Bronzini delays retirement for another season

Italian pens extension with Wiggle High5 and eyes up 2017 Worlds

Having previously announced she would hang up her wheels at the end of the 2016 season, Giorgia Bronzini has delayed her retirement and penned a new one-year deal with Wiggle High5.

The Italian had marked out the UCI Road World Championships as the final outing of her career, but has revealed the about-face just one day ahead of the planned final race – Saturday’s elite women’s road race.

"After the Olympic Games I had a talk with Rochelle Gilmore [Wiggle High5 manager] and she told me what the project for the team was for the next season. She asked if I was interested in this project and the team of next year," said Bronzini

"I also spoke to Elisa [Longo Borghini], and she said to me 'please Giorgia do another season!' because this year we had a lot of time to spend together, to work together, and that was really good.

"So I decided to ride another season. I have a good feeling with this team, especially from the middle of the season to the end. I would like to be one of the main, experienced riders, and share my experience with the other riders. That's for sure."

Bronzini is just 33 years of age and, in outlining her retirement plans last year, acknowledged it was an early exit, but explained that she wanted to bow out while she was still enjoying cycling and performing well.

"I don't want to force myself so that I hate it. That's one of the worst things you can do," she said at the time.

Bronzini is a three-time world champion – twice on the road and once on the track. On Saturday she is in with a shout of making it a treble of World road race titles, though she will have to get the better of a strong field of sprinters on Doha's Pearl island.

After winning two stages of this year's Giro Rosa, it was clear she still had the ability to perform at the highest level, and Gilmore even marked out the 2017 Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway, as a chance to go out on top of the world.

"Encouraging Giorgia to delay her retirement was no hard task, especially with the World Championships in Norway at the end of 2017 really suiting her strengths," said the Wiggle High5 manager, who has had Bronzini under her wing for the past four seasons.

"It was my strongest desire to ensure Giorgia continued her involvement with Wiggle High5, she is the heart and backbone of the team, on and off the bike. She's a natural leader and her ability to make her teammates believe in themselves is amazing. The team's success - in general - is very much owed to the passion and commitment Gio has put into this team over the past 4 years, she's our team captain and highly respected by all athletes, staff and partners of the team.

"For those who have the privilege of intimately knowing Giorgia Bronzini know that she's an incredibly amazing person, she is the epitome of professionalism and has a perfect perspective on life which positively influences a team environment. I've been extremely honoured to work with Gio throughout the later part of her career and wish her every success during her final 12 months as a world-class athlete."

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