Bigla mid-season wrap up
Bigla started the season with 12 riders, eight of which were new signees representing a total of seven different nationalities. Although the team is relatively young, the riders have netted a series of extremely strong results so far and have proved that they can mix it with the best of the UCI WorldTour teams.
We began the season with a successful Partner & Performance Camp in Denia, Spain. This provided the opportunity for our new riders to get to know their teammates, the staff and the team’s partners, set goals and form new friendships. This bonding experience proved vital to underpinning the team’s subsequent achievements in the upcoming season. Bigla values hard work and commitment but also fosters professional and personal growth, camaraderie and above all team spirit, all values that would prove to be a solid basis for the team’s success over the following months.
Although Cecilie Uttrup was our highest-placed rider in several of our races, the remaining team members are absolutely crucial to what makes Bigla such a special and unique team. The team started with the Spanish races, Vuelta a la Comunitat Valencia Feminas and Setmana Ciclista Valencia. Considering that for some of our young riders it was their first time racing on the European professional circuit, the results that the team achieved, of 11th and 10th place respectively is very encouraging. During our Classics campaign in March and April, our young riders showed that they are able to withstand the challenges of the inclement weather conditions, cobblestone sectors and the steeper terrains of the typical one-day Belgian races.
We attended the Omloop Het Nieuwsblaad where the team placed in the top 20. At Strade Bianche, one of our most successful races, Cecilie took out 5th place in a field of highly accomplished riders. We also took on Drentse Acht van Westerveld and Ronde van Drenthe, two races that challenged our young riders but nevertheless demonstrated solid team performances. Trofeo Alfredo Binda was next on the calendar and Cecilie took to the podium among a group of outstanding female riders, a fantastic result that came after a strong performance of teamwork. We then took part at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, Gent Wevelgem and Dwars van Vlandereen and the team again achieved results in the top 20 at these very demanding and challenging races. Ronde van Vlaanderen, however, was one of the most successful races for us. Great teamwork brought about a third place for Cecilie, a remarkable achievement at one of the most highly-anticipated races in the women’s racing calendar. As the season progressed, the Bigla riders embraced phenomenal team spirit and displayed fantastic cooperation which resulted in very good results at Brabantse Pijl (6th place), and Amstel Gold (6th), La Flèche Wallonne (8th) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (10th). With the full support of her teammates, our team captain at these races, Cecilie, helped to bring about our most successful Classics campaign ever. In May the team then rode the 2-day ASDA Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race and the 3-day Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg where again our riders regularly placed in the top 10, with Elizabeth Banks in particular putting on an extremely strong performance during these races, putting herself in the breakaway, multiple attacks, and also wearing the Queen of the Mountain jersey at her home race, much to the delight of our followers and supporters.
Outside their racing commitments with Bigla our riders have also taken home medals in other cycling disciplines. Martina Alzini won the team pursuit with her Italian teammates at the UCI Track World Cup in Hong Kong. Julie Leth collected a bronze medal in the Madison at the UCI World Championship in Poland and a win on the track at Six Day Berlin earlier this year. Leah Thomas also recently took out the ITT title at the Pan-American championships. These results demonstrate the depth that is present in the team, something that we aim to continue to foster to ensure our riders can fully unlock their potential.
In the seventeen races so far attended by Bigla, our riders have shown great progress and potential for further improvement. Our more experienced riders have provided guidance and support to those that are fairly new to professional cycling or have come from other disciplines. This synergy of cycling talent, passion for the sport and camaraderie will stand us in good stead for the remainder of the 2019 season and beyond, and we are looking forward to taking on the challenges of upcoming races as a team that bands together to strive to become the best they can be.
Our Team in images
Elizabeth Banks finished on the podium in second place in the overall rankings at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, a fantastic achievement for our British rider.
Photos by Vélofocus.com