Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is very pleased to announce the signing of four time World Time Trial Championship medallist Linda Villumsen, who becomes the team’s second New Zealand rider. The Danish-born 27-year-old adds considerable power to the team’s time trial strengths and, having finished 2012 as number nine in the World, lifts Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling into the top five of the UCI rankings.
Having taken a little time away from the Elite Women’s peloton, Villumsen explained her reason for choosing to return for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling.
“The team has a good balance of experienced riders – with Rochelle Gilmore who is Commonwealth Games Champion and Giorgia Bronzini, a double World Road Champion – as well as a lot of young talent and young super stars from the track,” Villumsen explained. “I really believe it is a real good combination of riders, and results already give me an indication that the riders are riding well.
“I am thinking of Emily Collins’ victory the other day [in the Omloop van Het Hageland],” she added. “Again, I just really look forward to being a part of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team.”
Having finished fourth in the Olympic Time Trial at London 2012, and taken the Bronze medal in the World Championship Time Trial in Limburg, Netherlands, it was rumoured that Villumsen – who was a multiple Danish champion before taking New Zealand citizenship in 2010 – had retired from the sport. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as she had simply chosen to temporarily take a step back.
“I had a very good 2012 season, but after the four-year Olympic cycle I just felt I needed to put my energies into a few other projects before returning to pro women’s cycling,” Villumsen explained.
“In the meantime I have been keeping up with training, however,” she continued. “Marco Pinotti [of WorldTour team BMC Racing], who coaches me, has done a great effort making an alternative race free training program and I just can’t wait to join the Wiggle Honda team later on this year. Hopefully the transition back in the peloton will go smoothly but I am really confident in this team and that both riders and staff have built up a very good team environment for me to join soon.”
In addition to her World Championship medals, Villumsen’s time trialling and climbing abilities have brought her several prestigious results, with third in la Flèche Wallonne, and overall victory in the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige-Südtirol as some of her standout performances of 2012.
As a true team player, Villumsen has played a huge part in many of her teammates’ victories over the years, but has also managed to win the overall titles at the Route de France in 2006, and the Thüringen Rundfahrt in 2009.
Although she had not been part of a top team at the beginning of 2013, Villumsen took the first New Zealand National Time Trial title of her career, in Christchurch, in early January.
“I feel like this time spent without racing has been good for me in many ways,” Villumsen explained. “One being that I’m eager to get back to speed and back to racing again. I’m just really looking forward to racing again and I hope I can use this new energy and enthusiasm to convert into positive and good riding.”
Having finished on the podium of the last four World Championship Time Trials, Villumsen will be one of the hot favourites to take the rainbow jersey in Florence, Italy, in September. Her strength against the clock, added to that of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Track World Champions will also make the team one of those to watch in the UCI World Team Time Trial Championships.