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Joanna Rowsell moves to Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International team

Olympic team pursuit champ joins Laura Trott in leaving Wiggle Honda as Rio 2016 preparations build

Joanna Rowsell has become the second member of Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit squad to leave Wiggle-Honda to ride for a domestic team in 2015; the Olympic and world champion will race for the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International Women’s Cycling Team in 2015.

Rowsell’s forthcoming move follows the news last week that Laura Trott has signed for Matrix Fitness-Vulpine for next season, and as with her team mate’s switch, the ability to tailor a road programme that complements preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics has been cited as a factor.

Rowsell, already an ambassador for Sports Tours International, has signed for the team for two years. She said: "I am delighted to be signing for the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International squad for the next two years and having the security of knowing what my race schedule will look like as I aim to gain selection for Team GB in Rio 2016.

"The team has had incredible success since it started earlier this year and is known to be incredibly well organised both at races and with rider communications which made it an attractive team for me to join.

“I am keen to help continue the collective success of the team as I work on my own ambitions on the road and track,” added the 25-year-old, whose biggest success on the road was when she won the national time trial championship in Glasgow in June last year.

At her new team, Rowsell will join Katie Archibald, who rode alongside her as Great Britain defended their team pursuit world title in Cali earlier this year, as well as multiple Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey.

The latter’s husband Barney Storey, himself a three-time Paralympic champion as a sighted tandem pilot, is the team’s director. He said: "Having a rider of Joanna's calibre join us is an exciting time, her experience and success in cycling speaks for itself. We are very much looking forward to working with her and supporting her as she builds towards selection for Rio 2016."

The departure of first Trott and now Rowsell is bound to raise questions about the future of three other Wiggle Honda riders.

Those include Dani King, the third member of the trio that clinched Olympic team pursuit gold at London 2012 and Elinor Barker, who completed the now four-rider team that took the rainbow jersey in Cali this year.

Wiggle Honda’s other British rider, Amy Roberts, is also a track specialist and is on British Cycling’s Olympic programme, having represented the country in the team pursuit at the Track World Cup in each of the past two seasons.

Founded by former Commonwealth road champion Rochelle Gilmore, the team was launched with backing from British Cycling and the Bradley Wiggins Foundation.

Last week we reported that the charity set up by the 2012 Tour de France winner had been told by the Charity Commissioners to be more transparent about how it spent money donated to it.

Wiggins said in an interview last month with the Guardian’s William Fotheringham that the charity’s activities were being “scaled down,” but added that “we’ve put money into the Wiggle-Honda women’s team and will continue to do that.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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