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Abbott and Johansson spearhead Wiggle High5 WorldTour Challenge in California

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Mara Abbott and Emma Johansson will spearhead the black and orange team’s challenge at the Tour of California, the next round of the Women’s WorldTour, which starts in South Lake Tahoe on Thursday. The former US Champion and reigning Swedish Champion have both experienced excellent form in recent weeks, with Abbott winning her sixth edition of the Tour of the Gila, and Johansson climbing to the top of the UCI Ranking.

“I’m really excited to get to have my entire team here racing in the US!” Abbott exclaimed. “I had a great race at Gila, which is one of my favourite events of the year and gives me confidence going into this week.”

Being able to race in her home nation also brings benefits to the American climber, beside familiarity with the roads an culture, however.

“My entire family gets to come see the race, which is really special for me!” Abbott smiled.

Johansson has enjoyed a consistently excellent spring, with results that included second place in the Tour of Flanders and third in the Strade Bianche. Her first victories of the year came in the middle of last month, with a total domination of the Emakumeen Bira, in Spain, and the Swedish champion hopes to carry that form into her first US race of the year.

“It’s the first time in California for me and I’m excited about it,” Johansson said. “Something new is always nice.

“I’m happy to start on altitude as well as that makes temperature more like home,” the Swedish Champion added. “We had around 13-15 degrees [centigrade] today and the views are absolutely amazing.

“So besides the jetlag, after a very long travel day yesterday, todays ride was nice.

“For the race its difficult to know what to expect, but for sure the two first days are going to be the most important ones,” she continued. “We finish on top on Thursday and there’s the TTT Friday, think the GC will be decided after that.

“For us we are excited and we have a strong and motivated team here.”

Abbott and Johansson will be ably assisted by Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling teammates Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara, Olympic Champion Dani King and Amy Pieters, any of whom will be capable of taking their own chances when the opportunity presents itself.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Amgen Tour of California
Mara Abbott (United States), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Emma Johansson(Sweden), Dani King (Great Britain), Amy Pieters (Netherlands)

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