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Mayuko Hagiwara: “I want to win in Europe”

Ten-time Japanese National Champion Mayuko Hagiwara (Gunma, Japan) had a breakthrough season in Europe with her first ever UCI podium in a stage in the Giro Rosa, and a top 20 overall in the most prestigious stage race in women’s cycling. The 28 year old who recently extended her contract with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling for a third consecutive year is very satisfied with her season, and about being on the team, despite a horrible crash in the Vargarda World Cup in August which messed up her preparation for the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

“2014 was a big difference for me compared with last year. This year I was more used to the culture and racing a whole year in Europe which resulted in some success. I am the most proud of regaining both Japanese national titles and about my third place in the third stage of the Giro Rosa. It was a very special moment in my life and the result came from good team work. It was very impressive and my family, my team and many of my friends where very happy for me. I am very grateful for all the support.”


Winning the time trial and the road race at the National Championships were the ninth and tenth national title for Hagiwara in her career. She won the time trial for the 6th time and the road race for the fourth time since she started as an elite back in 2008.

“I was so happy to win both races. I lost both titles last year and I was very eager to regain them. After winning both titles it was just amazing and a fantastic feeling. I was very happy to get them back so I can wear the national championships jersey in Europe again. But most of all I was touched to see that my parents are very proud. They always support and are worried about me especially when racing in Europe.”

After having won the Japanese National titles in both disciplines, Mayuko continued her good form in the Giro Rosa with a third place in the uphill finish in stage three – won by Annemiek van Vleuten – and a top 20 overall. But her good performance came to an end after a horrible crash in the Vargarda World Cup in Sweden where she fractured her knee.

“To fracture my knee was a huge shock and disappointed as I was preparing for my first World Championships as a professional athlete in Europe. I took care of my knee in the weeks after and was not able to train a lot but in the end I considered my knee was OK enough to travel to Spain and start in the World Championship without having raced or properly trained for four weeks. To start in Ponferrada was a huge relief and I was happy I could race again. Now back in Japan I will have full care and medical treatment for my knee and although it is still not fully recovered I am hopeful it will be OK before the start of the new season.”


Third year on Wiggle Honda
Going into her third season with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Hagiwara is one of the four riders on the team since its inauguration in 2013, together with Giorgia Bronzini, Dani King and Amy Roberts. Over the past three years Hagiwara has had her ups and downs, but her determination, kindness and commitment for the team make her an valuable athlete for the team.

“The first year on Wiggle Honda was very difficult for me. Everything was new! Living a whole year in Europe, the races, the weather, the people, the food, the language, the culture everything was a big difference to what I was used to in Japan. I suffered a lot but I got through this period with a lot of help from my wonderful teammates, the staff, Rochelle Gilmore, some friends and everyone else who has helped me. Although I didn’t get any results in my first season I was grateful to continue on the team in 2014. It meant a lot to me and I was eager to get results and show myself.

“Last year I got more used to Europe than the year before. I learned many important things. I moved to a German family and started to work with a German coach (Jochen Dornbusch). My coach has worked in women’s cycling for a few years and he is very helpful to me. He gives me advice on everything. I was more prepared for the new season as I trained a lot during the winter which I never did before. I now know that is necessary to perform better. I just feel I am getting better in European racing day by day.”


In 2015 Hagiwara hopes to continue her good performances and hopes she can be an important helper for her teammates in the big races.

“I really appreciate and am grateful to continue with Wiggle Honda in 2015. Next year the team will have many big names with Giorgia (Bronzini), Elisa (Longo Borghini), Mara (Abbott), Nettie (Edmondson), Audrey (Cordon), Jolien (D’hoore) and Chloe (Hosking) to name a few. Although it will be my third year on the team it feels like as I am joining a whole new team with all the new signings. I think the team will be really strong in all kinds of races. I look forward to the new season and I will do my best to work for the team as hard and good as possible. I think we will have many victories amongst them a win in the World cup and the Giro.”

Speaking about her own ambitions and goals Hagiwara says: “I want to become double Japanese National Champion again, I want to race the Giro Rosa and the World Championships and I want to win at least one race in Europe. Although I realise it will be hard to get a spot on the team for all the big races with so many good athletes on the team. But if I do my best, work hard and can have some good races my chances will increase. I really want to fight for it.”


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