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Aussie cyclist narrowing gender gap
Sam Lienert
15:44 AEST Thu Dec 13 2012

Australia's Rochelle Gilmore is narrowing the gender gap for professional cyclists, thanks to some help from Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and a big sponsorship deal.

Launched in November, Gilmore's Pro Cycling team on Thursday announced a three-year deal with a bicycle retailer worth at least $1 million.

Gilmore, a 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, established, manages and will ride for the team, which has assembled a roster of some of the sport's best-credentialled women cyclists.

They include England's dual 2012 Olympic champion Laura Trott, Italy's three-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini and seven-time Japanese national champion Mayuko Hagiwara.

The team is backed by the Bradley Wiggins Foundation.

Gilmore said traditionally funding difficulties meant female professional cyclists made about one-tenth of their male counterparts, needed to work second jobs and weren't given the support they needed.

But the sponsorship deal and Wiggins' backing meant her team, which will debut at February's Tour of Qatar, would be different.

"Bradley Wiggins wanted to be involved with a women's cycling team to help provide women that wanted to pursue a career in cycling with a comfortable standard of living," Gilmore told AAP.

"They've not been able to do that until now.

"Thankfully with his involvement the team does have a stable budget and can provide the athletes with a comfortable environment.

"They don't need to worry about working a second job and they can get the best out of themselves."

"He liked my philosophy of putting together a team that wouldn't compromise on anything."

Gilmore's Wiggle Honda team will start their debut season at February's Tour of Qatar.

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