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Anna Christian “I expect to learn a lot”

Isle of Man cyclist Anna Christian (Epic Cycles – Scott Contessa) has recently signed her first pro contract with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling. Born on August 6, 1995 Christian is the youngest athlete on the British registered UCI team and one of the four British riders on the team with Dani King, Amy Roberts and Eileen Roe. Last week British Cycling announced that Christian is one of the athletes on the BC endurance team who will get topsport funding for next year.

The 19 year old always rode bikes with her brother and sister while growing up. At the age of 5 Anna got involved in the local youth cycling league and club (Royal London 360, run by Dot Tilbury) for enjoyment. From that point things got started,from racing competitively in national races to riding international races with Epic Cycles – Scott Contessa last season. She was also always involved in sports at school, such as hockey and netball.

Christian who studied PE, English Language, Sociology and Business studies has finished school earlier this year, after taking her A-level exams in the sixth form can now fully focus on her cycling career. In her time off the bike she does a lot of stuff that other teenagers do. “I like to go out and have a laugh with my friends, normal things teenagers do. I love fashion and clothes so if I’m not on my bike I’m most likely shopping. I also love food, anything with chocolate! So I enjoy baking as well, but enjoy eating it after more!”


Amazing year
In the last three years Christian has been part of the British Epic Cycles – Scott Contessa women’s team, competing at both junior and elite level. Christian performed well as a junior,and became the British road race champion in 2013. “ I’ve been with Scott Contessa Epic for the past three seasons and loved it. I’ve learnt so much from being a junior starting racing in the women’s national series to now. The set up was great and I rode alongside a great group of girls, who made racing even more enjoyable.”

Anna is one of the most exciting young British talents, having been selected to ride for her native Isle of Man in the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Scotland, this year. The 19-year-old rode the time trial and road race, and finished in the top-20 in both. “I loved riding for the IOM at the Commonwealth Games. It was my first international multiple sport event so to wear the Manx jersey was special and the whole experience was amazing.  Its always such a laugh with the Manx team with us all being so close training together at home. With Cav (Mark Cavendish) even coming there as the soigneur for the day at the road race, although it was such a shame he couldn’t race himself.  Its great to have the likes of Cav and Pete Kennaugh around as they really do inspire the younger riders on the Isle of Man, seeing them achieve so highly shows that it is possible and makes it more realistic. Having my brother, Mark racing on the team as well made it special for me and the whole family!”

In September the first year’s elite competed for Great Britain at the Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Anna’s attacks and accelerations in the last 30km of the race, in support of team captain Lizzie Armitstead, marked the beginning of what was to become an aggressive finale. Being in the front of the most important race of the season at that point was a surprise to her and something she didn’t expect.  “I’ve always felt I can ride strongly on the climbs, but I’ve never ridden against such high profile competition so I didn’t know how well I would go. So I did surprise myself really, that I was able to ride competitively with them. It was good as I was then able to do my job as a domestique for Lizzie.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
Her performances at both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships didn’t go unnoticed by Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling manager Rochelle Gilmore, which finally led to her first pro contract with the British based UCI team. “I’m really proud and excited to have the opportunity to ride for such a high profile team as Wiggle Honda. It will be great to work alongside Rochelle as well, who has experienced and achieved so much at the top end of the sport and in the women’s peloton. She does an excellent job with promoting and building such a strong team, she always seems to find time for riders like myself who are young and coming into the pro scene. The patience and support she has is really good, as it helps them as riders develop and gives them big opportunities, like I’ve been given! I know the team’s set up and environment is going to help me achieve my ambitions and dreams. I’m already excited to get stuck into racing for the team in 2015!”

Her recent performances in especially the tougher races show that Christian is one to look out for in the future. Team manager Rochelle Gilmore says “I just had to have her on the team”.

Gilmore continues. “Anna caught my eye when I was commentating the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July. She kept coming into vision, even on the toughest parts of the circuit which meant she was always well positioned and extremely strong.

“Next, I was commentating the World Championships and witnessed Anna Christian being the rider that really got the race started, again on the toughest parts of the World Championship circuit…” Gilmore added. “She’ll be a huge success and I’m honoured be a part of her journey in the early stages of her career.”

Christian, named U21 Sportswoman Of The Year by an Isle of Man newspaper, expects to learn a lot from the World class athletes on the team like Giorgia Bronzini or Elisa Longo Borghini in her first year as a professional athlete . “Its my first year on a UCI professional team, being with Wiggle Honda. I know I’m on the best team for me to progress as a rider. My main strength in cycling is climbing, which definitely comes from growing up training on the hilly Manx roads! But I’d like to improve on my descending skills!The team is full of so many experienced class riders which for me riding alongside I can take and learn so much from, in terms of learning how to ride at that level and be successful. Im really looking forward to wearing the orange and black kit! “

Christian doesn’t know her race program just yet as it still has to be finalised, but she hopes to have a good showing in the races she will be selected for. She dreams about competing in the Giro Rosa but kind of hopes to get selected for the Friendslife Women’s Tour. “I would love to ride The Women’s Tour, even in its first year it was such a huge event and being a British stage race makes it extra special. The Giro Rosa is also a race I’d love to race, the course route and prestige behind it is pretty cool- as well as being in beautiful Italy! In general I just would like to have a strong first season with Wiggle Honda, hopefully picking up results along the way. My goal would be to ride the World Road Race Championships again, with the ultimate goal being selected for Great Britain for the Olympic Road Race in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.”


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