“This is my dream team,” were the words uttered by one of the world’s most formidable sprinters, Giorgia Bronzini as she addressed the media at a press conference to launch the 2014 Wiggle Honda Team. Big words when they come from somebody who has over 70 victories on the road including two World Road Cycling Championship titles.
Her words simply brought to the fore what everybody else in the room was thinking. Before us stood 16 of the world’s most talented athletes. Their physiques honed within an inch of their lives, their hair and make-up flawless, followed by an entourage of staff. Such a contrast to women’s teams of the past.
Forging the way for this change is team founder, Rochelle Gilmore. She too is perfectly presented. But instead of wearing the team kit to the conference, she is dressed in a sharp suit and killer heels. She looks every inch the successful business woman, and that is exactly what she is. It’s clear Rochelle is running a well-oiled machine, and judging by the success of the team’s inaugural season, it is working.
Wiggle Honda have set a new standard in women’s cycling and a lot of other teams are now starting to follow suit. Rochelle puts the team’s success down to team selection:
“I think this team has been so successful on the bike because rider selection was very specific. Each rider here brings something very special. Each rider here shares the same passion to develop women’s cycling,” she says.
With 305,000 twitter followers, it would appear that the Wiggle Honda Team’s influence is pretty substantial. Last year saw incredible success for the team and this year looks sets to be no different. The World Track Cycling Championships in Cali saw the women take home yet another Team Pursuit title while the Revolution Series at the London Velodrome just two weeks ago highlighted the power of the teams’ star – Laura Trott – when she took a clean sweep in the omnium.
It is no surprise that expectations for the team this year are high
“Last year I expected three wins in our first year. We actually had 22 UCI wins and over 50 race wins,” says Rochelle Gilmore. “It is a hard year to follow our first year was really phenomenal but we have added some strength to the team. We have some big ambitions, of course the Giro d’Italia is very important for us, we would like to win a stage there if not a few. It is still one of the most prestigious women’s races,” she continues.
In addition to this, La Route de France and La Course at the Tour de France will also feature highly on the list. “La Course is a huge step for women’s cycling so it has to be high on our list too,” says Rochelle.
Most exciting for the team members however seems to be the upcoming Women’s Tour in Britain: “The most important goal for us is the new race – the Women’s Tour. This is the biggest thing to ever hit Britain. There is so much hype around this race, all of the best riders will be there. We will be doing everything possible to put on a good show.”
Five riders have been named out of the six. It is no surprise that being a British race, Olympic Champions Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott have made the cut. World class sprinter Georgia Bronzini has also secured her place on the team along with New Zealander. Linda Villumsen.
As for the sixth spot – competition is fierce so watch this space!
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