Rochelle Gilmore announced “some very bad news” on Wednesday, confirming in a video message that “Wiggle High5 will not be registering a team for the 2019 season.” Gilmore explained that the decision to end the team was based on her personal feelings, and a need to change.
There have been reports of organisational problems within the British-registered team in recent weeks, with key riders ready to move to other teams for 2019. Gilmore hinted she was about to make a major decision in her life a few weeks ago and has now revealed her decision and the reasons behind it. The 2018 Wiggle-High5 17-rider roster includes recent Giro d’Italia stage winner Kirsten Wild, Lisa Brennauer and Elisa Longo Borghini. The Italian has been linked to the new Trek team that will include Lizzie Deignan.
“I’ve personally not ever in my life had time out of anything. As a professional athlete whether you win or lose a race I think within 5 minutes you are thinking about the next one and targeting it You are planing and training and coaching,” the former Australian rider, turned team manager said.
“I switched directly into being the owner/manager of a women’s cycling team. For the past six years I haven’t had an evening or a day to answer phone calls or emails on the spot so I am really looking forward to at least for one or two months after this season to just not having the responsibility of needing to be on call 24/7.
“It’s going to be a new feeling for me, maybe spend some time with family and friends, do things I haven’t done before, I’ve never been to a wedding, never had a relationship, I’m on the road full time so for the immediate future I’m not sure what that holds but there’s some really big plans.”
Wiggle-Honda started in 2013 and throughout its existence the team has helped develop women’s racing, with increased levels of professionalism and better pay for riders. In recent years other teams have equaled and then surpassed the standards set by Gilmore and her team, leading to the current women’s WorldTour series and the expected arrival of a minimum wage at WorldTour level.
Gilmore, 36, rode professionally from 2001 through 2014, spending the last two years on the Wiggle team. Over the years she won the Jayco Bay Classic, the Commonwealth Games road race, and numerous stages and one day races.
She will take a break from team management but intends to stay in the sport.
“Am I tired of women’s cycling? Never!” she said.
“I couldn’t live without women’s cycling, it’s in my blood, it’s my passion, it’s all I ever wanted to think about and not just women’s’s cycling as in racing, but in every aspect of it, the development of it. I am very involved in the UCI’s Commission and the development of the UCI’s Wormen’s WorldTour. It’s a fantastic thing to see come to fruition and something I committed to for the next four years.”
Her goal in setting up the team for the 2013 season was “to make the most professional atmosphere possible for the athletes who were professional in every sense of the word, they just need the environment.”
Since then, the developments within the sport is truly amazing and the other teams have reached the level of and surpassed the level of the team. For me the satisfying thing is having started that level of professionalism.”
“I’m not walking away from women’s cycling because I don’t think I can live without it,” she concluded.