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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Ready For The First Women’s Strade Bianche

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s athletes are ready to race in Saturday’s inaugural edition of the Strade Bianche for women, which is almost certain to be one of the most prestigious and spectacular events of the season. Despite only having been run since 2007, the Strade Bianche has already taken on something of a Classic status thanks to the beautiful Tuscan landscape that it crosses, and the way it harks back to the Golden Age of cycling.

The 103km race will depart from the Piazza Duomo in the iconic Medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano, with its fourteen famous towers, and cross a total of 17.4km of Tuscany’s white roads on the way to the beautiful Piazza del Campo in the provincial capital of Siena.

The two Italian riders in Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s roster will doubtless take centre stage, with Elisa Longo Borghini and former two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini taking the start. Longo Borghini – whose recently retired elder brother Paolo rode the first five editions of the race – has been the face of the women’s event, and featured in RCS Sport’s media campaign.

Although the course should suit the 23-year-old Classics specialist, Longo Borghini is circumspect about her chances in such a tough event so early in the season.

“For Strade Bianche I don’t expect anything in particular,” Longo Borghini said. “I simply want to race freely and without having so much pressure, enjoying every kilometre of the race which is in my opinion one of the nicest and charming on the calendar.

“Anyway,” she added. “I’m sure the our team can achieve a good result!”

As one of the most experienced riders in the women’s peloton, Bronzini is well aware of the significance of another big men’s race adding a women’s event. The Strade Bianche will be the first women’s race to be organised by RCS Sport – the organiser of the men’s Giro d’Italia and several other Classic events – since the sad demise of the Primavera Rosa – the women’s Milano-Sanremo – in 2005.

“I’m really excited to do this race because it is new for us and we will be racing in the same moment as the men!” Bronzini said. “It’s another event where the woman can have the chance to put on a good show!

“I don’t think I’m really ready for this kind of effort but for sure I will be a good support for the team!”

Alongside the two Italian riders, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will field the climbing strength of Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara and two-time Giro d’Italia winner Mara Abbott; while the team will be completed by tireless French rider Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Australian Chloe Hosking, who has already achieved incredible results this season in Australia, Qatar and Belgium.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling line up for Strade Bianche (7th March)
Mara Abbott (United States), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Mayuko Hagiwara(Japan), Chloe Hosking (Australia), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

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