Wiggle-Honda have announced its team for the inaugural Women's Tour, which starts in Oundle, Northamptonshire on Wednesday, with the dual objectives of stage wins and a good GC placing. The team which made its debut in the peloton last year, have embraced the new event and team manager and rider Rochelle Gilmore is looking forward to when the flag drops to start the racing on stage one.
"It's finally here," said Gilmore. "Tomorrow we will all meet together in the UK at the race hotel and it all becomes a reality. A world class UCI 2.1 category race in the UK, our team's home country. I'm not usually nervous, especially when all my athletes are on top form, however it's probably a good sign.
"We're in shape to perform well so we'll be putting pressure on ourselves. Our six athletes will take the start line in good health and injury free so they've already ticked the first box…. And are ready for day one. I shouldn't be nervous, a couple of our Wiggle Honda athletes have won a home Olympic Games Gold so they know, and respond well to pressure."
The six-rider team includes two Olympic champions in Dani King and Laura Trott and both are looking forward to racing on home roads. For Trott, stage four is set to be a special day as the race starts her home town of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.
"I am really excited about riding the Women's Tour," Trott said. "To have such a major race in the UK is amazing and a great way to show people how far women's road cycling has come. I am obviously most excited about the stage that goes through my hometown."
Two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini will be the protected rider for the flat sprinters stages while Linda Villumsen will be chasing a high general classification placing.
"I'm really excited about the race for sure," said Bronzini. "A lot of the stages will be up and down, up and down, and I hope that Linda can have the same form that she showed in Flèche Wallonne. I will help her to stay in the front, so, maybe her and I will be a good mix for the finishes.
"I'm hoping for Linda that she can be on the final podium in the general classification," said Bronzini. "I would like to give her a hand because I think there will be many more opportunities for myself. I want to be in good shape for the team, and also for the British riders, Dani and Laura."
"I have been ill with the flu and having followed the doctor's advice, I have been withdrawn from the race," said Rowsell. "I am obviously very disappointed not to be riding as I had been really looking forward to being part of the event in it's first year.
"I know the organisers have worked very hard to make it happen and I'm sure it will be a fantastic event," the British time trial champion said. "I will of course be following the event online and looking forward to watching the TV coverage which is a massive step forward for women's cycling."
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling line up for the Women’s Tour: Charlotte Becker, Giorgia Bronzini, Dani King, Peta Mullens, Laura Trott and Linda Villumsen.
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