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Emily Collins: New Zealand’s hope for the future

Twenty-two year old Emily Collins joins the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team after a stellar season with the American registered Vanderkitten-Focus team in 2012.

After previously dabbling in tennis and triathlon, Collins took up cycling in 2005 when she was scouted during a National Talent Identification program at school. Emily’s first big win came in 2008 at the New Zealand Secondary Schools National Championships, and the Kiwi rider hasn’t looked back since. In 2010 Collins based herself in Europe where she immediately caught the eyes of international teams, most notably after her performances in local Belgium and Dutch Kermesses.  For the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the ambitious Kiwi based herself in the United States of America and raced on behalf of the Vanderkitten-Focus outfit. During her time at Vanderkitten-Focus, Emily was a regular feature in the top 10 places in the results lists and had an impressive win at the Fast and Furious Criterium at the end of her 2012 American campaign. Collins went on to close out her season in Europe as a guest rider with the Dutch Boretti-Ulysses team which was where she caught the eye of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling owner and manager Rochelle Gilmore with her aggressive and tenacious racing style at the Lotto Decca Tour. Her breakthrough year was capped off with her appointment in the New Zealand National team for the World Road Cycling Championships in Valkenburg, the Netherlands.

 “Last season was a good one for sure. I returned for my second year of racing with Vanderkitten-Focus and had another fantastic year of racing and much needed fun along the way also! I then took the plunge and jumped over to Europe to race with Boretti-Ulyssis for a racing stint in preparation for the Worlds. I’m thrilled I made the decision to head over as I managed to race at my best and pick up some good results,” explained Collins.

Collins’ impressive season didn’t go unnoticed as she recently signed her first professional contract with the newly established British registered Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team. Whilst the tenacious Kiwi admits that the professional contract came as a surprise, she jumped at the opportunity to return to racing in Europe fulltime.

“I was surprised for sure. When coming over to Europe, my intention was to prepare for the Worlds and be in the best form possible for them. Returning to Europe definitely made me realise how much I love the Euro racing style. However, it’s just ‘different, crazy aggressive and I love that,” expressed Collins.

“When I raced well at Lotto Decca Tour I was lucky to get in contact with [team owner and manager] Rochelle and when I was offered the contract it was a huge deal for me. Seeing the riders on the roster and the calibre they are at is very exciting for me. I can’t wait to learn from these girls and help 2013 to be as successful as possible for the team!”

Collins will be consistently lining up alongside current Olympic, Commonwealth and World Champions throughout her season however rather than being intimidated by the prospect; the determined youngster is looking forward to helping to support some of the best in the business out on the road.

“The calibre and talent on the team is so high – it’s going to be an exciting year for sure. It’s going to be great seeing a group of talented riders merge together and make things happen. For me, just being a part of this is going to be a fantastic opportunity and I can’t wait to get out there, help out and get some big results as a team. Hopefully one day soon I can join this champion list…that would be nice!

“Over the past few years on Vanderkitten-Focus I have been more or less a leading rider so am very much used to having riders sacrifice themselves for me. I envy that and am excited to next year take on a support role and be the sacrificer myself. I can’t wait to be in a tight team environment and hope we can all work well together to get where we need to be. In saying that, I look forward to and am sure I will get my own opportunties when the time is right.  I can’t wait to get out there and be a real team player. Having the opportunity to learn from riders like Giorgia (Bronzini) and Rochelle (Gilmore) is something I am very much looking forward to,” added Collins.

Collins always has been dreaming of riding for a professional women’s team in Europe and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is giving her that long awaited chance. Collins believes she can be a valuable addition to the team and hope she can play a role in achieving team goals and hopes to continue to develop herself in to a champion rider.

“I can only hope onward and upwards from here. I have had a fantastic few years with Vanderkitten-Focus and believe that this is the next step forward. My goal has always been to be racing on a professional women’s team on the European circuit and now it’s actually happening. Quite hard to believe from my point of view! I know that I’m on a good path to developing a successful career and certainly believe this team can make it happen.”

Apart from the overwhelming support Collins has received from the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team, she is relishing in the opportunity to be able to assist the team in forming the movement to raise the professionalism and awareness of women’s cycling.

“I’m thrilled to be surrounded by people who are passionate about women’s cycling and its growth and development. It’s fantastic that Rochelle as a cyclist herself has committed and succeeded in forming this team. It’s a huge bonus for women’s cycling having another professional women’s team on the roster and I’m sure will lead to great things for all of us! As most female cyclists would no, it can be a big fincancial struggle at points within this sport. Having a team like Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling new to the calendar, helping to grow and develop female cycling I am sure overtime changes will take place. Let’s cross our fingers, help encourage and make things happen and hope that in the near future women’s cycling will sit alongside women’s tennis!”

For more information on Emily and the rest of the team at Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, check out the official website at

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyCollins_NZ

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