Italian looking for strong results in build-up to Track Worlds
After opening her 2014 season with a trio of stage wins and overall victory in Australia's Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) hopes to capitalise on her good form at the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
Bronzini has three stage wins at the Ladies Tour of Qatar in her palmares, as well as second place overall finishes in both 2009 and 2010, and the 30-year-old Italian hopes for another strong showing in the four-day stage race which begins on Tuesday, February 4.
"I don't think it will be like my last race in Australia because here it is another kind of race," Bronzini said. "In the last month I've worked hard in my preparation for the track Worlds so I have had good training and hope to feel good in the race.
"Overall, tomorrow will be the first long road race of the season, with the best riders in the peloton too, so it will be hard to try to be perfect on the first day. Normally in a stage race, I feel better from day to day, so tomorrow will be hard for me, but I will try to be at the front.
"I will try to be present at the focus point of the stage, and I know I will have my teammates around me," Bronzini said. "For sure the best girls will be the Australians, and those that have been in the warm weather until now."
Alongside Bronzini will be Australian Criterium Championship silver medallist Peta Mullens, who will make her international debut for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling after several strong performances in Australia's summer. Charlotte Becker, like Bronzini, has finished second overall in the Tour of Qatar, and was also a key part of the team's performance last month in Australia, while Swedish champion Emilia Fahlin will be making her debut for Wiggle Honda.
Beatrice Bartelloni will make her 2014 road debut in Qatar, having ridden a strong Track World Cup season for the Italian National Team and, having ridden strongly in the Australian summer, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team manager - and 2011 Qatar stage winner - Rochelle Gilmore steps in to replace Linda Villumsen.
The race will also see the debut of new directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke.
"The girls are really motivated," said Gilmore. "They're here with new staff this year, and they really like Franky. They think he's bringing a lot of positive qualities to the team.
"Obviously, we know that Emilia, Lotte and Peta are really strong, because they raced in Australia and they've got good form, and they've been training in Australia. Giorgia's been training with Bea in Spain, so the team's strong and everybody's motivated.
"I think we'll have a good race."
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling line-up for the Ladies' Tour of Qatar: Beatrice Bartelloni, Charlotte Becker, Giorgia Bronzini, Emilia Fahlin, Rochelle Gilmore and Peta Mullens