|The brand new Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team was presented to the media last Friday at London’s prestigious Millbank Media Centre on the banks of the River Thames. The 12-strong international roster of riders was introduced one by one by Eurosport’s voice of cycling David Harmon.
The team is led by Australian Commonwealth Games Champion Rochelle Gilmore and Italian two-time World Champion, but includes three of the biggest stars in British cycling in Olympic Champions Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott. The British contingent is completed by World Junior Time Trial Champion Elinor Barker, and Amy Roberts, both of whom are stepping up into the senior ranks for the first time.
Bronzini is joined by Italian Beatrice Bartelloni, while Gilmore’s compatriot Lauren Kitchen is the team’s second Australian. The team is completed by exciting New Zealand talent Emily Collins and seven-time Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, they seem to be very engaged,” said Martin Talbot, Wiggle marketing director told the cameras of the Global Cycling Network (GCN). “There’s a considerable amount of confidence. I think that each of the athletes are looking at the achievements of some of their peers and thinking ‘hello, I’m part of something really special,’ and so, from our point of view, to be able to be part of that is fantastic.”
With the support of sponsors like Wiggle and Honda Europe, the team aims to raise the bar of professionalism in women’s cycling, with every rider given everything she needs to achieve her full potential. Despite being at the beginning of its very first year, the team is full of ambition, with some of the biggest races of the year as definite targets.
“We’re aiming for World Cup wins and I think a World Championship with Georgia [Bronzini] is not impossible this year. With the young track riders we can put a lead-out train together,” explained rider and team owner Gilmore.
Along with two of the its three Honda team cars, the team also presented its 2013 Colnago C59 team bikes, equipped with Campagnolo Super Record EPS components and Bora Ultra Two wheels.
“Rochelle’s set out a very professional team,” Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope told GCN. “Explored every avenue for equipment, clothing, sponsors, so it’s coming together pretty well.
“We’re targeting the flatter races, the sprint finishes, small groups, for this year,” Cope explained. “There’s a lot of racing like that, especially in the early season, and we’ve got a couple of the best sprinters in the World; so it should be good.”
With so much to learn from their new, more experienced teammates, the younger riders in the team are looking forward to getting the 2013 season under way.
“Wiggle Honda’s a great team,” said Dani King to GCN. “We’ve only got together for the first time, but already I can see how professional it is, and I can’t wait to get racing with the girls.”
Elinor Barker, Amy Collins, Dani King and Laura Trott travelled to Manchester after the presentation to join up with British Cycling as they prepare for the World Track Championships in Minsk, Belarus in late February.
The rest of the team returned to the service course in Belgium, with Beatrice Bartelloni, Giorgia Bronzini, Emily Collins, Rochelle Gilmore, Lauren Kitchen and Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier bound for the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar between January 29th and February 1st.