Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling is delighted to announce the line up of the black and orange team for 2017, with ten riders from the 2016 squad returning, and five new faces joining in the New Year. The team took 35 victories in the UCI calendar last year, including five National Championships, with riders taking Three Medals in the Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m extremely excited about the 5 new additions to Wiggle High5 for 2017, the team was selected and strengthened very carefully and strategically with the input of our current athletes and staff,” said Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling Team Owner and Manager Rochelle Gilmore. “We’re a very close, united, family style team and believe very much in the strength of our roster for 2017.
“We’ve created a team very capable of winning the WorldTour,” Gilmore aded. “And we’ll focus on the specific individual World Tour events most important to our partners and their markets.”
The first new name for 2017 is one familiar to the black and orange colours, as Emilia Fahlin returns to Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling after a year with Alé-Cipollini. The former Swedish Champion was one of the hardest working riders during her previous time with the team, while 2016 saw her represent Sweden at the Rio Olympics and win her home round of the Women’s WorldTour, the Crescent Vårgårda road race.
“I'm really happy to be back in the black and orange with Wiggle High5 for the 2017 season!” Fahlin exclaimed.
“I've had a year away in Italy which has given me a lot of new experience and I got the chance to develop a few other sides of myself as a rider. I've proved not just to myself but also others I'm capable to compete on a higher level all year and that I also can win bike races again.
“I look forward to take on the racing next year with the Wiggle High5 girls, keep building as an athlete and contribute to show the team up front in the races!”
A second Scandinavian new face for 2017 will be former Danish Champion Julie Leth. Having been a National Champion in both the road race and time trial, as well as multiple times on the track, Leth will add to Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s strong roster of all-rounders.
Leth recovered from career-threatening injuries, following a crash in 2015, to return to the top of the sport. She represented Denmark in the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she helped compatriot Amelie Diderikson to a surprise victory.
“I think Wiggle High5 is the right place for me, to take this next step,” Leth said. “I see the team as a well run professional environment, where I will get to work with some of the best riders in the peloton. I believe I can gain a lot, by drawing on their experience.
“I cannot wait to race in Wiggle High5 kit, and be part of such a great team,” she added. “The team seems to work well together on and off the bike, and I think I will blend in well with the rest of the team. I am really looking forward to 2017.”
Adding to Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s stage race strength is former German Champion Claudia Lichtenberg. The 31-year-old from Munich is a past winner of the Giro d’Italia, the Route de France and the sadly now-defunct Tour de l’Aude and is one of the biggest climbing talents in the women’s peloton.
This year’s Giro d’Italia saw Lichtenberg finish fourth overall, as she was one of the few riders able to compete with Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Mara Abbott in the mountains.
“I'm very excited to join the team,” Lichtenberg said. “After the Olympics I decided to race for one more season. I'm happy to do this last year of my career with one of the biggest teams. I'm looking forward to create the races together with many strong riders. We will have many options to play with in every terrain. That's how racing gets fun!
“My biggest goal will be to enjoy the races with the team and to be part of nice victories. Personally I'm very much looking forward to the Ardennes Classics. This is another very nice step for women’s cycling. Also the Giro Rosa will be a big goal for me. For big hard and long stage races like this you need a strong team with a good atmosphere and i'm sure to find that in Wiggle High5.”
Australian Amy Cure adds another layer of all round power to the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team. Having spent 2016 focusing on the Rio velodrome, the former Points Race World Champion will be returning her focus to the road in 2017.
“I’m very excited to join Wiggle High5,” Cure said. “I’m looking forward to see what I can offer the team, as well as learning a lot along the way. I hope I can learn a lot from the more experienced road riders in the team. Developing my road racing skills while also being able to help out the team using my strengths that I have developed form my track background.
“I hope to develop my racing skills to that next level. As well as being able to transform my power from the track to the road.”
The final new rider to complete Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s roster for 2017, as confirmation of the team’s commitment to nurturing young British talent, is 19-year-old Grace Garner, who joins elder sister Lucy in the black and orange colours. Like sister Lucy, Grace was one of the outstanding junior riders in the World and, following a first international season in the Elite peloton, she will be looking to realise her potential.
“I chose to join the team because I think it's an opportunity which is a huge step for me to take, but I know being on the team will be perfect for my development on the bike,” Garner said. “I think having my sister there was also a reason why Wiggle High5 was the best team to join as there is such a strong bond between us, I think having that with a team mate means there is a lot of trust and commitment already.
“I think my main goals are to learn and to be part of many successes within the team. I'm ready to take on board all information I can and to work hard. Hopefully over a longer period of time I will have stronger roles and have a depth of experience.”
Alongside the five new riders, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling will retain a ten-rider core from 2016, which includes most of the team’s big stars. Having previously intended to retire after October’s World Championships, former two-time road rainbow jersey winner Giorgia Bronzini has decided to continue for at least one more season. Bronzini will continue to ride alongside Italian compatriot Elisa Longo Borghini, with the 2015 Tour of Flanders winner now the possessor of an Olympic Bronze Medal from the Rio road race.
Also delaying her retirement from the team is Swedish Champion Emma Johansson, who added a second Olympic Silver Medal in Rio, to that won in Beijing eight years before. The 33-year-old will be developing her post-riding career as she continues to mentor the younger athletes of the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team.
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s third medalist from Rio, Belgium’s Jolien D’hoore, who won Bronze in the Omnium on the track, will also be changing her focus back to road racing. Despite her track focus, the former Belgian Champion took seven victories on the road in 2016, including the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, and 2017 should see her reaffirm herself as one of the top road sprinters in the World.
Another rider making the transition back to the road, after a 2016 on the track, is former World Team Pursuit and Omnium Champion Nettie Edmondson. The Australian possesses one of the fastest sprints in the women’s peloton, but is also a tireless and selfless worker for her teammates. More sprint power returns in 2017 in the shape of two-time junior World Champion Lucy Garner, whose rapidly growing experience will help to mentor her younger sister.
Four more selfless teammates complete the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team in the shape of Great Britain’s Amy Roberts, France’s Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Spain’s Anna Sanchis and Japan’s Mayuko Hagiwara. All these athletes are exceptionally strong riders, particularly against the clock; with Cordon-Ragot, Sanchis and Hagiwara being French National, Spanish National and Asian Continental Champions respectively. Despite having ridden hundreds of kilometres in the service of their teammates though, all riders have some excellent victories to their names.
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling Line Up - 2017
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Amy Cure (Australia), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Grace Garner (Great Britain), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Emma Johansson (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark), Claudia Lichtenberg(Germany), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Amy Roberts (Great Britain), Anna Sanchis (Spain)
photos Janos Schmidt