Australian joins compatriot Taryn Heather on Swiss-based women’s pro squad
After nearly four months of uncertainty, Jo Hogan, one of Australia's most consistent women's pro cyclists over the past three years can rest easy now that she has found a home on the Swiss-based Bigla Cycling Team.
Hogan, who finished second to Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) at the 2013 Australian Road Nationals, joins compatriot Taryn Heather and 10 European riders who have committed to Bigla for the 2014 season.
"I chose to bring Jo to the team, because I think she fits in well with our concept," Bigla team manager, Emil Zimmermann told Cyclingnews. "She is an all-rounder and can therefore be used in classic and stage races. I look forward to a successful year with her."
In July, Hogan was abruptly released from her team of a year-and-a-half, Spanish squad Bizkaia-Durango, following its mid-season financial woes.
Hogan spoke of her sudden departure and utter disappointment in great detail with Cyclingnews in August before failing to secure a slot on the Australian World Championship team. The 31-year old then returned home to Melbourne to resume her nursing career to make ends meet.
"It was a difficult time. Bizkaia had commitments and I believe they should have followed up on them," Hogan explained to Cyclingnews.
"I was left in the lurch and without team financial support I had to go back to work. It's been challenging juggling 30 hours of nursing duties with 20 hours of training, but I was left with no other options."
In another blow, the 2010 Australian National Road Series champion was informed she no longer met the criteria for her Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) scholarship, and thus found herself without a domestic squad or a bike leading into the final two months of preparation for nationals.
Luckily for Hogan, a recipient of the 2011 Amy Gillett Foundation Scholarship, Boss Racing Team picked her up for the Tour of Bright in late November. Hogan joined Sophie Mackay, Rachel Ward, Lisa Anthill and Megan Bagworth in the Victorian Alps to help Boss finish second in overall team standings, while individually Hogan took fourth in general classification.
Fully recovered from the mental scars of Bizkaia and the physical scars from crashes at Omloop van Borsele and the Tour of Flanders, Hogan is looking forward to the new year and returning to the form that helped her podium at the nationals in two of the last three editions and capture the 2013 Victorian Road Championship.
"It is very exciting to be joining Bigla, and a welcome relief for sure," said Hogan. "But at the moment my primary focus is on winning the national jersey in January. I came so close last year and I have had to watch Gracie [Elvin] on the start line wearing the green and gold stripes for a year and it's been hard to swallow. I have unfinished business in Ballarat, and then it's off to Switzerland."