Hosking extends contract with Alé Cipollini for 2018
Chloe Hosking announced her contract renewal with Alé Cipollini on Monday. The Australian was a marquee signing by the Italian team for 2017. Hosking’s contract was notable by a non-traditional set-up that allowed her to split her season between Europe and Australia. She will return to Europe full-time in 2018.
“It was really easy to make the decision to re-sign,” said Hosking. “I’ve been really happy with the team this year: the girls, the staff, the equipment, the organisiation. It’s been a stress-free environment for me, and I could easily see myself here for another year.
“Last year I said that I was taking things year-by-year, and I’m sticking to that, but I’m not sticking with the Australia/Europe split,” Hosking added. “I’m really grateful the team allowed me the luxury of that arrangement. I needed that this year. I needed to be able to check out at times so I could focus when it really mattered.
“Going into next year, I want to try to take another step up in my career,” Hosking continued. “The best way to do that is to be in Europe and race in Europe full-time. I guess I’ll need to try to get my family and my partner over to Europe more to make that work for me.”
A Giro Rosa stage winner and the 2016 La Course champion, Hosking has sprinted to three victories in Alé Cipollini fluro yellow. She won a stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in June, the one-day Drentse 8 in March and a rolling stage of Santo’s Women’s Tour in January.
“I’ve only had three wins this year, lots of podiums but only three wins. It’s not terrible, but I definitely had bigger ambitions,” said Hosking. “My highest win count in a season is six, so I’m halfway there and there’s still plenty of racing left.
“This season has been about more than results though,” noted Hosking. “I came into the team with a leadership role that I’ve never had previously. My teammates look up to me, respect me. It’s a new added pressure. I think I feel like what Ina [Teutenberg] must have felt like when she was mentoring me.”
“Chloe is a true leader, in and out of races,” said Alé Cipollini sport director Fortunato Lacquaniti. “She is very professional, determined, demanding and helpful with her teammates. I appreciate her thoughtful approach to the team’s development and her contributions to the team as a whole.”
“I love winning, but if I can help women’s cycling grow and young girls become better riders, that will mean more to me, I suspect, when I’m finished riding than getting a stage at the Women’s Tour ever will.”
Hosking calls her first six months with Alé Cipollini a “happy surprise”. The 26-year-old has spent much of her career on well-established English-speaking programs. She turned professional with Team Columbia in 2010 and remained with the outfit as it became first HTC-Highroad in 2011 and then Specialized-lululemon in 2012. From there it was two years with the Norweigian development team Hitec Products followed by two years with Wiggle Honda/Wiggle High5.
“I hit that point in my career where I needed to leave Wiggle, a team where there were so many good riders, to have my own chances,” noted Hosking. “I won races there, and I also won races at Alé Cipollini but I’ve been given so many more opportunities to come into myself as a person and a rider at Cipollini. That never would have happened if I stayed at Wiggle.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to leave last year,” she added. “I was nervous. There are so many misconceptions about Italian teams. I’m super fortunate to have come into a team that is organised, professional and passionate.”
At heart, Alé Cipollini is an Italian team. The sponsors, management and staff are all Italian, but the organisation made a concerted effort to diversify its roster last year, adding first Hosking and then Romy Kasper (Germany), Janneke Ensing (Holland) and Anisha Vekemans (Belgium).
“The team wants to boost its international profile, and the roster this season reflects that,” said Hosking. “The team is undeniably Italian, but there was and will continue to be an international flavour. We’re often at dinner and there’s only one Italian rider at the table.”
Hosking’s early contract renewal allows her to focus on the second half of the season. She’s motivated to win another stage at the Giro Rosa. She’s targeting sprint- friendly RideLondon and Madrid Challenge and stages of Tour of Norway and Boels Rental Ladies Tour.
“I’m going back to Australia after the Giro,” noted Hosking. “That’s my last block in Australia before I’m hopefully finishing my season in Norway at the World Championships. From there, I’ll head home, reset and start building again.
“The team has reinvigorated my passion for the sport,” Hosking said. “Not only because they gave me the opportunity to sprint for myself but because they gave me a leadership role and more responsibilities. I love winning, but if I can help women’s cycling grow and young girls become better riders, that will mean more to me, I suspect, when I’m finished riding than getting a stage at the Women’s Tour ever will.”