Prioritising “unorthodox approach” to her season, Chloe Hosking joins Alé Cipollini Galassia in 2017

Australian Chloe Hosking announced on Thursday that she has signed a one-year deal with Italian-registered Alé Cipollini Galassia for the 2017 season. The 25-year-old has raced with Wiggle High5 for the last two seasons. She turned professional with Team Columbia (HTC-Highroad) in 2010.

“I don’t like standing still,” said Hosking. “It’s time to move on.”

Hosking’s move is just as much about the personal as the professional. Newly engaged and enrolled in an online law degree program, Hosking sought out a deal that would allow her to spend most of the year in her native Australia rather than her adopted European base of Girona, Spain. The arrangement will see Hosking spend two dedicated blocks of racing in Europe but otherwise live and train in Australia.

“We worked with Chloe on her race program, like we do with our other athletes,” said team manger Fortunato Lacquaniti. “We believe this sort of planning allows us to reach our objectives as a team. We strongly pursued Chloe for Alé Cipollini Galassia, and we are proud to give the official announcement of this signing. We have put in a lot of effort to create a strong and stable team. With the arrival of Chloe, the team has two great leaders in Chloe and Marta Bastianelli.”

“I made the decision that I wanted a more flexible work environment that would give me really concentrated periods of racing in Europe and then allow me to train in Australia,” explained Hosking. “I realise it’s unorthodox and that not every team would be open to offering this sort of arrangement. I’m really excited that Alé Cipollini Galassia can and is willing to allow me try it and see how it works.”

A two-time stage winner at the Tour of Qatar, Hosking has twice won the youth classification and three times finished on the overall podium. She will open her season in February in the Middle East.

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2016 - Stage 4

Chloe Hosking wins the final stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar 2016 (C) Velofocus

“Hopefully I’m returning with rainbow stripes,” she said with a laugh that belies her ambitions for the 2016 World Championships in four weeks.

She will head back to Australia from Qatar and return to Europe four weeks later for the women’s European season opener – Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

“I’m going to come to Europe for the first time for Nieuwsblad and return home after Grand Prix de Dottignies,” Hosking noted. “That’s only six weeks of racing in the spring. In the past, I’ve had to hold form all the way through until China, so I think it could work really well for me where I only have to be on form for a smaller period. Hopefully that will translate into better results in the spring next year.”

“…I really came into my own as a rider at Wiggle alongside some fantastic teammates. I’m grateful to have been part of so many of the team’s victories these last two years, including some of my own.”

From there it’s a quick trip to China followed by a longer trip to Europe that begins with Aviva Women’s Tour and ends with Madrid Challenge. Having recorded wins at both Giro Rosa and La Course this year, she expects to return to both races with Alé Cipollini Galassia next summer.

“That’s a much longer block, but I may end up going home between Sweden and Holland if that’s when my sister decides to get married,” Hosking explained. “Essentially, next year is a fusion between enjoying riding my bike and enjoying my family.”

This year may not have been Hosking’s most winning season but the wins were her biggest to date. She won stages at the Ladies Tour of Qatar, La Route de France, Tour of Chongming Island and the Giro Rosa, sprinted to victory on the Champs-Elysees at La Course by Le Tour de France and won the Tour of Chongming Island overall. She finished second to teammates at Santos Women’s Tour and Madrid Challenge.

“I think I really came into my own as a rider at Wiggle alongside some fantastic teammates,” Hosking said. “I’m grateful to have been part of so many of the team’s victories these last two years, including some of my own.”

“My results this year speak a bit to me growing up as a rider,” Hosking added. “The stage win at the Giro comes with me learning how to better manage my body at stage races. In races that I might normally have done better in the spring, I wasn’t on-form because my goal was never to be in form in April, my goal is to be on form in mid-October. I had to sacrifice a bit this year in early season results, but I got lucky – well, not lucky because I had to work hard – but the work I’ve done in preparation for Qatar, which has really been my sole focus this year, has gotten me some big results.”

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Chloe Hosking wins the third stage of the Giro Rosa 2016 (C) Bart Hazen

A non-traditional set-up and a team shift may come as a surprise on the heels of the best season of Hosking’s career.

“In 2017 I’m seeking out more of what’s made this year so successful in the first place,” Hosking added. “I’ve always found that when I’m in a happy head space that I ride a lot better, and I get in a happy head space from spending time with my family and my partner. This year, they came to me. Next year, I’m staying with them.”

Like Wiggle-High5, Alé Cipollini Galassia has multiple cards to play in a bunch sprint. Hosking will represent one of several options for her new team in the fast finishes.

“I’ve shown in the past that I can sprint or lead-out a teammate or act as team captain,” said Hosking. “For sure, I’m joining the team as one of their sprinters and hopefully I’ll get some opportunities in some of the bigger races. It will be strange to sprint against some of my former teammates – like Gio [Giorgia Bronzini] and Jolien [d’Hoore] – but that’s just the way it goes in cycling.”

Chloe Hosking wint La Course voor Lotta Lepisto en Marianne Vos.

Chloe Hosking wins the 2016 edition of La Course by Le Tour ahead of Lotta Lepisto and Marianne Vos (C) Bart Hazen

“Chloe has many important qualities that make her an exiting addition, but what I would like to highlight is her undisputed human qualities,” said Lacquaniti. “She is an athlete that is able put herself at the team’s disposal as we have seen at the Madrid Challenge and also take responsibility to win for herself as she did at La Course.”

Hosking is unable to look beyond the year. She has a five-year plan to complete her law degree but will take cycling year-by-year.

“I’m only going to race my bike for as long as I enjoy racing it,” Hosking said. “It’s hard to be away from my family, partner and friends. I’ll take it one year at a time from now on. I’m not going to hang up my wheels while I’m still loving it, but I’m not going to do something that’s so hard if I’m not having fun.”

“I’m really grateful that Alé Cipollini Galassia has offered me an opportunity that gives me the balance I need to keep myself happy and healthy,” Hosking added. “I’m keen to repay them for buying into this set-up I proposed.”

Hosking’s signing represents the continued transition Alé Cipollini Galassia is aiming to make. An Italian team with primarily Italian riders and management, Alé Cipollini Galassia has slowly been diversifying its line-up.

“With Chloe we confirm even more the international aspect we began to focus on some years ago,” said Lacuqaniti. “Beyond internationality, we are confident that Chloe will bring big value to the team and combined with Marta help us become a top sprint team.”

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Chloe Hosking celebrates with the boxing kangaroo after her victory at La Course. (C) Bart Hazen

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