Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emma Johansson has joined the black and orange team at the number one spot in the UCI Rankings after some spectacular results this spring. The Swedish Champion dominated last week’s Emakumeen Bira, winning two stages and the overall, despite suffering from stomach cramps before the race's prologue. Her victories in Spain came after several notable podium places, particularly the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche, and just before Wednesday’s next event in the Women’s World Tour, La Flèche Wallonne.
“I’ve just arrived at our hotel in Belgium, and I’m still recovering from Bira,” Johansson said. “I feel tired today, but of course we will be ready when start is on Wednesday!
“The team has been riding very strong lately and I'm full of motivation for continuing this good flow we have going on at the moment!”
Johansson last occupied the World Number One spot in 2013, when she finished the season as the best rider in the World. The Swedish Champion is looking ahead to Wednesday’s race, where she has finished on the podium three times over the years.
“It's fun and it's a real accomplishment to be World Number One,” Johansson smiled. “but to be honest it's not somehing I really think about or focus on.”
Johansson will be joined in Wednesday’s Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team by Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, whose performance in Spain saw her finish second in Durango-Durango and take fourth overall in the Emakumeen Bira. The Italian has also finished on the Flèche Wallonne podium - second in 2013 and third in 2014 - and so will be among the favourites to take the victory this year.
In addition to the two former podium-finishers, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s other two road race National Champions will take the start on Wednesday. Spanish Champion Anna Sanchis has recovered from the illness that forced her to sit out the Emakumeen Bira, while Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara will look to build on the form that saw her support her teammates so strongly in Spain.
Also looking to carry their form over from the Emakumeen Bira will be French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Olympic Champion Dani King, who complete the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling line up.
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling line up for La Flèche Wallonne
Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Emma Johansson (Sweden), Dani King (Great Britain), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Anna Sanchis (Spain)
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse
Slovakian alpine skier narrowly beats Millie Knight to capture gold photo Getty Images