Giorgia Bronzini will have the honour of leading her Wiggle Honda team at the inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France on Sunday in Paris. The 89km race consists of 13 laps of the iconic 7.5km Paris circuit of Paris' Avenue des Champs-Élysées which is traditionally ridden by the men's peloton on the final day of the Tour de France.
"I feel good, I think I have good shape after the Giro, and having won a race on the track last week," Bronzini said who recently won a stage at the Giro Rosa. "It is a really good chance for us so I think everyone will be a bit nervous, trying to do the maximum to win."
The cobblestones of the Champs-Élysées will present new challenges to the majority of the peloton, Bronzini included.
"It's not a typical finish that I like, because there are pavé at the end," she said. "To win on the cobbles you need to be quite heavy on the bike and I'm one of the lightest sprinters in the bunch! If we finish in a bunch sprint it will be difficult for me to win against the big sprinters but I will try my maximum."
For just the second year, the lap of the Champs-Élysées is extended to include the Arc de Triomphe and Bronzini is well aware of the historical opportunity of not only racing La Course but the full length of the famous stretch of road.
"For us it is a really good experience and I hope that the girls put on a good show; that is the most important thing," she added. "If the people that are there think that women's cycling can be a good show then maybe we can have another opportunity to have stages at the Tour de France."
Wiggle Honda managing director Rochelle Gilmore will be watching the race from the commentary box, from where she will be working for British broadcaster ITV4, and is excited to watch her team race.
"The significance of this event is incomprehensible," Gilmore said. "It will not be until our athletes line up on the Champs-Élysées that they realise the magnitude of this Tour de France event.
"This is history in the making, and words cannot describe how proud I am that Wiggle Honda will line up for the first ever women's Tour de France event, La Course. It's the most exciting and satisfying moment I've experienced in all my years involved in our beautiful sport."
Aiding Bronzini will be Beatrice Bartelloni, who recently won a bronze medal at the European Track Championships, German Charlotte Becker, Swede Emilia Fahlin and New Zealand Criterium Champion Emily Collins.
Making her debut for the team will be St Kitts and Nevis rider Kathryn Bertine, who campaigned with groups like Le Tour Entier, to ensure that Tour organiser ASO would stage La Course for the very first time.
Wiggle Honda for La Course by Le Tour de France: Giorgia Bronzini, Beatrice Bartelloni, Charlotte Becker, Kathryn Bertine, Emily Collins and Emilia Fahlin.
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