DOHA (VN) — Italian cycling star Giorgia Bronzini is making a fresh start in 2013 with a foreign team, Wiggle-Honda. The British team, backed by Bradley Wiggins, features the two-time world champion, Rochelle Gilmore and a lot of organization.
“I’m not used to such organization! Usually the Italians are not known for being precise,” Bronzini told VeloNews with a laugh.
“In Wiggle, they schedule everything to a precise hour. Our days are completely scheduled. Even here in the Tour of Qatar, if we are doing something on our own or together, it’s scheduled. It’s new, but it’s good.”
Bronzini spoke with the Arabian Gulf winds blowing at her back. Off in the distance is Bahrain; ahead was the third leg of the Ladies Tour of Qatar and a new season with a British team.
Aussie pro Rochelle Gilmore began the team last year, getting the funding from long-time sponsor Honda and Great Britain’s online bike retailer, Wiggle. Bradley Wiggins heard about the new team and also decided to lend a hand.
“Rochelle’s done a very good job. It’s come together well,” said team sports director Simon Cope. “She’s got a balance her to two jobs. She pulled it off well, pulled in some great sponsors.”
Gilmore and Cope signed several top Brits, including the Olympic gold medal pursuit team — Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell — and junior time trial world champion Elinor Barker
Bronzini, 30 this year, is one of the most senior and experienced members of the team with Gilmore. In 10 years as a pro, she has always raced in Italian teams. In 2003, as an under-23 rider, she raced in a team with Gilmore and from there developed a friendship.
“I’m bringing experience, but also an Italian style. I’m always trying to keep a smile on riders’ faces. I like to stay in a team where the riders are relaxed and enjoy each others’ company,” Bronzini said.
“When the Brits finish the track world championships next month, they will be racing on the road and we will get a chance to see how they are going. I know them well and I’m ready to help them enjoy this new experience with me.”
After a winter of organizing, Gilmore hopes to focus on racing in the coming months. In 2010, she won the Commonwealth Games road race title in Delhi. Last year, she had a strong of top-fives, including second in the Liberty Classic.
“I’m not sure if it will get more stressful throughout the year, but certainly at the first race now it’s not distracting because I have some really good staff members working for me,” Gilmore told VeloNews.
“I think this is actually what I was made to do because I really enjoy it. If it was just cycling, it wouldn’t be enough. I’m really enjoying doing both.”
She was until Thursday, anyway — Gilmore crashed on stage 3 and reportedly was disqualified after holding onto the team car. Bronzini sprinted to third behind stage winner and new leader Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano).
Gilmore and Bronzini will lead a 12-rider team through 2013, which started this week with the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
Wiggle-Honda for 2013
Elinor Barker (GB), Beatrice Bartelloni (Ita), Giorgia Bronzini (Ita), Emily Collins (NZ), Rochelle Gilmore (Aus), Mayuko Hagiwara (Jpn), Dani King (GB), Lauren Kitchen (Aus), Amy Roberts (GB), Joanna Rowsell (GB), Ana Bianca Schnitzmeier (Ger), Laura Trott (GB)