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Wiggle High5: What makes the La Course 2016 victors tick?

Get a snapshot into the UK’s number one women’s cycling team

Team owner Rochelle Gilmore describes Wiggle High5 as a group of girls who just want to fight for each other on and off the bike.

I caught up with them in Chantilly the day after their victory at La Course to find out what makes them tick—and of course most importantly, who has the best fashion sense, who has the worst taste in music and who is the joker of the team.

Words and interview: Hannah Troop

wiggle high5

What’s your favourite race and why?

Amy Pieters: I really like to ride the spring season and races like yesterday [La Course], short, hard races

Amy Roberts: Difficult one, I like races like La Course yesterday and Ride London, fast and a bit flatter, Holland style races

Anna Sanchis: Giro Italia. One of the hardest races of the season

Chloe Hosking: There’s so many different races depending on if it’s a tour or a one-day race. If it’s a tour, it’s the Giro Rosa, even though it’s so hard for sprinters. One-day race, it would be Flanders, even though it’s super hard and I’ve never done well in it, but it’s a great monument for cyclists

Dani King: The Flèche Wallonne. I really enjoy it, it’s perfect for me as a rider, it’s tough and rolling, nothing too hilly, powers climbs and there’s always a great atmosphere. Having the men’s race after means there’s a lot of crowds and finishing on the Mur de Huy is always an amazing, albeit painful way to finish

Lucy Garner: My favourite race is Flanders, I’m not very good at it, but everyone is there watching it—such a legendary race

All images courtesty of Wiggle - the world's largest online cycle and tri-sports retailer are proud sponsors of the Wiggle High5 team www.wiggle.co.uk

What music do you listen to before a race, to get the blood pumping?

Amy Pieters: Normally we always have Chloe playing the music

Amy Roberts: It depends, something upbeat to get you in the mood. My taste changes quite a lot

Ana Sanchis: Normally I listen to Salsa, it helps relax me

Chloe Hosking: Well I have a playlist because the girls don’t actually like my taste in music. It’s called ‘Bitches who Slay’ – so it’s exclusively female artists, and it’s a mix of top 100 women’s songs from years ago

Dani King: Sometimes but not always, usually something upbeat like dance, never anything slow

Lucy Garner: Just the top 40, any type, I’m not overly picky

 

Who in the team has the best taste in music?

Amy Pieters: Chloe doesn’t have the best taste in music

Amy Roberts: I like Chloe’s sometimes, she has good and bad playlists

Anna Sanchis: Chloe or Jolien, they’re always listening to music

Chloe Hosking: Me of course!

Dani King: Not Jolien, she has weird Belgium music. We’ve all got quite similar tastes though

Lucy Garner: Maybe Anna Christian, hers is pretty good

wiggle high5 pro womens cylcing team
The team prep before the big race in Paris

How do you unwind after a race?

Amy Pieters: Usually I like to go home and spend time with my boyfriend, but then like yesterday it’s also good to celebrate with the team

Amy Roberts: Just go back to my room and relax, listen to some music. Very little!

Anna Sanchis: Play music and stay in bed and be calm

Chloe Hosking: Just going home, going home and cooking my own meal rather than a hotel buffet. I like to get home the night of the race and chill out, sleep in my own bed and then get up in the morning and go for coffee and brunch at my favourite café in Girona

Dani King: I like to go home if we have the chance, I like to go for a meal with my fiancée. Just spending some time at home. The simple things make me happy, like a nice cup of tea

Lucy Garner: I just like to go home and be with my boyfriend, watching movies. It’s nice to be at home when you spend so much time away

Pro-Files: Emma Johansson on the Women’s Tour & Vacuuming the House to Unwind

When team moral is down, who is the joker in the team to bring it back up?

Amy Pieters: I think Chloe. Funny Aussie humour

Amy Roberts: Giorgia or Chloe, there’s always a good mood

Anna Sanchis: Audrey, she is always positive

Chloe Hosking: Probably Giorgia Bronzini and myself, we’re pretty light hearted characters, though we can be serious at times, but then I like to make fun of everybody, because I’m Australian and that’s what we do

Dani King: Nettie [Edmondson] probably, she’s always a really good person to have around, always joking

Lucy Garner: Mayuko [Hagiwara]—honestly she cracks everyone up, she’s amazing

Pro-Files: Giorgia Bronzini on Trusting your Instinct to Win the Sprint

wiggle high5 pro womens cylcing team
Hosking-esque antics on the podium at La Course. Image: Velofocus

Who has the best sense of style off the bike?

Amy Pieters: That’s a really hard one, we’re always in lycra

Amy Roberts: Difficult one because you very rarely get to see them in normal clothes, we’re nearly always in our team kit, although I’d go with Lucy [Garner]

Anna Sanchis: Giorgia, she has a special sense of style, it’s very different

Chloe Hosking: Maybe Audrey, our Frenchie, she always looks so smart and so beautiful

Dani King: Anna Christian, she’s got really good fashion sense

Lucy Garner: Chloe, I like her style

Which rider in the peloton do you most admire?

Amy Pieters: Marianne Vos, I’m quite amazed what she’s doing to come back to this level

Amy Roberts: I’d say Giorgia, it’s so good to be in the team with her and her experience—she’s such a nice person

Anna Sanchis: There are a lot of good riders, but I really admire Elena Cecchini. She’s not like Vos, for example, but she always tries her hardest. When she gets dropped she never gives up, she always fights until the last moment to come back, I really admire that

“It’s a bit surreal racing against her [Vos], because obviously you’ve watched her all your life, and then suddenly you’re racing against her.

Chloe Hosking: She doesn’t currently ride, she retired a few years ago but Ina-Yoko Teutenberg. I was fortunate enough to race under her for three years and I learned so much from her, and we still have regular contact. She messaged me [yesterday] after the race and said “Good job little one”. I know I can still go to her for advice. She was a very similar rider to me, although she was better—I still hope to get there!

Dani King: Probably Vos, she’s achieved so much, and it’s still good to see her winning every type of race there is

Lucy Garner: I think Marianne Vos, she’s always been someone I’ve looked up to. But seeing her come back from and injury and still at the top of the game I think that’s inspiring. It’s a bit surreal racing against her, because obviously you’ve watched her all your life, and then suddenly you’re racing against her. But you have to switch mentality and think right, I’ve got to beat her now

wiggle high5 pro womens cylcing team
Team manager Rochelle Gilmore getting ready for a ride with the team.

What’s your biggest fear or challenge when racing?

Amy Pieters: My greatest challenge is working on my climb without my sprint getting worse

Amy Roberts: Just being up at the front, it’s really difficult to stay at the front all the time

“I made a big effort on my hill climbing and my sprint really suffered.” – Chloe Hosking

Anna Sanchis: I would like to have a better sprint but everyday when I’m asked to practice this, I say, “maybe tomorrow I’ll practice!”

Chloe Hosking: Hill climbing! But it’s a balance, in 2014 I made a big effort on my hill climbing and my sprint really suffered. This year I haven’t worked on my hill climbing and my sprint is going really well

Dani King: Probably descending still, it’s a mental thing for me in terms of worrying about crashing, there’s work to be done

Lucy Garner: I guess climbing, I think it’s more mental, as soon as I see a climb it fills me with dread

Dani King’s Mid-Week Power Building Training Session

What part of bike racing are you best at or enjoy the most?

Amy Pieters: I really liked to be in breakaways, ride aggressive, and always be at the front. I like sprints, but not really bunch sprints

Amy Roberts: That you can race anywhere in the World and ride your bike, I love that

Anna Sanchis: The climbs of course!

Chloe Hosking: Probably echelons when we’re in the cross winds and we’re really putting it down, probably going 60kmph trying to drop people from behind. That’s the sort of racing I really love. I don’t enjoy bunch sprints much, I find them so scary and I always think—am I going to survive this.

“I like it when it’s tight and you think you’re going to crash—and then you don’t” – Lucy Garner

Dani King: I think when you execute a plan and it comes off and the team wins. When you’ve got a role and you do it perfectly, that means you’ve contributed to the team’s victory

Lucy Garner: I just like the thrill of the finish, I like it when it’s tight and you think you’re going to crash—and then you don’t

wiggle high5 pro womens cylcing team
Autographs for fans at the start of the race

What does being a “team-mate” mean in your mind?

Amy Pieters: Someone who you can trust on the bike. It’s very important that you can give a lot but then also take something back for the team

Amy Roberts: A nice atmosphere to be in, when everyone comes together it just works so well. A lot better than doing things on your own

Anna Sanchis: Just to be mates, we have a really great environment, we understand what each other thinks and needs. I’ve never been on a team where it feels so good

Chloe Hosking: Just somebody who’s willing to sacrifice their chances for you. I do it for girls on the team and then you get it back. That’s what makes our team so successful, because we all know we’ll sacrifice for each other and we know we’ll get our own opportunities

“[A good team mate is] someone who’s there for you on and off the bike.” – Dani King

Dani King: Someone who’s there for you on and off the bike. I guess someone who will sacrifice something of theirs for you. Give everything on the road for someone else and then off the bike there for you as well. There’s ups and downs in sport

Lucy Garner: A teammate for me is not only on the bike but off the bike too. I think within Wiggle High5 we can all have a laugh off the bike, but we’re also honest with each other. In meetings we’ll say if something has gone wrong; but then after we have fun together. Also when you can go to someone and ask for advice, for example how I do with Chloe about sprinting

Wiggle High5 are sponsored by Wiggle – the world’s largest online cycle and tri-sports retailer.

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