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Wiggle Down Under On Form And Seeking Success In The Santos Women’s Tour

Wiggle Down Under will take the start of the Santos Women’s Tour with a team in form, in and around the South Australian capital, Adelaide, this weekend. The four-day race, run alongside the men’s Tour Down Under WorldTour race will form a major part of this season’s Subaru National Road Series, and will see the long-awaited debut of Adelaide local Nettie Edmondson in the black and orange jersey.

“I’ve had the stuff in my house for quite a while now, and I’ve been looking at it every day, so it’s quite nice that the day has finally come when I can pop it on,” Edmondson smiled. “It’s always nice to start with a new team, to see how it works and meet up with a whole new group of people, so that’s exciting for me, and I’m definitely looking forward to this week’s racing.

“Also, to have all these incredible riders – both men and women – to come down to my home town of Adelaide is really special,” she added. “The Tour Down Under’s always a humongous event, and it’s growing every year, so for the women to finally be a part of it and be recognised is a special moment for us.

“The last three years we’ve had a women’s tour and it’s been growing every year. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I think a way that we can grow it even more is to incorporate our races alongside the men’s. They’ve tried to do that with a couple of stages this year, so we’re taking baby steps, and it’s really exciting for women’s cycling in Australia.”

Enjoying her second Australian summer, two-time former road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini comes into the race with the confidence of having won the final stage of the Mitchelton Bay Crits, as well as guiding teammate Chloe Hosking to overall victory. The 31-year-old Italian is looking forward to racing with her new teammate over the two road races and two criteriums.

“I’m really happy to have the possibility to race the Tour Down Under and I will try to find the right feeling with my team mates,” Bronzini said. “I’m really happy to begin racing with Nettie, I think she is one sprinter of the future, and I would like it if she can take some of my advice for her career.

“I think also that all of the girls will have the opportunity to take their own chance. Personally I will try to be good in the road races… they are longer than the crits!”

Hosking followed her Bay Crits victory with a strong performance in the Australian Championships, which was won by her new Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Peta Mullens. Since then the Canberra resident has been on a light training schedule as she prepares for later season targets, but can’t wait to race in what will be one of Australia’s biggest races of 2015.

“It’s really great that they’ve turned it into a National Road Series race this year, and that it’s four days,” Hosking said. “It’s not just criteriums either, there’s two short road races too, so that shows the growth of the event. I think there’s a pretty stellar field as well, so that’s fantastic, and hopefully this is the start of something to come. Maybe in the next couple of years we can see it go UCI, along with the men’s, and that would be awesome.

“I’ve had a really light week since nationals, so I’ll either be super-fresh or super-under-done,” she joked. “My objective is the Tour of Qatar, so I’m coming to Adelaide in support of Nettie and Giorgia, and hopefully we can get some more wins on the board for the team, and see how it goes.”

The five-rider team will be completed by British Criterium Champion Eileen Roe and ever-reliable former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin, who both played enormous roles in Bronzini and Hosking’s Bay Crits success.

Santos Women’s Tour, 17th – 20th January
Stage 1: Jayco Road Race – Woodside to Murray Bridge, 59km
Stage 2: Jarvis Subaru Criterium – East End, Adelaide, 40 minutes
Stage 3: Jarvis Subaru Road Race – Tanunda to Campbelltown, 71km
Stage 4: Jayco Criterium – Victoria Park, Adelaide, 1 hour 10 minutes

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