The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team of Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Jolien D’hoore, Annette Edmondson, Emilia Fahlin, Dani King andElisa Longo Borghini finished just 14 seconds away from the podium of the World Championship Team Time Trial, in Richmond, Virginia, USA. The black and orange riders completed the 38.6km course in a time of 48 minutes, 45.87 seconds, at an average speed of 47.494kph, which was just one minute and ten seconds slower than eventual winner Velocio-SRAM. More significantly, however, the time was just 14 seconds slower than Rabo-Liv, who took the bronze medal, with Boels-Dolmans taking silver.
“That was close!” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Directeur Sportif Egon van Kessel. “I thought we could be three or four, but that was really close. If you compare with [the Team Time Trial World Cup in Sweden] we were much closer to the top three teams.
“I think, with the preparation we did, we did a good job. It’s the first time in two years that the team has participated, and I think it was a good result.”
The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders actually crossed the first checkpoint, after 10km, they were actually two seconds ahead of Rabo-Liv. This was reversed at the second checkpoint, at the 17.8km point, but the black and orange riders managed to hold their deficit to two seconds by the third, at 31.1km.
Only in the final seven kilometres did the Rabo-Liv open up what was to be the final 14 second gap that would win them the bronze medal.
“Of course I wanted to be on the podium, and so did the girls,” van Kessel said. “They’ve worked hard for it in the last week and a half, and I’m sure that – with the experience from this year – we can do much better next year.
“We have had two camps – three or four days before Sweden, and then here – so we made a big step forward. If we do the same next year, and start earlier in the season, we can go for a better result than just the podium; it’s all possible.
“Technically it was really good,” he said of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling performance. “I hear from everyone that saw us on TV that we were the best of all the teams, technically. So that was okay, there are one or two things that we could do better, but it was really top level.”
Although several Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders will be representing their countries in the upcoming World Championship Individual Time Trial and Road Race, the Team Time Trial marks an end to the season for the black and orange team, which has been the best in its three-year history.
“It’s been a wonderful season; a very successful season,” said van Kessel. “I think we have the most victories of all the teams, we had the most World Cup races won, and we are the team with the most riders winning a UCI race. That’s very important, because it shows we are a complete team, and not dependent on one rider.
“That was a big step forward this season. We can be really, really satisfied with our results.”
4. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling