Last week the girls from the Wiggle Honda Women’s Pro Cycling Team were training hard at Goodwood racetrack in West Sussex and we were lucky enough to be invited along.
Back in January 2013, Rochelle Gilmore, Team Wiggle Honda’s owner/manager (and rider) finally had her lifetime’s ambition realised – to launch her own women’s pro team. Unable to do it singlehandedly, Gilmore approached potential sponsors to invest.
The team’s namesakes Wiggle and Honda, were more than happy to help, and with the added support of the Sir Bradley Wiggins Foundation, it’s safe to say the team is already making a solid name for itself, often being cited as; ‘the team to beat’ on the pro circuit. Not surprising with 12 wins under their belt in the 2013 season already, including the well fought victory by Laura Trott at the IG London Nocturne last weekend.
Based in Belgium, the Wiggle Honda team is full of talent, with 3 of London 2012’s GB cycling stars on the squad; Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Roswell. Along with an impressively decorated list of cyclists from Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Italy and Japan – Wiggle Honda is a truly international team.
It was a real privilege to be in a room with so many talented women and hearing team captain Rochelle Gilmore talk so eloquently about her ambitions for the team was inspiring. With such a passionate leader, this group of women will only move from strength-to-strength as they grow as a squad.
What is immediately evident with this group of women is their dedication to the team and the growing bond between the riders. They were full of admiration for one another and talked of how great it has been to learn from the experiences they have all had both on the track and road.
Chief Executive of Wiggle, Humphrey Cobbold spoke briefly about the company’s support of the team and very honestly admitted that when Rochelle first approached him for sponsorship he was in the no camp. How wrong he could have been. He used three words to describe the team:
Professional, courageous and committed.
He talked of how impressed he was with the aspirations within the team:
I urge people to come and see these ladies in action. Their commitment and determination in the flesh is inspirational.
It goes without saying that the Wiggle Honda Women’s Pro Cycling Team is fantastic news for women’s cycling. They have entered the pro circuit with an impressive force and they continue to develop as a team.
Women’s cycling still has a long way to go to stand up to the men’s sport but it’s getting there. The pinnacle event in the cycling, the Tour de France isn’t currently on the women’s calendar however, Rochelle genuinely believes that this is due to logistics surrounding the event and that it is being worked on – as it stands, there is simply not enough infrastructure available to run a women’s tour alongside the men’s event, at the moment.
The women of team Wiggle Honda will continue to inspire young and upcoming riders as well as help encourage more women across the world to either start cycling or to give racing a go – you’ll never know unless you try!
We know that many of you reading this might have considered racing or are looking to take that step up into racing and so we asked the team for some advice for us novices out there:
- Join a club
- Enjoy yourself: no matter what level you are, it is important you enjoy the sport
- Always believe in yourself and set yourself manageable goals
- If you don’t win a race, that does not mean you have failed
- Book a bike fitting and set up properly, it’s the best money you’ll spend on your bike
- Don’t be scared by big rides, embrace them
- Keep fuelled up. Going on a long ride without the correct nutrition is a recipe for disaster
- Enter a race, then you’ll have a goal and something to work towards
- Don’t forget that there’s always room for improvement
But most importantly:
- Whatever level you cycle at, remember to keep a balance: your friends and family are important too!
- When you want to eat chocolate – EAT IT!
Coming up: We catch up with Olympic stars Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Roswell