Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling have announced their line up for 2017, with ten existing riders remaining and five new members joining the bumblebee black and orange squad.
Team Owner and Manager Rochelle Gilmore says she’s “extremely excited" about the new additions and that she feels the team is now “very capable of winning the World Tour."
The Aussie ex pro said: “The team was selected and strengthened very carefully and strategically with the input of our current athletes and staff. We’re a very close, united, family style team and believe very much in the strength of our roster for 2017. We’ve created a team very capable of winning the WorldTour. And we’ll focus on the specific individual World Tour events most important to our partners and their markets."
The newest UK signing is 19-year-old Grace Garner, who joins her elder sister Lucy Garner. Spring-boarding from Podium Ambition, she was a highly successful junior rider and this will be her second year in the Elite peloton. She commented: “I know being on the team will be perfect for my development on the bike. I'm ready to take on board all information I can and to work hard. Hopefully over a longer period of time I will have stronger roles and have a depth of experience."
“I think having my sister there was also a reason why Wiggle High5 was the best team to join as there is such a strong bond between us" - Grace Garner
She added: “I think having my sister there was also a reason why Wiggle High5 was the best team to join as there is such a strong bond between us."
Not all of the new faces are completely new. Emilia Fahlin returns to the team, after a year out with Alé-Cipollini. The former Swedish represented her country at the Rio Olympics and won her home round of the Women’s WorldTour, the Crescent Vårgårda road race.
Fahlin said: “I've had a year away in Italy which has given me a lot of new experience and I got the chance to develop a few other sides of myself as a rider. I've proved not just to myself but also others I'm capable to compete on a higher level all year and that I also can win bike races again. I look forward to take on the racing next year with the Wiggle High5 girls, keep building as an athlete and contribute to show the team up front in the races!"
Former Danish Road Race, Time Trial and Track Champion Julie Leth also joins the team, from Hitec Products. She’s just recovered from “career threatening injuries" following a crash in 2015 and worked hard at the World Champs in Doha to help team mate Amelie Diderikson to a surprise victory.
“I think Wiggle High5 is the right place for me, to take this next step," Leth said. “I see the team as a well run professional environment, where I will get to work with some of the best riders in the peloton. I believe I can gain a lot, by drawing on their experience."
"We will have many options to play with in every terrain. That's how racing gets fun!" Claudia Lichtenberg
lso joining is former German Champion Claudia Lichtenberg. The 31-year-old from Munich is a past winner of the Giro d’Italia and the Route de France – and is known for her climbing talents. This will be her last season racing professionally, and she said: “I'm happy to do this last year of my career with one of the biggest teams. I'm looking forward to create the races together with many strong riders. We will have many options to play with in every terrain. That's how racing gets fun!"
Also joining is former track Points Race World Champion, Australian Amy Cure. Having spent 2016 focusing on the track in preparation for Rio, she’s now getting ready to go back to the road and said: “I hope I can learn a lot from the more experienced road riders in the team. Developing my road racing skills while also being able to help out the team using my strengths that I have developed form my track background."
Alongside the five new riders, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling will retain a ten-rider core from 2016. That includes Giorgia Bronzini, who had intended to retire after 2016, as well as Rio Silver medallist Emma Johansson who is also delaying her retirement. Elisa Longo Borghini – who claimed Bronze in the Rio road race also returns, as does track Omnium Bronze medallist Belgium’s Jolien D’hoore.
The full line up for Wiggle High5 will be:
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Amy Cure (Australia), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Grace Garner (Great Britain), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Emma Johansson (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark), Claudia Lichtenberg (Germany), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Amy Roberts (Great Britain), Anna Sanchis (Spain)