22 year old New Zealander Emily Collins has secured Wiggle-Honda’s first victory of the 2013 season in the Belgium classic Omloop het van Hageland.
The first win for any new team if often the most difficult but young Emily rounded the finishing corner on the inside line to take a well deserved victory, her biggest to date.
The 122km race took in a 55km loop followed by several smaller circuits providing an aggressive race in near freezing conditions but that didn’t thwart the Wiggle-Honda team from working hard to ensure victory.
Speaking on the Wiggle-Honda website Collins said, ““I really didn’t have a clue what was happening out there, I was following Specialized-Lululemon’s train. I was lucky to come out of the wheel when it came out apart. I am really shocked to win my first UCI race. I didn’t feel too good the whole race so I didn’t expected this. It’s the first win of our team and my teammates did a tremendous job today.”
Whilst victory may have come as a surprise to Collins, it was her team manager and team mate Rochelle Gilmore who heaped praise on the young Kiwi via her website www.rochellegilmore.com “Emily Collins might have been unknown to the peloton but her ability was very clear to me from the moment she caught my eye at the end of last year in Europe.” Gilmore added, “It was at the Lotto Decca Tour in Belgium at the end of 2012 where I first met Emily and noticed her talent. I remember thinking she was like the Energizer Bunny – attacking continuously and chasing everything. She was riding as an individual with nothing to fear, she just kept going and going all race and then, she would still sprint into the top 10!”
Gilmore wasn’t only in praise of her riders, “The other members of the team have played a huge part in setting Emily up for her first international win! Simon is a very smart operator and is very involved with his athletes and knows how to get the best out of them. The team quietly expected Emily to land on the podium today but to see her on top this early in the season is sensational! I must admit, I was fighting the tears after speaking with Emily after the finish. She is a very quiet achiever and an absolute pleasure to have on the team.”
Congratulations to Emily and the whole Wiggle-Honda set up.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyCollins_NZ
Follow Rochelle Gilmore on Twitter: @RochelleGilmore
Team Website: http://wigglehonda.com