Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling is ready to get the 2016 UCI road season started at the Santos Women’s Tour in Adelaide, South Australia, this weekend. The second edition of the four-day stage race has been elevated to a 2.2 ranking in the UCI Women’s Elite calendar, and will be run concurrently with parts of the men’s WorldTour race, the Santos Tour Down Under. The black and orange team’s three Australians will be present on the start line, as double World Champion Nettie Edmondson takes a break from her track preparations to join Peta Mullens and Chloe Hosking to race in her home city.
“It’s my third year with the newly named Wiggle High5 team and my first road tour with them on Australian soil which is exciting,” Mullens, who came close to successfully defending her Australian National Road title last week. “Aside from Road Nationals I haven’t raced on the road for 18 months, which was the Giro D’Italia in 2014 so I’m not sure what to expect from myself.
"The team has changed composition a lot over that time but I’m racing with girls I’m familiar with and I know they’ll be well prepared for some top-notch racing."
The Australian National Championships was the first competitive road race appearance from Hosking since July, after a hand injury prematurely finished her 2015 season. The Canberran finished the race in fifth place - taking the sprint at the head of the first big group - giving her confidence for the coming challenges.
“I'm really looking forward to meeting up with the Wiggle High5 team in Adelaide later this week,” she said. “I competed in the tour with the team last year and the quality of racing was fantastic. With the new UCI ranking and the addition of other international teams I think we're in for some really fantastic racing.
“As an Australian it's exciting to see more UCI races come to the Oceania region,” Hosking added. “I'm really excited that I get to line up with a full strength wiggle high five squad. I think we can do some damage.”
Alongside the three Aussies will be three of the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s British riders; Dani King and Amy Roberts will be racing on the Australian roads for the first time, while the Santos Women’s Tour will see former two-time Junior World Champion Lucy Garner make her competitive debut in the black and orange jersey.
“It will be my first time racing in Australia and I'm really looking forward to kicking off the 2016 season racing the Santos Women's Tour,” Garner said. “It will be my first time racing with Wiggle High5 so I'm looking forward to getting to know the girls and helping to achieve the best result for the team.
“It will be a whole new experience,” she added. “The level will be high and the racing will be tough but it's a good first race to get stuck in to.”
“I'm really excited to be kicking off my first full road season in Australia with the TDU,” said King. “I've been staying in Adelaide for the past 10 days and now I can't wait to get stuck into some racing! I think a mixture of road racing and crits will be a nice way to get back into racing form and I'm looking forward to getting back with some of my Wiggle High 5 team mates.”
“I'm really excited to be racing the Tour Down Under this week,” Roberts said. “It’ll be my first time in Australia so something new to look forward to there. With it being the first race of 2016 I'm not too sure what to expect, but will be great to be with the Wiggle High5 girls and see what we can do there.”
As an Australian herself, the Santos Women’s Tour will be and important event for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Team Owner and Manager Rochelle Gilmore, but the 2010 Commonwealth Champion is confident that the three Australian and three British riders will make the black and orange team among those to beat.
“I'm quite nervous for our team as they will be feeling the heat, literally!” she exclaimed. “A few of our athletes are flying in from sub zero degree temperatures just two days before the start of the Santos Women’s Tour! Our international athletes, Amy, Lucy and Dani will most certainly struggle with the Adelaide heat, however our entire team are in great condition early season so we’ll no doubt see some great racing this week!
“Chloe, Nettie and Peta are very motivated to perform well at Australia’s most prestigious women’s road event, now on the UCI calendar.
“The Santos Women’s Tour will be Wiggle High5’s first race as World No.1 so we’ll be thriving as a team to live up to expectations and make the tour an extremely exciting one.”
Please follow this link to a short, free-to-use presentation video on Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s YouTube channel.
Santos Women’s Tour (2.2) 16th-19th January 2016
Stage 1: Mount Torrens, 95km
Stage 2: East End, Adelaide, Circuit, 20.4km
Stage 3: Barossa Valley, Lyndoch, 100.8km
Stage 4: Victoria Park, Adelaide. Criterium
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Santos Women’s Tour
Annette Edmondson (Australia), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Chloe Hosking (Australia), Dani King (Great Britain), Peta Mullens (Australia), Amy Roberts (Great Britain)