at the 2014 London Bike Show at the Excel Centre yesterday. The awards were voted for by the readers of the Total Women’s Cycling website – totalwomenscycling.com – which has become “the UK’s most popular cycling website for women” in its first year of existence.
The black and orange team netted the Women’s Cycling Team of the Year Award, while double Olympic champion Laura Trott was voted both Pro-Rider of the Year and Women’s Cycling Personality of the Year.
Team sponsor Wiggle was also voted Online Retailer of the Year.
“It’s a very special honour to be recognised as the “Women’s Cycling Team of the Year” after our first year of existence,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team manager Rochelle Gilmore. “This award is the result of our athletes, staff and sponsors being 100% committed to the “team”. Everyone involved in Wiggle Honda share the same passion and desires to achieve greatness in women’s cycling, on and off the bike. Wiggle Honda is made up of people who are willing to put the ‘team’ first in order to reach specific goals in the world of women’s cycling.
“I’d like to personally congratulate my amazing athletes and 2013 staff members; Simon Cope, Kristof Van Campenhout, Bart Lismont, Bart Hazen, Ben Atkins and Myfanwy Galloway for achieving this wonderful award.
“I feel immense satisfaction that Laura Trott has also been recognised as Women’s Cycling Personality of the Year. During the past year I have witnessed the demands and pressures placed on such a young ambitious women and, it is only due to Laura’s amazing personality that she is able to manage pleasing everyone. Laura is a perfect role model for young aspiring athletes, she is a very giving, grateful, bubbly, relaxed… talented women. Wiggle Honda are very proud to work alongside the newly labelled “Pro Rider of the Year”.
“Wiggle are deserving winners of the Total Women’s Cycling award – “Online Cycling Retailer of the Year”. I’ve become increasingly proud to be associated with Wiggle, every country I visit around the world I hear positive comments and feedback from consumers about their purchasing experiences. Wiggle are extremely diligent when it comes to handling each and every personal order and they treat their customers with the utmost respect. On a separate note, working with Wiggle and witnessing their commitment to Wiggle Honda, our athletes and women’s cycling in general has been overwhelming. They win my award for operating with passion and commitment. We’re enjoying a great partnership.
“On behalf of Wiggle Honda, I’d also like to say a big special thank you to Total Women’s Cycling for their dedication and commitment to women’s cycling.”
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted into second place at the end of the fourth and final stage of the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, between the Sealine Beach Resort and the Doha Corniche, after a perfect team performance from the black and orange team. The former two-time road World Champion was the only rider able to follow the acceleration of race leader Kirsten Wild (Liv-Shimano), as she launched her sprint in the final 200 metres of the 85km stage, but was just unable to come past the big, powerful Dutchwoman on the line.
The two top sprinters in the race crossed the line several lengths clear of the battle for third place, which was taken by Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS).
“The girls did a perfect job for me today,” Bronzini said afterwards. “They sheltered me from the wind through the whole stage, and made sure I was in the right position, so I had only to think about my sprint.
“I was able to position myself on the wheel of Kirsten Wild, but she was too strong for me at the finish.
“I am a little bit disappointed that I could not win the stage, but I am very happy with my condition,” the Italian added. “I’m also very happy with the feeling in the team. The girls all rode really hard for me again today, and I was happy that I could give them a good result.”
Unlike previous days, a strong headwind saw the peloton stay together on its northerly journey up the east coast of the Qatari peninsular, with two riders allowed to build up a lead of just over a minute at around the halfway point.
Onto the six kilometre finishing circuit the peloton’s speed went up, as a series of attacks saw the breakaway caught, with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Charlotte Becker and Emilia Fahlin marking the most dangerous-looking moves. The final attack was chased down by Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling with the Liv-Giant team, before the sprinters manoeuvred themselves for the dash to the line.
Result stage 4
1. Kirsten Wild (Liv-Shimano)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS)
Image credit: ASO/Bruno Bade
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini was denied the chance to compete for victory in the third stage of the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, between the Katara Cultural Village and the Al Khor Corniche, by a late mechanical problem that saw her lose contact with the front group. The former two-time road was part of a 28-strong lead group with teammate Charlotte Becker, in similar circumstances to stage two, when she experienced her problem and lost contact.
“I must have hit a hole or something in the road, because my lever hood moved down and a little bit inwards, and the brake closed a little onto the wheel,” Bronzini explained. “At that moment I didn’t feel right because it was in a hard section, so I asked Rochelle [Gilmore] if my brake was rubbing.
“After that, when I was riding hard in the wind, a girl pushed me off the road onto the gravel and I punctured,” the Italian continued. “I quickly took a front wheel, but after that my bike didn’t move because the rear brake was completely closed. I had to wait for [team mechanic Jarrod Moroni] to take out my wheel and move the brake and I lost so much time.
“I tried to resist, but I’m not superwoman!” she laughed. “But I think I must be strong to ride with my brake closed like that!”
“I feel sorry for the team because everybody rode really well today,” Bronzini added. “Everyone was next to me, and covered me from the wind, and brought me up again. I really was happy for that because they left me in a perfect position for going in the first group.”
“All the girls worked hard today. We are starting to have a good feeling together, and that is the best thing for the future. I’m really surprised with Peta [Mullens] because it’s really her first time in this kind of race and she understands the job really well. She’s really smart, and I’m really happy about that because she’s strong too.
“For sure I’m better than the first day,” Bronzini concluded. “Today could have been a good day, but we were just unlucky.”
Having lost the front group, Bronzini was protected by the rest of her Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates, and rode into the finish as part of a group, 3’45” behind the winner. Becker was able to stay with the lead group but, having worked so hard for Bronzini, was unable to follow the winning move when it went with just over 15km to go.
Kirsten Wild (Liv-Shimano) won the stage, ahead of British champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products).
“The team worked really well together today, but we had a little bit of bad luck,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke. “Lotte sacrificed herself for Giorgia, to keep her out of the wind in the finale, and then she had a wheel change with about 15km to go – just as the split was happening.
“At the end of the day Charlotte moved up a little on GC – not that GC is really an issue now – but I told Giorgia to relax, and we’re going to put everything into tomorrow. Let’s hope tomorrow we can achieve something.”
1. Kirsten Wild (Liv-Shimano)
2. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products)
21. Charlotte Becker (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
Image credit: ASO/Bruno Bade