Rochelle Gilmore, owner of the Wiggle High5 women’s cycling team, has announced that the team will not be registering on for the 2019 season.
In a statement released in the YouTube video below, Gilmore explains that while she has had the time of her life with Wiggle High5, she now needs a break, stating: “I personally have never in my life had any time out of anything. Being a professional athlete, you’re always thinking about the next race. I switched straight into being the owner-manager of a women’s cycling team and for the past six years I haven’t had an evening or a day without having to answer e-mails or phone calls on the spot."
“Am I tired of women’s cycling? Never. I couldn’t live without women’s cycling. It’s in my blood. It’s my passion"
The team was founded by Gilmore in 2012 with two staff members and 13 athletes and has grown to a team with 14 members of staff and 17 athletes, all paid, with up to five bikes per athlete, some of the riders paid six-figure salaries and 143 wins to the team’s name.
Throughout its five years Wiggle High5 has boasted a number of top athletes, including, amongst many others, the likes of Giorgia Bronzini, Laura Trott, Linda Villumsen, Jolien D'Hoore, Kathryn Bertine and Katie Archibald.
In the announcement video, Gilmore, says: “the idea of founding a women’s cycling team was to make the most professional environment possible for athletes who were professional in every sense of the word, but who just needed an environment that was also that.
“That was the challenge and what I wanted to achieve with the women’s cycling team. For me the satisfying thing is having started that professionalism. We achieved some pretty special things."
She goes on to say: “I’m really looking forward to having a month or two after this season to not have the responsibility of having to be on call 24/7 for over 30 people. Spend time with family and friends. Go to a wedding. Maybe have a relationship. I’ve never had the time."
But it doesn’t look like she will be leaving the sport completely. In fact, Gilmore finished the announcement by stating:
“For the immediate future I’m not sure what that holds but there are some big plans.
“Am I tired of women’s cycling? Never. I couldn’t live without women’s cycling. It’s in my blood. It’s my passion. It’s all I ever think about, and not just the racing. The development of it. This is something that I’m going to be committed to for the next four years - I’m not walking away from women’s cycling because I couldn’t live without it."
Gilmore stepping down from her role at Wiggle High5 will certainly be a loss to women’s cycling, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the members of the 2018 team, which includes 2016 Olympic Team Persuit gold medallist and 2017 World Champion Omnium rider Katie Archibald.