Orica-AIS, Bigla and Ale-Cipollini: 2015 Report Cards

Team: Orica-AIS
UCI Ranking: 6/36 (Down from 4 in 2014)

Win Count: 16 (Up from from 13 in 2014) 

Top Riders: Emma Johansson (4th), Katrin Garfoot (27th), Amanda Spratt (36th)

Orica-AIS had a slower than usual start to the season and some bad luck as their star rider Emma Johansson broke her collarbone in a crash at the Novilon Eurocup on March.

They quickly picked up the pace when Lizzie Williams won the SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn, Gracie Elvin won Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, Amanda Spratt won the Giro del Trentino in June and Rachel Neylan won the overall title at the Trophee d’Or Feminin.

Johansson returned stronger than ever to give the team a victory at Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria, stage wins and third overall at Euskal Emakumeen Bira, fourth overall at the Aviva Women’s Tour, double victories at the Swedish road and time trial championships, and overall wins at Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen and Lotto Belgium Tour.

All-in-all the team collected 16 wins this season, up from 13 last year.

What to expect in 2016

The team will be making a series of changes to their roster for next season, with the loss of a handful of riders including Johansson (to Wiggle-Honda), Valentina Scandolara (to Cylance) and Loes Gunnewijk, who retired. However, the team always has a strong presence on the international circuit and we expect no less from the Australian-based team next year, especially with the excitement of the inaugural Women’s WorldTour approaching.

Biggest signing for 2016

The team picked up two strong riders for next year with three-time Giro Rosa stage winner Annemiek Van Vleuten (from Bigla Pro Cycling), two-time La Route de France stage winner Loren Rowney (from Velocio-SRAM) and American Tayler Wiles (from Velocio-SRAM). The three powerhouse riders will no doubt bring Orica-AIS the same amount of success they each gave their former teams.

One to watch in 2016

The team has an Australian-dominant roster lined up for 2016, and all of them are capable of winning races, however, we think the one to watch will be newcomer Annemiek Van Vleuten. She is a solid all-rounder and a proven winner in some of the biggest races in the world, a formidable replacement to fill Johansson’s void.

Team: Bigla Pro Cycling
UCI Ranking: 5/36 (Up from 15 in 2014)

Win Count: 15 (Up from from 5 in 2014) 

Top Riders: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (6th), Annemiek Van Vleuten (17th), Lotta Lepisto (29th)

Bigla Pro Cycling really amped up their presence on the world-class stage this year. They recruited key riders that helped the squad notch up some pretty big victories, from just five in 2014 to 15 this year. They also jumped up the UCI ranking from 15th to 5th, which is no small feat.

Stand-out performances came from Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, who took multiple victories at the Africa Continental Championships and at Auensteiner-Radsporttage. She also had top-10 performances at the Giro Rosa, GP de Plouay and Vargarda World Cups and Euskal Emakumeen Bira. She won the final UCI race of the season on the elite women’s calendar at the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, which bumped her up into the top 10 in the UCI rankings.

Other wins came from Annemiek Van Vleuten at the Giro Rosa, Euskal Emakumeen Bira and the Giro Toscana. Lotta Lepisto also brought in three victories at her national championships and at the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen.

What to expect in 2016

The team lost eight riders total, including Van Vlueten to Orica-AIS, which will be hard to make up for. However, with Moolan-Pasio on the rise, the team is sure to stay on the top step of the podium in major stage races and one-day races on the Women’s WorldTour next year. The team will also be motivated by the signing of new co-title sponsor, Cervelo, and they will be racing as Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling in 2016.

Biggest signing for 2016

The team signed several up-and-comers including Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin, Canadian under-23 road champion, for the next season. Pilote-Fortin joins other young riders Clara Koppenburg and Lisa Klein, who the team have committed to developing.

One to watch in 2016

Moolman-Pasio made huge gains among the world-class field this year and she is focused on improving her strength and skills in the one-day races and stage races. The sky is the limit for her in 2016.

Team: Ale-Cipollini
UCI Ranking: 9/36 (Down from 8th in 2014)

Win Count: 9 (Down from 10 in 2014) 

Top Riders: Shelley Olds (15th), Annalisa Cucinotta (56th), Flavia Oliveira (60th)

What can we say about Ale Cipollini other than, ‘wow, that kit!' And they came in and out of the 2015 season with a bang, backing up those bright fluorescent colours. The team got off to a winning start with Annalisa Cucinotta taking the first victory of the year at the Ladies Tour of Qatar and the first leader’s jersey of that race. On top of that, her teammates Marta Tagliaferro and Arianna Fidanza were third and seventh respectively that day. Talk about making a great first impression.

Their success fizzled during the middle portion of the season but once they re-signed Shelley Olds (from Bigla), they were back in the race. The American sprinter picked up three back-to-back wins at the White Spot-Delta Road Race, Ladies Tour of Norway and La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta. Cucinotta also picked up a big stage win at the Giro Rosa. Not to go unnoticed, Malgorzta Jasinska had wins at the Polish road championships and the overall title at the Giro Toscana.

What to expect in 2016

Ale Cipollini have lost their star American sprinter Shelley Olds to the new Cylance team for 2016, however, they can still rely on Cucinotta’s sprint next year. They also signed former world champion Marta Bastianelli and all-rounder Emilia Fahlin, who will add strength and experience to their roster.

Biggest signing for 2016

Marta Bastianelli was the biggest signing for the team next year. She won the road world title for Italy in 2007 and recently supported the Italian national team at the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. It’s been a number of years since she has competed in a full season but she will no doubt prove that she is still at the top of her game.

One to watch in 2016

Watch out for Cucinotta and Tagliaferro to light up the bunch sprints again this coming season. With a little more consistency they could give the best sprinters in the world a run for their money.


Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.