Australian Chloe Hosking crowned a perfect weekend for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling – after Elisa Longo Borghini’s victory in Saturday’s Giro dell’Emilia – as she won the GP Beghelli, as the 79km race finished in a bunch sprint. The 25-year-old La Course winner overcame multiple World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in the finishing straight, with the Dutchwoman holding off Italian Barbara Guarischi (Canyon-SRAM) in the battle for second place.
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.”
Cycling Australia announce today the 31-rider squad for the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha Qatar, from 9-16 October.
With Australia claiming more than 20 wins – including five at the World Tour level – in the women’s peloton in 2016, Australia’s seven-rider team is packed with talent.
Chloe Hosking (ACT) has six wins in 2016, including La Course and a stage at the Giro Rosa as well as a being prolific podium finisher at the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
Joining Hosking in the seven rider strong squad will be reigning national time trial champion Katrin Garfoot (QLD), who recently claimed a win in the Chrono Champenois and a top ten in the Olympic time trial.
Rio Olympian Gracie Elvin (ACT) and Tiffany Cromwell (SA) have both had success at the Tour of Qatar and bring strength to the team with Loren Rowney (QLD) and Lauren Kitchen (NSW) adding further experience.
Sarah Roy (NSW) makes her World Championship debut after claiming her first win in Europe at the Boels Rental Ladies Tour.
“This has obviously been a target for me for some time,” Hosking said. “It’s exciting that it’s all starting to come together. I think for the course in Qatar Australia has selected a really strong team.”
The Doha World Championships will only be Hosking’s second senior World Championships. She last represented Australia at the World Chanpionships in 2011 in Copenhagen where she finished sixth.
“It has been a long time between drinks that’s for sure!” she said. “It has been a few years since there was a sprinter friendly course and it will probably be another few years again after Qatar so I want to make the most of the opportunity I have now.”
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore and Chloe Hosking finished an incredible first and second in the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, the final event of the 2016 Women’s WorldTour, on the Paseo del Prado in the centre of the Spanish capital. D’hoore was expertly led into the finishing straight by Hosking, but both were separated as riders from rival teams launched their sprints in all directions. Hosking followed a move from Boels-Dolmans rider Chantal Blaak while D’hoore bided her time before launching herself up the middle of the road.
The 87km race, around the fast, predominantly flat 5.8km circuit, was subject to numerous attacks from the very start. Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Amy Pieters and Audrey Cordon-Ragot were involved in several moves, and were on hand to police others, along with Spanish teammate Anna Sanchis.
It was not until the latter stages though, that a break managed to get more than a few seconds clear, when Claudia Lichtenberg (Lotto-Soudal) and Simona Frapporti (Lensworld-Zannata) escaped. The two riders were able to get around 30 seconds clear, but were steadily reeled in on the final lap as the dominant sprinters’ teams worked together to chase them down.
A huge turn on the front from Wiggle High5’s former two-time Junior World Champion Lucy Garner set Pieters, Hosking and D’hoore up into the final corners and, as the other sprint teams began their lead outs, the Belgian and Australian proved themselves to be the class of the field.
“There was a big train from Boels-Dolmans, there were there with the whole team in front, and then Amy Pieters was behind them, then Chloe and me,” D’hoore explained. “Amy did a really amazing job to keep us in front, for the whole last lap.
“She also caught the two leaders in the last lap. She was super strong, and I think without Amy we wouldn’t have been there in the end.
“Audrey also did an amazing job. Their job was to be in breakaways and to just be there in the race, so me and Chloe could save ourselves. Audrey, and Lucy – and also Anna for her home crowd – we did a perfect team race!” D’hoore finished.
“It was pretty special to finish one-two in Madrid,” Chloe said. “It was a new race for me which is a novelty and really exciting to see more women’s race run in conjunction with major men’s events.”
Hosking will next line up with the Wiggle High5 team when they race in Italy on the 23rd and 24th of September.
High5 Pro Cycling’s Chloe Hosking has won the third stage of the Route de France Feminine, between St-Sauveur-en-Puisaye and Nevers, as the peloton finished in a bunch sprint. The Australian sprinter, whose last win in France came on the iconic Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris, comfortably outpaced Elise Delzenne (Lotto-Soudal) on the uphill finishing straight, with Roxane Fournier (Poitou.Charentes-Futuroscope) behind them in third place.
Having taken the overall race lead in the opening time trial, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Dutchwoman Amy Pieters holds on to her gold jersey as the race approaches its halfway point.
“It was a bit of a crazy stage actually,” Hosking said. “There were a lot of crashes, so both Amy Pieters and I came down in a crash with just over 20km to go. But Amy got back up quickly – better than me a little bit – and I just made my way back, and was probably back in the peloton with 20km to go.
“Then the girls did a really fantastic job, but putting me in position for the sprint.”
With much of Hosking’s career at Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling having been in the service of her teammates – particularly in leading out Belgian sprinter Jolien D’hoore – the Australian is relishing her current role as the team’s protected sprinter.
“I’m really proud of how we rode today,” said Hosking. “Nobody was missing; Mayuko [Hagiwara] was there in the beginning, and Amy Roberts and Lucy [Garner]; they really rose to the occasion today. Then Dani [King] is also having a great race.
“So it was a really, really good team effort, and I was happy to be able to pull it off in the finish.”
With an uphill drag to the finish, a bunch sprint was far from certain, and Hosking was forced to act to respond to a last-minute breakaway attempt.
“It was an uphill drag for maybe the last 200 metres,” she explained. “Sarah Roy [Orica-BikeExchange] must have jumped away with about 300 metres to go, and she had a bit of a gap on me and the Futuroscope girl. I was watching, watching, until I just thought ‘I’d better go now,’ and I went quite early again. I closed the gap to Sarah, then came round her.
“My partner said it was a close finish, but I don’t think it was!” Hosking laughed.
“Elise Delzenne was on my wheel, so I had plenty of time to put my hands in the air!”
What a difference a year makes. For those who don’t know, my 2015 La Course by le Tour finished somewhat differently than this year’s edition. I helped my teammate Jolien d’Hoore to a well earned second place. She was beaten only by Anna van der Breggen who rolled the dice and took off in front of the peloton with just over a lap to race.
That night, happy with our performance as a team and caught up in the buzz that surrounds the Tour de France, we went out. My evening ended after I cut my hand on an unfortunately placed glass. I cut three tendons and a nerve in my left hand. As I discovered, this was not a good idea. Some people said to me afterwards in an effort to comfort me, “at least you didn’t break it.” I wish I had broke it, I would have been back racing in a month. Instead, I flew home to Australia, closed the cover on my 2015 season and began three and half months of intensive hand rehab.
It was a hard way to learn a lesson I probably should have already known. Still, it instilled in me a new sense of focus and work ethic that had been missing from my training and preparation previously.
A year on and the renewed focus and new strength I gained after spending five days a week in the gym when I couldn’t ride is starting to pay off.
2016 is the third year the women’s peloton has raced La Course by Le Tour and it has established itself as one of the biggest races on the calendar largely because of the small event it proceeds — the final stage of the men’s three week Tour de France. But also because of the amount of exposure it receives, this year it was broadcast live in 38 countries.
The course is iconic in the world of cycling; the long, wide boulevards of the Champs-Élysées, the imposing shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, the towering figure of the Luxor Obelisk in Place de la Concorde. I have grown up watching the sprint stars of the men’s peloton battle it out for the final stage honours of our sports biggest race. To be given the opportunity to sprint on the same roads, in front of the same crowds, for the past three years has been a monumental step forward in women’s cycling.
Out team director had split the race up into three sections and designated riders for each sections; our young Brits — Amy Roberts and Lucy Garner — were to look after things early while Dani King and Audrey Cordon would take over towards the middle and end of the race. Our dutchie, Amy Pieters, had a free role; she could go in moves if it felt right and would help me in the finish if it came down to a bunch sprint. I just had to wait.
It doesn’t sound like rocket science, but nor should it.
It’s hard for me to give a blow by blow account of what actually happened from kilometre one to kilometre 89 because —largely — I had no idea what was happening.
Given my role was to wait I made the decision to sit back in the peloton and stay protected from the wind. After two editions of the race I had learnt how much energy you can save by sitting around 50th position, particularly on a course like the Champs-Élysées.
I remembered thinking last year how strange it was that the majority of the Rabobank team were sitting quietly out of trouble only for Anna van de Breggen to school the entire field in how to win a bike race.
I was hiding so well that I totally missed when the first dangerous break of the day went. The first I heard of it was our director in the radio listing the rider names, ’28 seconds to Brand, Blaak, Barnes, Zabelinskaya’.
Oh man. It was like Kim Kardashian’s wedding to Kris Humphries; it happened so quickly it was easy to miss. I could only hope that the break would be as short lived as Kim and Kris’ nuptials.Before I even had a chance to start talking in the radio to raise the alarm Audrey and Amy were on the front trying to close the gap. 21 seconds. 15 seconds. The break hung in front of the peloton for 2 or so laps before it was finally reeled in. If we counted it in dog years it may well have lasted longer than Kim’s wedding.
Around 3 laps to go I started to creep closer to the front. I made my way to where I needed to be just in time to see Amy P cannon ball off the front with Lucinda Brand and another Tibco rider. It put my teammates and I in the perfect position behind her. Dani and I, almost in unison, screamed into our radios, ‘Go Amy! GO, GO!’.
With a little less than a lap to go however as we vibrated along the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe the peloton swallowed up Amy’s triplet. It was going to be a bunch sprint, or so I assumed.
Audrey led me around the outside of the peloton to the front to keep me or of trouble and all my focus turned to finding the right wheel for the final.
…all of a sudden Ellen van Dijk shot out of the peloton…She obviously hadn’t read the script, this was meant to be a bunch sprint.
With 3km to go I had found Lotta Lepisto’s wheel. Orica had started their lead out train too and the fight for position was really on. Imagine the customs line at an airport, then imagine being on bikes. This is what it’s like coming into the final kilometres of a race like la Course.
Then all of a sudden Ellen van Dijk shot out of the peloton and down the ramp into the tunnel faster than you backtrack when you say you’ll come to something with your family and then find out you have to pay. She obviously hadn’t read the script, this was meant to be a bunch sprint.
I literally thought, ‘oh shit’. I had no one left, they had done their jobs already, and I learnt after the race, had all been caught in crashes. I couldn’t chase Ellen myself. I had to wait.
The Canyon-SRAM team obviously felt the same sense of urgency as I did and flicked out of the compact group in pursuit of Ellen who had already established a solid gap with about 1.5kms to go.
The issue was there was only two left in the Canyon train — Alena Amialiusik and Tiffany Cronwell — and one of the had to sprint leaving only one to chase Ellen, a former world time trial champion. Position third and glued to Tiffany’s wheel as we powered towards the final kilometre I was willing Alena to keep going but I could see her starting to rock on her bike. We weren’t going to catch Ellen.
Then as we rode under the 1km to go banner I could feel riders coming up on the right hand side. I started to move out and somehow found myself on Pauline Ferrand-Prevot’s wheel. She was flying. She took it through the two last corners but Ellen still had twenty metres on the peloton with 350metres to go.
I was looking under my arms to see if any wheels we creeping up behind me but nothing came. The finish line kept getting closer and no one was coming around me, ‘this can’t be real’.
And then Pauline swung to the right. She was done. I was on the front. This is way too early.
It is amazing how much actually goes through your head in a sprint, it seems like you have minutes to make decisions but really it’s milliseconds. I decided to go. I figured I could jump and maybe hang on for a podium or get swamped and come away with nothing.
With Pauline in the middle of the road and Ellen glued to the barriers on the left hand side of the road I put the power to the pedals and steered my bike for Ellen’s back wheel. I figured I could run at her wheel and maybe use her as a wind break to close the last few metres. I must have passed her with 200metres or so to race. Then I just had to keep going.
With my elbows out and head down I just tried to put everything through the pedals. I was looking under my arms to see if any wheels we creeping up behind me but nothing came. The finish line kept getting closer and no one was coming around me, ‘this can’t be real’.
Then I won La Course by Le Tour de France. The words still seem foreign, like a dream.
While crossing the line with my hands clasped over my mouth was an amazing feeling, I think searching my family and fiancé out of the crowd moments afterwards topped it. My mum was in tears, my Dad had a smile that could challenge Denzel Washington’s and my Fiancé was lost for words.
I felt all these emotions and more. To win on the Champs-Élysées; I still feel like I’m dreaming.
But for those who are wondering, I didn’t get caught up in buzz this year. I was tucked up in my bed, and not a hospital bed, by 12am. My Dad always told me nothing good happens after midnight.
I figured if anything warranted a blog it was winning a stage of the Giro Rosa. Also, one of my pushy Twitter followers suggested I should write one so here I am.
I’ve started the Giro four times, five including this year. I’ve finished twice. As a sprinter it is not an easy race to finish. As a sprinter preparing for the Qatar World Championships (read; dead flat) when the rest of the peloton are preparing for the Rio Olympics (read; extremely hilly) I was sceptical about my chances of finishing a third.
And to be honest, the first two road stages did little to reassure me. Fortunately however, my past four starts have taught me a thing or two about surviving what is one of the hardest women’s stage races.
After the opening prologue where I finished 18th I knew there were a few tough road stages before the gradient would finally be in my favour.
I decided that after doing my job for the team on the flat — which largely involved ferrying bottles back and forth, communicating with our director, covering any rouge attacks and helping position our climbers into the climb — I would conserve my energy.
Rather than killing myself to stay with ‘grupetto’ I swallowed my pride and filtered back through the peloton. Watching team cars speed by and feeling team directora judgement on my back as they passed was almost enough to make me question my tactics. Luckily, by the time they passed me I was too dropped to question my decision anyway.
This was a tactic I had learnt, but not employed, in the 2014 Giro Rosa. Then, when the battle for stage honours was well and truly up the road I continued to battle to hold onto the group in front of me. By the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th stages girls who had been 10 minutes behind me earlier in the tour were now dancing on their pedals in front of me. Shout out to Iris Slappendel.
In this year’s Giro, with nothing to prove on the climbs, I decided to employ the above tactic.
As Mara Abbott said to me in the team car while we were transferring yesterday; “In reality, for sprinters, the aim should be to do as little as possible without getting time cut”. Coming from a woman who has won the Giro twice, I’m inclined to agree.
Starting yesterday’s stage I was pretty pumped. Thanks to getting myself horrendously dropped the last two days I was feeling quite fresh.
As is common in the Giro, flat stages aren’t necessarily flat. So when you actually do get one you need to make the most of it. Apart from a slight bump around 45km into the 115km course it was — I swear on Chanel — flat.
That’s not to say it was uneventful, however. The winds had picked up and teams like Boels and Rabobank seemed determined to make the most of them to try and catch out other GC rivals, namely my teammate Mara. Unluckily for them, we were on top of it and the bunch was all together as we hit 15km to go.
Earlier in the stage Gio had come to me and said we go for me today. I wasn’t going to argue. I immediately switched my attention to the Canyon SRAM sprinter, Barbara Guarischi or ‘Baby-G’. I knew their lead out train was ace and they would be wanting to get their Italian sprinter up for a stage win. In the end, my assumption paid off because with 3km to go it was just the Canyon train and then little old me with entire peloton strung out behind us.
Tiff and Baby-G are two of the best bike handlers in the peloton, I would be lying if I said I was sure I could stay with them around the final corner…
With a little more than 600m to go it was just Tiffany Cromwell, Baby-G and then me. With 300m to go I knew there was a sweeping right hand corner and a tail wind finish. (Information I was happy to have had thanks to our logistics manager who had driven the course a few hours earlier.)
I was in the perfect position. All I needed to do was not crash. This was a legitimate fear. Tiff and Baby-G are two of the best bike handlers in the peloton, I would be lying if I said I was sure I could stay with them around the final corner. Adrenaline must have won out over fear however, because as Tiff swept through the final corner I stayed tucked onto Baby-G’s wheel.
275 metres to go…
250 metres to go…
200 metres to go…
I didn’t want to wait any longer. I jumped off Baby-G’s wheel even before Tiff had finished her final lead out. With 75 metres left to race I started to worry; ‘Oh man, did I kick too early? Are they about to swamp me?’
What potentially was more satisfying was knowing that my tactic had worked. I may be be minutes down on the GC but I won a stay of the Giro Rosa.
Australian forgoes Olympics to focus on Worlds
Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) is something of a rarity in the women’s peloton: a rider with no intention of trying to earn selection for the 2016 Olympic Games, though it’s certainly not for a want of ambition.
With the course for the Rio Games road race a particularly demanding one – Tiffany Cromwell has described the Vista Chinesa climb to “Mur de Huy times four” – Hosking had no hesitation in switching her focus to another prestigious race rather more tailored to her talents, the World Championshipsroad race in Doha at the end of the season.
“For sure that’s my big goal. I’m not going for the Olympics, so really from now I’m switching my head to the world championships in October,” Hosking said after winning the final stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar ahead of Kirsten Wild (Hitec Product) on Doha’s Corniche on Friday. An omen of things to come, perhaps?
In any case, Hosking will be among the few Worlds contenders who won’t have been building towards a peak in August. Even Wild, for instance, will be in Brazil on the track, and by the time October comes around, that relative freshness could stand Hosking in good stead.
“That’s definitely something my coach and I have thought about,” she said. “The reality is that I’m not going to be winning gold in Rio but I could be winning gold in Qatar, so I’m going to focus on that.”
Hosking’s fine sprint win on Friday helped to put a different complexion on what had been a disappointing Ladies Tour of Qatar for her Wiggle-High5 team. A team including Amy Pieters, Elisa Longo Borghini and Emma Johansson would have expected to have a representative in the decisive split on stage 3, for instance, but they made some amends by setting up Hosking for the win on the final day.
“We came here with a pretty stellar team and I don’t think our results really reflected the team we had here until today,” Hosking said. “When we came in for sure we wanted to prove a point and we did that. I’m really, really happy.
“The girls worked so hard to deliver me in the perfect position with 300 metres to go so it’s really nice that they put that faith in me even though I screwed up the first stage and I missed the move yesterday.”
For Hosking, the victory was her first since the Classic Morbihan in Brittany last May. A hand injury in July ended her 2015 season prematurely, and even after showing tangible signs of form in Australia in January, and again here earlier in the week, standing atop the podium as the sun began to dip behind the Doha skyline was a welcome confirmation.
“It is really important because I’ve actually been out of it for seven months. I raced in Australia but it’s just not the same as racing with girls at this level,” Hosking said. “Coming back from injury I wasn’t sure where I’d be at, so it’s a big relief to get a win here so early in the season.”
The Ladies Tour of Qatar finished a few days ago. I went into the race with high hopes but in the end had to settle for ninth overall, eight places less than what I had hoped for.
A journalist who had told me I was his pick came to me after the tour had wrapped up and said, ‘I’ll never tell you your my pick again.’ If I was a superstitious person I would definitely lay all the blame on him, but the realist in me says that might be a bit unreasonable.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom however, I did manage to claim a stage win in the final stage.
Throughout the Tour I kept daily diaries on Ella. I thought, just incase you weren’t an Ella reader I would repost them here but I encourage you to head on over to Ella and check out the original posts.
If you know me you know that I love returning to the desert year after year to race the Ladies Tour of Qatar. At the team presentation today the race commentator announced that the 2016 Tour is my seventh edition, I’ve ridden all but the first edition of the race, which began in 2009. It’s somewhat embarrassing, because it makes me feel about a hundred years old. I’m 25 I swear.
Why the love affair? There’s just something about the camels I guess. The looks they give me…
No, in all seriousness I just love the fast, aggressive racing that the flat, windy courses stimulate. Speaking with my roommate Dani King after today’s stage (she’s a Ladies Tour of Qatar virgin) she said, ‘you just have to fight all day’. I replied: ‘you definitely don’t really get the opportunity to relax in these races, that’s for sure.’
This year’s edition is made up of four stages; two new and two old.
Today’s 97km first stage of the Tour was also a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Road World Championships, which will be held in Doha in October this year. The stage consisted of a long 75km or so loop before we entered a finishing circuit. In today’s stage we did one lap of the circuit, but I’m assuming we will do more in October.
What conclusions can be drawn after racing the (sort of) Worlds course? For the safety of the majority of the peloton, I hope the wind is blowing the camels sideways and a smaller group enters the finishing circuit. It is super technical with roundabouts, 180° corners and occasional traffic cones just scattering the side of the road (although I have a feeling these may be removed come October).
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Back to today and the first stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
My Wiggle High5 team had gone in to the race with a fairly open race plan. It’s always hard to know who is firing and what tactics other teams will be employing in — what for most riders — is the first race of the season.
We just wanted to stay at the front of the race and have numbers in any significant splits if they occurred. Some time bonuses at the two intermediate sprints and on the finishing sprint would be nice as well, but as my director said on numerous occasions, ‘we don’t need to show all our cards on day one’.
Side note: time bonuses play a crucial role in this Tour, they often determine who wins and who loses the overall after the four days of racing, as breakaways — excluding the echelon splits —are a rarity.
Before the stage we had highlighted a few danger points where we thought the crosswinds may play havoc; kilometer 18 and kilometer 35.
We were on the money with the second. As the peloton rocketed towards the 35km, mark you could feel the tension and nerves in the peloton building. It was like a toddler holding a pin above a balloon and looking at mum; you know they’re going to pop it, but you’re not entirely sure if it will be in a few seconds or a few minutes.
As we made a sharp left hand turn, the head wind we had been riding into turned into a crosswind and the balloon had been popped. Girls were scrambling to get to the front before too much damage had been done and gaps were too big to close anymore.
Boels-Dolmans were the main aggressors pushing the pace, riding the echelon and ‘guttering’ the rest of the peloton. Canyon-SRAM joined the party and soon the race was split. It wasn’t decimated like you can see happen in crosswinds, but the peloton of 90 had been reduced to 20 or so.
The first intermediate sprint came not long after and Kirsten Wild and I battled it out for the valuable time bonuses; Wild got the better of me clinching the three seconds for first. I had to settle for two seconds. Better than nothing, but not what I had been hunting for.
The bunch ended up reforming not long after. While the winds were strong, they weren’t strong enough to do any serious damage and the peloton entered the finishing circuit all together.
I can’t say I enjoyed the technical finishing circuit. The peloton was nervous, no-one knew where they were going exactly and everyone was fresh.
The second intermediate sprint came just 9km from the finish and my teammate, Emma Johannson, did a great job of positioning me for it. I ended up picking up another two bonus seconds with Chantal Blaak grabbing the three seconds. I was the virtual leader on the road, not that that really meant anything.
As the kilometres began to tick down, I found my team but it was chaotic. Riders and trains were going everywhere. The front of the peloton was being controlled by Boels, then Orica, then Cipollini, then Hitec.
“I’m not going to start second guessing it because I screwed up one sprint”
My team and I rounded the second last corner which came just under 2km from the finish about three riders back, but it was just Elisa Longo Borghini, Amy Pieters and I left. Emma had been caught behind and was making her way back. Fighting other riders and the wind, my legs definitely hadn’t recovered from the sprint seven kilometres before.
In the end, I went backwards in the sprint for the stage honours. All I could do was watch and see Wild, Cucinotta and Lizzie Williams battle for the stage win. They ended up finishing in that order.
I go into tomorrow’s second stage tied with Williams for third on the general classification. It’s not the end of the world. It’s definitely not the start I had envisioned for my Ladies Tour of Qatar, but as I said to my team manager Rochelle, ‘I know my form is good, I’m not going to start second guessing it because I screwed up one sprint’.
And as my director always says, ‘You’ve got to look on the bright side of life.’ Three more days to hunt down 9 seconds.