Friday 6 March 2015

Hello to Wiggle Honda!

My first gig of the year was a trip across to Ghent for the launch of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team. Around 15 journos were taken by Eurostar care of Wiggle/Brand Nation to meet the likes of Dani King, Giorgia Bronzini, and newly crowned World Omnium Champion Annette Edmondson.

Photo by Wiggle Honda
I have been to team launches of women's teams before but not one like this. The hotel, the Standton in Ghent was pretty neat and reminded me of hotels from another world - that's to say hotels where you have a sojourn rather than a functional hotel to crash. It's a shame we were only there for one day!

Back to the launch, the girls were presented at a nearby PoortAckere monastery, where each one in turn rode up the aisle to the reach the stage on their Colnago V1-r bikes. I can't think when I've even seen someone cycle on the interior of a religious establishment - I guess there's a first for everything.

It was good to catch up with a few folks I'd met previously - like Dani King, Giorgia Bronzini and their photographer Bart Hazen. At these things it's also a chance to make a few more contacts. I finally got to meet team manager, Rochelle Gilmore, who certainly sounds very savvy.

He mother was also in attendance, which was jolly supportive her. I must admit, I'd seen her around and had assumed she was a friend of Rochelle's or her sister - rather than her mother. She looked very young and glamorous!

As the team is supported by The Bradley Wiggins Foundation, and Brad was in Belgium on that day in advance of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, I wondered if he might make an appearance. But there was no sign of him.

One person who did show up and seemed very welcomed was Marc Coucke, CEO of Omega Pharma. There is speculation that Omega may in future sponsor the team.

Anyway, it was a good day out. I interviewed a number of the women, including young British riders Amy Robinson, Anna Christian.

My write-up on the launch is currently on the Sportsister website, and there's a Dani King interview due to go into Cycling Weekly in the future - other bits and pieces will go on this site too.