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Wiggle Honda aiming to be the Number One Team in the World in Third Year

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was presented to an invited group of media and team partners at the Monasterium PoortAckere, a converted monastery, in Ghent, Belgium with the stated ambition of finishing the 2015 season at the top of the UCI Rankings. 14 of the black and orange team’s 15-rider roster were present to officially launch the new jersey, complete with main sponsor Wiggle’s new logo design.

“Our aim for the season is to end the year as the number one team in the World,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Team Manager Rochelle Gilmore.

“The main objective of this team is to win bike races, and every athlete in this room is capable of winning big bike races, and contributing to the huge success and our team goals.

“It is in our DNA, of all of us,” she added, “to have that same goal of progressing the sport and making sure we go in the right direction in the next few years. These are the athletes that have made the commitment to that.”

As a professional rider for many years, Gilmore has seen the sport of women’s cycling change beyond recognition over the years; a change that she, and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, has been very much part of.

“Women’s cycling has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years,” Gilmore said. “We never expected it to happen overnight, and that’s the thing that these athletes really understand about our sport.

“It’s a sport now that people want to be involved in, they want to invest in it, they starting in our sport. We’re sharing the same fans and followers as men’s cycling, so a lot of things are happening in women’s cycling right now, and it’s just a wonderful satisfaction for everyone that’s been a part of it.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was launched in 2013 and achieved results beyond all expectation. In its two seasons to date the black and orange squad has developed into a team that now has the capability to win any race in the calendar.

“We’re just starting year three, we’re only two years old, which is a little hard for some people to comprehend, said Gilmore. “When we started out in the first couple of years – especially the first year – we had very much single programme we were committed to one type of rider, on type of race, and wanted to get that right for the experience.

“In the second year we added a few more riders that we could support. Now we’re at the point, in the third year, where we’ve got riders that can win all types of races; flat races, Classics, Grand Tours. So we’ve really developed in that regard and it’s a lot to do with the athletes themselves, wanting to really create this team, so we can be dominant the whole year.”

Former two-time Road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini is one of four riders that have been with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling since its inception, along with young Welsh rider Amy Roberts, Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara and Olympic Champion Dani King. Returning for a second year are former Swedish and Spanish Champions Emilia Fahlin and Anna Sanchis, and newly crowned Australian Champion Peta Mullens.

Mullens was the one rider missing from the team presentation, since the Australian all-rounder is currently racing her mountainbike at the Oceania Championships, as Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling supports her ambitions both on and off road.

Adding considerable strength to the black and orange squad in 2015 are several new signings, including two-time Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore, who is eager to show her driekleur jersey in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Classics power also comes in the shape of World Championship medallist and Italian Time Trial Champion Elisa Longo Borghini, while the team’s sprint train will now benefit from the experience and power of Australian Chloe Hosking, who as already won the Bay Crits series and finished second at the Tour of Qatar in her new colours.

The team’s British roots are maintained with the addition of young Isle of Man prodigy Anna Christian, as well as British Criterium Champion Eileen Roe, who becomes the first Scottish rider to sign for a professional women’s team. The team also welcomes its first ever French rider in the shape of Audrey Cordon-Ragot.

The team’s Grand Tour potential is also boosted by the signing of former two-time US National Champion Mara Abbott, whose exceptional climbing skills have seen her win the Giro d’Italia on two occasions.

Finally, the team’s third Australian rider is Nettie Edmondson, whose dominant performance in last week’s UCI Track World Championships saw her take rainbow jerseys in both the Team Pursuit and Omnium. Nettie has also been successful already in the black and orange jersey on the road this year, taking the sprints jersey in the Santos Women’s Tour in her home city of Adelaide.

“We started two years ago ranked outside the top ten, then we were inside the top ten the second year,” Gilmore said. “We’ve started the third year ranked third in the World, and we have a very strong ambition – all of us – which we’ve had from day one, which is to finish our third year as the number one cycling team in the World.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider line up 2015
Mara Abbott (United States), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Anna Christian (Great Britain), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Chloe Hosking (Australia), Dani King (Great Britain), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Peta Mullens (Australia), Amy Roberts (Great Britain), Eileen Roe (Great Britain), Anna Sanchis (Spain)

Directeur Sportif: Egon Van Kessel (Netherlands)


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