Monday, 30 September 2013

Women's Cycling News 29.09-06.10.2013

Amy Dombroski killed - Vos wins Worlds - Hall wins Nat. Champs Scratch Race - 2014 Calendar - VeloJam is back, can you help with filming or catering? - UCI abolishes average age rule - Transfers and Team News - Shorts and Interesting Links:  Women's sports digital TV channel in the pipeline?London Nocturne 2014, BC searching for new Paralympic stars - Calling Irish cyclists! - Photo of the Week - more to come...

RIP Amy Dombroski
Amy Dombroski, a member of the Telenet-Fidea cyclo cross team, was killed in a collision with a truck while on a training ride on the 3rd of October. The tragedy took place in Sint-Katelijne-Waver in Belgium.

Vermont-born Dombroski, who was just 26 years old, had ridden for the team since 2012, having previously been with the American Webcor and Luna Pro outfits. A three-time National Under-23 Champion, she was tipped for further successes over the coming seasons after coming second behind the legendary Belgian rider Sanne Cant at the prestigious Leuven race last year.

Amy Dombroski
Born 9th September 1987 at Jericho, Vermont, USA
Died 3rd October 2013 at Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium

Vos wins Worlds
Last week, I said that as the World Championship road race is the only non-Olympic women's race that receives widespread media attention, I wasn't going to bother writing reports on it. However, Saturday brought us a race that was so exceptional, with such classic performances by all the riders involved, that to make no mention of it would be wrong.

The expected challenge from Giorgia Bronzini - World Champion in 2010 and 2011, a sprinter who can hold her own on the climbs and then recover remarkably quickly before overpowering her rivals to the finish - never materialised, with the Italian trailing far behind the lead group consisting of the Netherlands' Marianne Vos and Anna van der Breggen, Russian Tatiana Antoshina, Italians Elisa Longo Borghini, Rossella Ratto and Tatiana Guderzo, Linda Villumsen of New Zealand, Australian Tiffany Cromwell, German Claudia Hausler and the Swede Emma Johansson as the race entered its final lap

Vos had to accept also-ran status in the Worlds for many years. She won for the first time in 2006 (having been Junior World Champion in 2004), then came second every year until 2012. She is, famously, one of the most sweet-natured and likable people in professional sports, but by her own admission she doesn't like not winning races, so 2013 has been a long build-up to this race and she started in absolutely perfect form. She also knows that van der Breggen is as fine a domestique as any rider could ever hope for (as she proved at last year's Worlds, which is why she'll be joining Vos on the Rabobank-Liv/Giant team in 2014) - so, when the Italians tried to wear her down with repeated attacks on the final attempt of the historic Fiesole where the wealthiest Florentines enjoyed spectacular views of the race from their luxurious villas, she remained unphased and safe in the knowledge that her team mate would deal with anyone who managed to get away.

The reason Vos declined to go after them herself was Emma Johansson, who knocked her off the top place in the UCI rankings recently, the first time that Vos had not been number one for six years; while this was a phenomenon caused largely by the way the rankings are calculated and the changing dates of races, the Swede has nevertheless been the strongest threat to her all season and many fans reckoned she'd be in with a good chance of coming out on top in Tuscany. Johansson is a clever rider and had bided her time to see what effect the Italians' efforts would have; when it became obvious that they were making no difference at all she fell back on Plan B and made her move halfway up, where the climb becomes steepest. The look on Johansson's face when Vos cruised along with her and then overtook made it clear that she knew now she could not win; especially when Ratto declined to join forces in pursuit.

One of the things that makes Vos the most successful cyclist in the world today is her bike-handling - in addition to being able to climb fast, she can also keep control of her machine at high speed on the descents. This allowed her to increase the gap she'd put between herself and Johansson once she was over the summit, then, remembering Ratto's unwillingness to work earlier, Johansson decided she'd simply end the chase and make sure the Italian stayed put in third place; thus Vos increased her lead to 15" and crossed the line alone with her arms jubilantly aloft. She had raced a perfect race, and she deserves her gold medal.

Johansson did manage to hold Ratto off, though they received equal times. Van der Breggen, proving what a real asset to Vos next season, somehow found a little extra strength and managed to get 13" ahead of Evelyn Stevens for fourth place, finishing 33" after her new boss. Stevens was +46", Villumsen was sixth at +50", then Guderzo and Longo Borghini took seventh and eighth at +51". Cromwell and Antoshina, who had fallen back from what was left of the lead group once it split, came in at +1'40 for ninth and tenth.
Marianne Vos ‏@marianne_vosNothing can beat the feeling when crossing the line as the World Champion, but 2nd best is waking up with this view - 
2013 World Championships Results
1 Marianne VOS (Netherlands) 3h44'00"
2 Emma JOHANSSON (Sweden) +15"
3 Rossella RATTO (Italy) ST
4 Anna VAN DER BREGGEN (Netherlands) +33"
5 Evelyn STEVENS (USA) +46"
6 Linda VILLUMSEN (New Zealand) +50"
7 Tatiana GUDERZO (Italy) +52"
9 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia) +01'40"
10 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia) ST
11 Elena KUCHINSKAYA (Russia) +02'41"
12 Claudia HÄUSLER (Germany) +03'34"
13 Pauline FERRAND PREVOT (France) +04'20"
14 Megan GUARNIER (USA) +04'41"
15 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (Netherlands) +05'03"
16 Ellan VAN DIJK (Netherlands) ST
17 Paulina BRZEZNA (Poland) ST
18 Maja WLOSZCZOWSKA (Poland) ++05'05"
19 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Great Britain) +05'28"
20 Trixi WORRACK (Germany) ST
21 Eugenia BUJAK (Poland) ST
22 Ashleigh MOOLMAN (South Africa) ST
23 Flavia OLIVEIRA (Brazil) +ST
24 Francesca CAUZ (Italy) +05'30"
25 Carlee TAYLOR (Australia) +ST
26 Giorgia BRONZINI (Italy) +ST
27 Lucinda BRAND (Netherlands) +06'44"
28 Valentina SCANDOLARA (Italy) +07'40"
29 Jolanda NEFF (Switzerland) ST
30 Oxana KOZONCHUK (Russia) ST
31 Shara GILLOW (Australia) ST
32 Kristin MCGRATH (USA) ST
33 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Canada) ST
34 Edwige PITEL (France) ST
35 Doris SCHWEIZER (Switzerland) +07'46"
36 Tetyana RIABCHENKO (Ukraine) +08'51"
37 Mara ABBOTT (USA) +09'40"
38 Miriam BJØRNSRUD (Norway) +12'09"
39 Liesbet DE VOCHT (Belgium) ST
40 Eri YONAMINE (Japan) ST
41 Susanna ZORZI (Italy) ST
42 Inga CILVINAITE (Lithuania) ST
43 Anastasiya CHULKOVA (Russia) +13'
44 Andrea DVORAK (USA) ST
45 Eivgenia VYSOTSKA (Ukraine) ST

Did Not Finish: Noemi CANTELE (Italy), Hanna SOLOVEY (Ukraine), Audrey CORDON (France) Madelene OLSSON (Sweden), Joanne KIESANOWSKI (New Zealand), Natalia BOYARSKAYA (Russia), Lorena Maria VARGAS VILLAMIL (Colombia), Maaike POLSPOEL (Belgium), Reta TROTMANN (New Zealand), Enkhjargal TUVSHINJARGAL (Mongolia), Cecilie Gotaas JOHNSEN (Norway), Paz BASH (Israel), Uenia FERNANDES DA SOUZA (Brazil), Aude BIANNIC (France), Amanda SPRATT (Australia), Elise DELZENNE (France), Olivia DILLON (Ireland), Melanie SPÄTH (Ireland), Ingrid LORVIK (Norway), Julie LETH (Denmark), Daiva TUSLAITE (Lithuania), Diana PEÑUELA (Colombia), Agne SILINYTE (Lithuania), Špela KERN (Slovenia), Malgorzta JASINSKA (Poland), Patricia SCHWAGER (Switzerland), Lex ALBRECHT (Canada), Romy KASPER (Germany), Lisa BRENNAUER (Germany), Leah KIRCHMANN (Canada), Ane SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ (Spain), Denise RAMSDEN (Canada), Polona BATAGELJ (Slovenia), Ursa PINTAR (Slovenia), Carolina RODRIGUEZ GUTIERREZ (Mexico), Amy CURE (Australia), Gracie ELVIN (Australia), Christine MAJERUS (Luxembourg), Annelies VAN DOORSLAER (Belgium), Sofie DE VUYST (Belgium), Esther FENNEL (Germany), Andrea GRAUS (Austria), Martina RITTER (Austria), Daniela PINTARELLI (Austria), Sara MUSTONEN (Sweden), Joelle NUMAINVILLE (Canada), Amy PIETERS (Netherlands), Minami UENO (Japan), Ana FAGUA (Colombia), Lilibeth CHACON GARCIA (Venezuela), Belen LOPEZ MORALES (Spain), Vita HEINE (Latvia), Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA (Poland), Sari SAARELAINEN (Finland), Ingrid DREXEL (Mexico), Jessie DAAMS (Belgium), Kirsten WILD (Netherlands), Katie COLCLOUGH (Great Britain), Nikki HARRIS (Great Britain), Loes GUNNEWIJK (Netherlands), Lelizaveta OSHURKOVA (Ukraine), Silvija LATOZAITE (Lithuania), Ivanna BOROVYCHENKO (Ukraine), Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (Poland), Lauren KITCHEN (Australia), Martina RUZICKOVA (Czech Republic), Ana Teresa CASAS BONILLA (Mexico), Edith GUILLEN (Costa Rica), Diána SZUROMINÉ PULSFORT (Hungary), Nontasin CHANPENG (Thailand), Jutatip MANEEPHAN (Thailand), Antonela FERENCIC (Croatia), Clemilda FERNANDES SILVA (Brazil), Supaksorn NUNTANA (Thailand), Kathryn BERTINE (St Kitts & Nevis), Véronique FORTIN (Canada), Katazina SOSNA (Lithuania), Christel FERRIER-BRUNEAU (France), Emilia FAHLIN (Sweden), Jessica KIHLBOM (Sweden), Céline VAN SEVEREN (Belgium), Svetlana STOLBOVA (Russia), Hanna NILSSON (Sweden), Martina THOMASSON (Sweden), Elke GEBHARDT (Germany), Karen DOLJAK (Paraguay), Carmen SMALL (USA), Jade WILCOXSON (USA), Lucy GARNER (Great Britain), Emily COLLINS (New Zealand), Tereza TREFNÁ (Czech Republic), Lotta LEPISTÖ (Finland), Samah KHALED (Jordan), Cindi Magali DINATALE (Argentina), Dragana KOVACEVIC (Serbia)

Corrine Hall wins National Scratch Championship
Corrine Hall at the Bedford Three-Day
(Photo copyright Paul Douglas/Matrix RA)
Matrix Racing Academy's Corrine Hall wowed the fans and herself with victory in the Scratch race at the National Track Championships - as the 22-year-old later explained, she hadn't credited herself with any chance against strong rivals, but revealed herself to be a clever tactician by making profitable use of an unexpected situation.

"I knew I wasn't going to win a sprint against Laura [Trott] and Dani [King], so I attacked with seven laps to go" said Londoner Corrine. "It wasn't an attempt to take another lap, but simply to give myself a chance to stay ahead of the pack and take the win. There was definitely a miscalculation behind, as when the peloton finished Laura thought she had won as they didn't realise I was also a lap up. I'm over the moon to be national scratch race champion, what a way to finish an amazing season with a great team. Bring on 2014."

Matrix manager Stef Wyman, who has become one of the most respected figures in women's cycling due to his skill at finding young riders and developing them into world-class professionals, was predictably delighted. "2013 has been a great year for the team," he said. "We have had some outstanding performances with a new group of riders.  It’s hard to get everyone working as one unit in a short space of time as we have riders together so little due to other commitments.  Corrine has been a stand out rider in the UK over the last 2 years.  That’s been noticed and she’s had the opportunity to try her hand at riding pilot for the Paracycling squad, ending up with a rainbow jersey recently."

"We’re very pleased Corrine will be staying with our team in 2014," Wyman added, before outlining his plans to take a revamped Matrix team forward in 2014. "The Women's Tour will add a huge amount of focus to the UK scene and we will be looking to prove we deserve an invitation to that race.  Corrine is a rider that in our opinion can go as far as she wants in the sport, both with the pilot work and on the road and track on her own, so it’ll be interesting to see that progression over the coming seasons."

Scratch Top Ten
1 Corinne HALL
2 Laura TROTT
3 Dani KING
4 Emily KAY 
5 Elinor BARKER 
6 Eileen ROE 
7 Hannah BARNES 
8 Charlene JOINER 
Full result

Jess Varnish won the Keirin, Sprint and 500m TT while Trott took the Points and 3km Individual Pursuit.

2014 Calendar
The UCI has recently made the 2014 Elite Women calendar available. 74 events are listed on it, compared to the 54 that took place in 2013; however, not all of them - such as June's three Golan races, which would take place in Syria, are likely to go ahead. Notably missing are the Tour Languedoc-Roussillon, cancelled a fortnight before it was to due to start in 2012 and then a day before the start in 2013, and the Giro Toscana, which organisers said would not go ahead again after riders protested against the dangerous conditions in the race by refusing to start the final stage.

The events on the calendar also stretch over a longer period. The Tour of Qatar is included for February, but will no longer be the season opener as Argentina hosts the Tour Femenino de San Luis, the new women's counterpart to the Tour de San Luis, in January - two other events, the Ronde van Overijssel (Netherlands) and the Trofee Maarten Wynants (Belgium), are also adding women's races. Worth noting here is the fact that the Trofee has been in existence for just seven editions while the Ronde has been held every year since 1951 (almost; it missed 2001) - the fact that well-established races and relatively new ones are adding women's races can be seen as an encouraging indication that women's cycling is on the up.

October's Chrono des Nations was the final race in 2013, the Brazilian events supposedly happening in November vanishing off the calendar long before they were due to take place - rumour has it that they will be going ahead this year, but we shall see. Another very welcome addition is the new Women's Tour, a women's Tour of Britain, to take place in May. Another notable change involves the World Cup, which increases to nine events - since the GP Ciudad de Valladolid was cancelled in 2012, it has consisted of eight rounds. The Ronde van Drenthe, Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio, Ronde van Vlaanderen, La Flèche Wallonne, Tour of Chongming Island, Open de Suède Vårgårda TTT, Open de Suède Vårgårda RR and GP de Plouay all remain part of the series and will be joined by the Sparkassen Giro, a hugely popular race that forms part of a weekend urban festival at Bochum in Germany.

14.01.2014 18.01.2014 Tour Femenino de San Luis 2.2 ARG
04.02.2014 07.02.2014 Ladies Tour of Qatar 2.1 QAT
26.02.2014 02.03.2014 Vuelta Internacional Femenina a Costa Rica 2.2 CRC
01.03.2014 01.03.2014 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-vrouwen elite / Circuit Het Nieuwsblad-Femmes Elite 1.2 BEL
05.03.2014 05.03.2014 Le Samyn des Dames 1.2 BEL
07.03.2014 07.03.2014 Grand Prix de Oriente 1.1 ESA
09.03.2014 09.03.2014 Omloop van het Hageland - Tielt-Winge 1.2 BEL
09.03.2014 14.03.2014 Vuelta a El Salvador 2.1 ESA
13.03.2014 13.03.2014 Drentse 8 1.2 NED
16.03.2014 16.03.2014 Novilon EDR Cup 1.2 NED
16.03.2014 16.03.2014 Grand Prix GSB 1.1 ESA
17.03.2014 17.03.2014 Grand Prix el Salvador 1.1 ESA
22.03.2014 22.03.2014 Classica Citta di Padova 1.1 ITA
23.03.2014 23.03.2014 Cholet Pays de Loire Dames 1.2 FRA
23.03.2014 23.03.2014 GP Comune di Cornaredo 1.2 ITA
30.03.2014 30.03.2014 Gent-Wevelgem Women Elite 1.2 BEL
07.04.2014 07.04.2014 Grand Prix de Dottignies 1.2 BEL
08.04.2014 10.04.2014 The Princess Maha Chackri Sirindhon's Cup "Women's Tour of Thailand" 2.2 THA
09.04.2014 13.04.2014 Energiewacht Tour 2.2 NED
17.04.2014 17.04.2014 Winston Salem Cycling Classic (WE) 1.2 USA
20.04.2014 20.04.2014 Ronde van Gelderland 1.2 NED
25.04.2014 25.04.2014 GP Liberazione 1.2 ITA
26.04.2014 26.04.2014 EPZ Omloop van Borsele WE 1.2 NED
27.04.2014 27.04.2014 Dwars door de Westhoek 1.1 BEL
30.04.2014 04.05.2014 Gracia Orlova 2.2 CZE
02.05.2014 02.05.2014 Ronde van Overijssel Women 1.1 NED
02.05.2014 04.05.2014 Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclisme féminin Elsy Jacobs 2.1 LUX
03.05.2014 03.05.2014 Copa Federacion Venezolana de Ciclismo 1.2 VEN
04.05.2014 04.05.2014 Clasico FVCiclismo Corre Por la VIDA 1.2 VEN
07.05.2014 11.05.2014 The Women's Tour 2.1 GBR
08.05.2014 08.05.2014 Champ. Panaméricain c.l.m. ind. / Panamerican Champ. ind. TT- WE CC GUA
10.05.2014 10.05.2014 Champ. Panaméricain-en ligne / Panamerican Champ. ind. RR- WE CC GUA
10.05.2014 10.05.2014 Trofee Maarten Wynants 1.2 BEL
14.05.2014 16.05.2014 Tour of Chongming Island 2.1 CHN
17.05.2014 17.05.2014 Grand Prix cycliste de Gatineau 1.1 CAN
19.05.2014 19.05.2014 Chrono Gatineau 1.1 CAN
20.05.2014 20.05.2014 Grand Prix of Maykop 1.2 RUS
21.05.2014 23.05.2014 Tour of Zhoushan Island 2.2 CHN
22.05.2014 25.05.2014 Tour of Adygeya 2.2 RUS
28.05.2014 28.05.2014 Asian Cycling Championships - c.l.m. ind. / ind. TT - WE CC KAZ
30.05.2014 30.05.2014 Boels Rental Hills Classic 1.1 NED
31.05.2014 31.05.2014 Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan Dames 1.2 FRA
31.05.2014 31.05.2014 Rabobank 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg 1.2 NED
31.05.2014 31.05.2014 Asian Cycling Championships - en ligne / ind. road race - WE CC KAZ
31.05.2014 01.06.2014 Auensteiner- Radsporttage 2.2 GER
01.06.2014 01.06.2014 Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik 1.1 BEL
01.06.2014 01.06.2014 The Philadelphia Cycling Classic 1.1 USA
06.06.2014 08.06.2014 Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden 1.2 NED
10.06.2014 10.06.2014 Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria 1.2 ESP
12.06.2014 15.06.2014 Emakumeen Euskal Bira 2.1 ESP
20.06.2014 22.06.2014 Giro del Trentino Alto Adige - Südtirol 2.1 ITA
22.06.2014 22.06.2014 Golan I 1.2 SYR
24.06.2014 24.06.2014 Golan II 1.2 SYR
27.06.2014 27.06.2014 Golan IIl 1.2 SYR
04.07.2014 13.07.2014 Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile 2.1 ITA
06.07.2014 06.07.2014 White Spot / Delta Road Race WE 1.2 CAN
10.07.2014 10.07.2014 Championnat d'Europe U23 c.l.m. / U23 European Championship TT WU CC SUI
10.07.2014 13.07.2014 Tour de Feminin - O cenu Českého Švýcarska 2.2 CZE
12.07.2014 12.07.2014 Championnat d'Europe U23 / U23 European Championship WU CC SUI
16.07.2014 20.07.2014 Tour de Bretagne Féminin 2.2 FRA
19.07.2014 20.07.2014 BeNe Ladies Tour 2.2 NED
21.07.2014 27.07.2014 Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen 2.1 GER
24.07.2014 27.07.2014 Tour Féminin en Limousin 2.2 FRA
02.08.2014 02.08.2014 Erondegemse Pijl (Erpe-Mere) 1.2 BEL
09.08.2014 17.08.2014 La Route de France 2.1 FRA
23.08.2014 27.08.2014 Trophée d'Or Féminin 2.2 FRA
29.08.2014 01.09.2014 Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour 2.2 BEL
01.09.2014 06.09.2014 Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche 2.2 FRA
02.09.2014 07.09.2014 Boels Rental Ladies Tour 2.1 NED
14.09.2014 14.09.2014 Chrono Champenois - Trophée Européen 1.1 FRA
19.10.2014 19.10.2014 Chrono des Nations 1.1 FRA
07.11.2014 09.11.2014 Giro Feminino de Ciclismo 2.2 BRA
11.11.2014 11.11.2014 GP Memorial Bruno Caloi 1.2 BRA
14.11.2014 16.11.2014 Volta Feminina da República 2.2 BRA

Sarah at Podium Cafe has produced an excellent commentary on the new calendar.  Find it here.

Women's VeloJam is back
Last year's women's track cycling event VeloJam, at the historic Herne Hill velodrome, proved an enormous success. So, it's back on this year - and with all the riders who went away telling everyone what a fantastic event it had been in 2012, it's sure to be bigger and better this year.

"The concept is based on the belief that something needs to be done to tap into all the women out there who want to be taken seriously and race track," says the official Herne Hill website. AnaNichoola and Team Mule Bar Girl-Sigma Sport are backing the event.

The event, which takes place under floodlights in the evening of the 5th of October, features categorised races with riders at all levels from Elite to first-time novices getting plenty of track time. Entry is a mere £15 (£20 on the day), a small price to pay for the pleasure of riding in front of a supportive crowd (entry is free for spectators, which makes it all feel more like a party than a race meet) at the 122-year-old velodrome that hosted the track cycling events of the 1948 Olympics. While the event remains a women's cycling event, the Madison is now open to mixed pairs.

Oh, and there's £1000 of prizes, too.

Online entry here.
Can you help?VeloJam's catering deal has fallen through and race organisers are looking for someone who can step in and help - they're interested in anything from a table full of sandwiches to a manned barbecue to a proper catering van. They'd also be very interested to hear from anyone who might be able to create a film of the event - more details here.

UCI abolishes age rule
In one of the first big changes since Brian Cookson took over as president and appointed Tracey Gaudrey as one of his three vice-presidents, the UCI has announced the immediate end of the Women's Elite Team rule.

The rule, which officially no longer applies after the 1st of October 2013 (yesterday, as I write this) dictated that the majority of members of any team had to be 28 or lower. The rule is widely suspected to have been carried over into women's cycling from the Continental teams, which serve as development squads, when Continental regulations were simply copied and reused for the Elite Women's teams. While the reasoning behind keeping it (presumably, to ensure younger riders got a chance to race) was reasonably sound, it frequently hamstrung teams and led to older riders being left out of events in which they would perform well - and made it much more difficult for them to find contracts, despite female riders having been shown to maintain their athletic peak for longer than their male counterparts.

Le Tour Entier, the organisation led by Kathryn Bertine, Emma Pooley, Marianne Vos and Chrissie Wellington, had listed opposition to the rule as one of the main points in its manifesto, along with pressing the ASO to organise a women's Tour de France.

Transfers and Team News
As reported here last week, Specialized-Lululemon's British star Katie Colclough has decided to retire from professional cycling at the age of just 23. During an interview with the BBC at the World Championships, Colclough said that one of the reasons behind her decision is that it's virtually impossible to make a decent living from women's cycling - a timely reminder, now that Brian Cookson is president of the UCI, that the sport has been neglected. Good luck, Katie - we'll all be hoping you return to racing one day.

Argos-Shimano are taking on three new members - Kyara Stijns and Floortje Mackaij, who will both be joining an Elite team for the first time, and Maaike Polspoel. Stijns is current Junior Dutch Road Race Champion and has been impressing with her climbing skills; Mackaij won a stage and the Points competition at the Junior Energiewacht Tour this year, then became Junior National ITT Champion. Polspoel, who spent 2013 with Sengers, was second at the Belgian National Road Race and ITT Championships, second at the Sparkassen Giro and won Erpe-Mere. The team has extended Lucy Garner and Kirsten Wild's contracts.

Telenet-Fidea, home to cyclo crossers Nikki Harris and Sophie de Boer, has signed a new contract with its sponsors. This guarantees the team's future until 2017.

Shorts and Interesting Links
Women's sports digital TV channel in the pipeline?
Quite possibly, if Specialized-Lululemon boss Kristy Scrymgeour has her way (and let's hope she does) - in an interview with Bicycling magazine, she revealed she has plans to do just that, and cycling would be the centrepiece.

"I am trying to come up with a digital channel for women, because women’s cycling needs to be on TV," she said. It doesn’t need to be the major networks or even cable. And it doesn’t have to be five hours of racing. We need to tell the stories."

Read the Bicycling interview here.

London Nocturne 2014
The IG Markets London Nocturne, which in just a few years has become one of the most prestigious races in the UK, will be held on the 7th of June in 2014, say organisers. More information on the official website.

BC searching for new Paralympic stars
Could you be one of Britain's next generation of Paralympic champions? British Cycling would like to hear from you if you think you have what it takes. Requirements are:

  • Aged 16+
  • An existing UK Passport holder (or being eligible for one)
  • A sporty background (although not necessarily at national level)
  • The team is looking for women and girls across all para-cyling classifications including those who are visually impaired, lower limb amputees (single or double, above or below knee), cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, minor impairments (such as mild impairment to one arm, moderate impairment to one leg, loss of part of the arm).
  • A desire and determination to be the world’s best
  • Ability to commit to the programme

More information here.

Interesting Links
Vos and van Dijk interviewed (in Dutch) (Pauw en Witteman)
Kittie Knox honoured (Boston Globe)
Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade: Latina bicyclists answer macho bike culture with their own chain gang (LA Times)
10 myths about women and cycling (Momentum Mag)
Athelete spotlight: Alison Tetrick (Race Vista)
New UCI president Brian Cookson must address issues in women's cycling (Sky Sports)
Scotland cycling team making progress, says Gary Coltman (BBC Sport)
British Cycling National Track Championships: Laura Trott wins women's individual pursuit (Sky Sports)
Lisandra Guerra Wins Two Gold Medals in Cuba Track Cycling Cup (Prensa Latina)
Varnish wins women's sprint at 2013 British National Track Championships to maintain 100% record (British Cycling)
Gracie Elvin's Worlds Diary (Cycling Tips)
More must be done if cycling is to stop peddling a disparity between sexes (Herald Scotland)
Women’s team time trial was great, but coverage wasn’t (Roar)
Phantom bike lane appears where Sian Green was hit in New York (Bike Radar)
Pro Bike Profile: Helen Wyman’s Disc Brake Kona Super Jake CX (Cyclocross Magazine)
Pro Bike: Marianne Vos' Giant Envie Advanced (Bike Radar)
The course that teaches female cyclists to "own the road" (Guardian)
Cound heads up Msunduzi women’s field (SuperSport)
Rider Profile: Megan Gray (Seattle PI)

Calling Irish cyclists!

Photo of the Week
History being made - 4x4km Women's Pursuit in Manchester

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Marianne Vos, 2013 World Champion

1 Marianne VOS (Netherlands) 3h44'00"
2 Emma JOHANSSON (Sweden) +15"
3 Rossella RATTO (Italy) +15"
4 Anna VAN DER BREGGEN (Netherlands) +33"
5 Evelyn STEVENS (USA) +46"
6 Linda VILLUMSEN (New Zealand) +50"
7 Tatiana GUDERZO (Italy) +52"
9 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia) +01'40"
10 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia) ST

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Women's Cycling News 22-29.09.2013

UCI events this week - World Championships: GBR Worlds squad unveiled, Results and News, Junior Results, World Champs on the BBC - Katie Colclough retires - Still no UCI statement on Giro Toscana - VeloJam is back - Shorts and Interesting Links: Armitstead targets Tour of Britain, Cookson wins UCI election - more to come...

UCI  Women's races this week: World Road Racing Championships - Elite Team Time Trial (22.09), Junior Individual Time Trial (23.09), Elite Individual Time Trial (24.09), Junior Road Race (27.09), Elite Road Race (28.09).

World Championships
The World Championships is the only time during a non-Olympic year that women's races get anything like the mainstream media coverage they deserve, so Les Deesses won't be featuring the race guides, maps, start lists and race reports that I write for all the Elite events (not least of all because single-handedly writing guides for the 56 races in that category that took place in 2013 has been hard work, and it's nice to sit back and enjoy a race without thinking what you're going to write about it) - you can get all that from the excellent official website or, for a change, from most of the cycling magazine websites. I'll still write some brief reviews of the action and post results, however, simply because I bloody love this sport, as well as compiling a list of links to anything especially interesting. :-)

GBR World team unveiled
Armitstead will lead the GBR team
Lucy Garner was revealed to have a provisional place on Great Britain's World Championships team recently and nobody who knows anything about her career will be surprised to see she's made it onto the official, final roster - Garner was, after all, Junior World Champion twice and is hotly tipped to be the next big thing in British women's cycling. Experienced riders Lizzie Armitstead, Katie Colclough and Nikki Harris will join her.

Emma Pooley was named on the long list as a prospective member of the road race team in addition to being the sole choice for the Individual Time Trial; since she has declined her place at the Worlds in order to concentrate on working towards her PhD it isn't clear who'll replace in the TT. Anna Christian and Bethany Hayward will contest the Junior Road Race.

Team Time Trial
Specialized-Lululemon have dominated the team time trials in every race they've entered this year, so the outcome of the TTT at the World Championships was surely the safest bet in any sporting event this year - I have no idea what sort of odds the bookies were offering, but if you put money on them you won't be getting much of a profit.

In fact, Lululemon are so good against the clock that nobody will be much surprised by their winning margin, either: they got round the course in 51'10.69", 1'11.09" faster than second place Rabobank and 1'33.83" over Orica-AIS, the only teams that have been able to get anywhere near them all season.

"The other teams would only have had a chance at winning gold if Specialized made a mistake," an admiring Marianne Vos told the Dutch NOS website.

TTT Result
1 Specialized-Lululemon 51'10.69"
2 Rabobank-Liv/Giant +01'11.09"
3 Orica-AIS +01'33.83"
4 RusVelo +02'02.31"
5 MCipollini-Giordana +02'18.83"
6 Wiggle-Honda +02'33.00"
7 Argos-Shimano +02'50.51"
8 Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies +3:03.44
9 Sengers +03'05.80"
10 Boels-Dolmans +03'33.70"
11 BePink +03'48.49"
12 S.C. Michela Fanini-ROX +04'34.18"
13 Hitec Products-UCK +04'38.50"
14 Lotto-Belisol +04'46.14"
15 Faren-Kuota +05'27.38"
16 Vaino Fondriest +05'30.87"
Riders, details

Individual Time Trial
Ellen van Dijk has won almost every individual time trial in which she's competed this year, but after several years in which performance levels in women's cycling has been steadily increasing it was impossible to say any one rider had the best chance of winning in this race - there's just too much talent around these days, and the best in the world are in Tuscany.

Van Dijk in Lululemon kit with the gold
medal she won in the team time trial
earlier this week
It was soon clear that van Dijk was going to get a place on the podium when, as one of the last riders to go, she set a blistering pace; when she completed the course in 27'48.18", most fans decided then and there that she'd won - as indeed proved to be the case, with Linda Villumsen of New Zealand taking more than 24" longer to get around the 21.8km parcours. American Carmen Small was third at +28.74".

The finishing order is especially interesting for the two relatively unknown names that placed highly: Annika Langvad, who was sixth, and Hanna Solovey in eighth. 29-year-old Langvad started her cycling career on fat tyres and came third in the 2008 Danish National Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships, then made a name for herself on the road when she won the National Road Race and Time Trial Championships in 2010. In 2011 she held onto the ITT title, but then gave it up in 2012 when she concentrated on MTB (and won the National Cross Country Championship and the World MTB Marathon Championship); in June this year she once again became National ITT Champion. Hanna (or Ganna, as it's also spelled) Solovey's is a name that people may remember - she's just returned to cycling after a ban (ended 1st July), having been caught out in a test for the steroid Drostanolone. Solovey used the drug when she was just 19 and  is, remarkably, still only 21 years old - making her eighth place result against the top time trial riders in the world even more impressive, if she can be assumed to be clean now (it should be added that Solovey would not be the first young rider to be pressured into doping by a crooked trainer, which is a convincing counter to the argument that all athletes found to have doped should be banned for life without question). Junior World ITT Champion in 2009 and 2010, Solovey went on to become National ITT Champion at Elite level in 2012 and is European Under-23 ITT Champion and National Omnium Champion this year, when she also finished third in the European U-23 Road Race Championships. Given a season or so of good results, in her races and in the dope-tester's trailer, and it's a safe bet that we'll be seeing Solovey take up a contract with one of the top professional teams very soon.
Ellen van Dijk ‏@ellenvdijk WORLDCHAMPION!! I am the happiest girl on the planet :))))))))))))) 
Ellen van Dijk ‏@ellenvdijk What a feeling to wake up with! I think I honestly understand what this guy feels now :)
Top Ten
1 Ellen VAN DIJK (Netherlands) 27'48.18"
2 Linda VILLUMSEN (New Zealand) +24.10"
3 Carmen SMALL (USA) +28.74"
4 Evelyn STEVENS (USA) +28.78"
5 Trixi WORRACK (Germany) +31.66"
6 Annika LANGVAD (Denmark) +39.51"
7 Olga ZABELINSKAYA (Russia) +40.30"
8 Hanna SOLOVEY (Ukraine) +42.48"
9 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia) +42.57"
10 Emma JOHANSSON (Sweden) +52.98"
Full result

Junior Worlds Results
Severine Eraud, last rider to go, was 13.5" behind Alexandria Nicholls who had been first to go amd this held the best time right up until Eraud's ride. However, the 18-year-old, who is currently French and European Junior ITT Champion, put in a blazing performace over the final part of the parcours and took 2.69" out of the Australian.

Individual Time Trial
1 Severine ERAUD (France) 22'42.63"
2 Alexandria NICHOLLS (Australia) +02.69"
3 Alexandra MANLY (Australia) +08.17"
4 Zavinta TITENYTE (Lithuania) +11.49"
5 Anastasiia IAKOVENKO (Russia) +13.05"
6 Demi DE JONG (Netherlands) +14.11"
7 Kelly CATLIN (USA) +20.72"
8 Floortje MACKAIJ (Netherlands) +21.04"
9 Kinley GIBSON (Canada) +22.81"
10 Luisa KATTINGER (Germany) +23.47"
Full result

World Champs on the BBC
Remember when you last got to see a women's bike race in glorious BBC technovision? Probably, as it would have been the last World Championships a year ago; unless they've been showing all the races that have taken place since then during the early hours of the morning when I'm asleep.

Anyway, the good news is that you can see this year's races too. Chris Boardman and Simon Brotherton (who has taken over now that Hugh Porter's retired) are in charge of presenting duties and will doubtless anger and/or amuse us at various times by displaying their lack of knowledge of women's cycling, but hey - at least the race is on telly.*

The BBC's full schedule is as follows:
BBC Red Button September 22, 2013 13:30-16:40 Live Women & Men Elite TTT
BBC Red Button  September 24, 2013 13:30-15:50 Live Women Elite ITT
BBC Red Button September 25, 2013 12:15-13:40 Live Men Elite ITT
BBC2 September 25, 2013 13:40-16:10 Live Men Elite ITT + highlight Women ITT and Men TTT
BBC1 September 28, 2013 15:30-16:30 Live Women Elite Road Race
BBC2 September 28, 2013 16:30-17:15 Live Women Elite Road Race
BBC Red Button September 29, 2013 12:30-14:15 Live Men Elite Road Race
BBC2 September 29, 2013 14:15-16:15 Live Men Elite Road Race
BBC Sport September 28, 2013 13:00-17:00 Live Women Elite Road Race

BBC Sport September 29, 2013 09:00-16:15 Live Men Elite Road Race
Full international listing

*Seriously though, Beeb, there are loads of women with a detailed knowledge of the sport (including some retired riders) who'd do a far better job than Boardman and Brotherton.

Katie Colclough retires
She's only 23, at least four years from the age at which most cyclists start to reach the peak of their athletic ability, but Katie Colclough has decided it's time to move on.

Interviewed by the BBC at the World Championships, Colclough revealed that one factor in her decision to retire is the impossibility of making a good living from the sport. The Elite Women, unlike their male counterparts in the ProTour series, do not receive a minimum wage; with the teams operating on small budgets, many of the riders work full-time as well as racing simply in order to be able to make ends meet.

"It is time to try something new and different. I'm not sure what I'll do," Lincolnshire-born Colclough told the magazine - having been racing since she was a schoolgirl, she's already been in the sport for more years than the vast majority of professional careers last.

Still no UCI Giro Toscana statement
Considering that the World Championships are the UCI's premier, showcase event and that Stage 4 - the one that most of the riders refused to race, because of safety concerns - of the Giro Toscana took place on a very similar route, it seems peculiar that the UCI didn't feel it was important to publish as soon as it possibly could a press statement ensuring that riders' safety would be guaranteed.

The Giro has a history of mishaps, and this year's edition was not the first to be hit by a riders' protest. Insufficient official vehicles and police escorts were provided, meaning that only the riders in the lead group rode on closed roads - any riders further back were racing on open roads, among traffic; riders therefore felt that a stage ending in Florence, one of the region's busiest cities, was simply too dangerous and around 60 of them (including the race leader, all of her rivals and most of the top teams) refused to have any more to do with it.

Were a similar thing to happen at the Worlds, which will attract international audiences far bigger than those that followed the Giro Toscana, it would be an enormous embarrassment to the UCI, the reputation of which has suffered serious damage over the last couple of years due to the revelations concerning Lance Armstrong.

Women's VeloJam is back
Last year's women's track cycling event VeloJam, at the historic Herne Hill velodrome, proved an enormous success. So, it's back on this year - and with all the riders who went away telling everyone what a fantastic event it had been in 2012, it's sure to be bigger and better this year.

"The concept is based on the belief that something needs to be done to tap into all the women out there who want to be taken seriously and race track," says the official Herne Hill website. AnaNichoola and Team Mule Bar Girl-Sigma Sport are backing the event.

The event, which takes place under floodlights in the evening of the 5th of October, features categorised races with riders at all levels from Elite to first-time novices getting plenty of track time. Entry is a mere £15 (£20 on the day), a small price to pay for the pleasure of riding in front of a supportive crowd (entry is free for spectators, which makes it all feel more like a party than a race meet) at the 122-year-old velodrome that hosted the track cycling events of the 1948 Olympics.

Oh, and there's £1000 of prizes, too.

Online entry here.

Shorts and Interesting Links
Armitstead aims at Tour of Britain
"If there is a women’s Tour of Britain next season I would base half my year around trying to win it," Lizzie Armitstead told Mancunian Matters, reasoning that victory in the race - which looks certain to go ahead early in 2014 - would bring attention to women's cycling in Britain much as Bradley Wiggins' 2012 Tour de France win saw the popularity of professional cycling soar.

Cookson wins UCI election
Brian Cookson, who has expressed a desire to encourage the development of professional women's cycling during his election campaign, has won in his bid to become the new president of the UCI. More from the Daily Telegraph.

Interesting Links
"At the moment it is a third of one person’s job at the UCI to develop all aspects of women’s cycling all around the world" Brian Cookson interview, VeloNation
Team Time Trialling in Toscana (Podium Cafe)
Lucy Garner's dream debut (Cycling Weekly)
No regrets from Cromwell after Toscana dispute (Cycling News)
Cyclist Claire gets Ulster call-up (Ballymena Times)
Orica-AIS confident of proving skeptics wrong to win gold (Brisbane Times)

More to come...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Women's Cycling News 15-22.09.2013

UCI events this week - Riders' strike at Giro Toscana, Tibco press release, Toscana organiser calls strike "disgraceful" - Chrono Champenois - It's 'Cross season and the Brits mean business - Cheap bike kit at Aldi - Interesting Links - more to come...

UCI Elite Women's races this week: Chrono Champenois (15.09.2013); Team Time Trial World Championships (22.09.2013).

Riders' strike at Giro Toscana
Several teams, including Rabobank-Liv/Giant, Hitec Products-UCK, Wiggle-Honda, Orica-AIS, Boels-Dolmans and the USA national team, refused to take part in the final stage of the Giro Toscana in protest at safety issues in the race (see "Riders threaten strike," below).

Riders' representatives Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products-UCK), Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) and Noemi Cantele (BePink) and team directors had met with organisers and commissaires prior to the stage to discuss their concerns - the race has taken place on what are effectively open roads, with only the lead riders given a police escort while the rest of the pack have been racing in traffic. However, commissaires ruled that the final stage, which was to finish in Florence, would go ahead as organisers wished.

Claudia Hausler was the fastest of
 the 49 riders to remain in the race
In all, 63 riders took part in the strike, including most of the top stars in the race: Rabobank is home to Marianne Vos, the most successful rider in the world today and the leader of the race since the first stage, Orica to Emma Johansson, who has been Vos' biggest rival this year and was in second place overall, while Wiggle's Giorgia Bronzini, one of the most popular riders with fans, won Stage 1; making the teams' refusal highly embarrassing to race organisers. 49 riders, mostly Italian, started and were booed by fans, says journalist Bart Hazen who was at the race; fans are now split into two groups - those who feel that all the riders should have taken part in the protest and those who feel that there are various reasons that some riders might have felt obliged to race, including financial pressure (remember that many "professional" riders have to work in addition to racing simply to make ends meet) and - for the Italians especially - because they felt they owed it to the fans. There are also those who have wondered aloud if any of the teams that remained in the race decided to do so only after rival squads decided not to, the lure of relatively easy UCI points being too great.

The entire S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox team, which is owned by race organiser Brunello Fanini, started the stage; their Aude Biannic was first over the finish line, recording a time of 2h28'28". Her team mates Liisi Rist and Jutatip Maneephan were second and third with the same time. Claudia Hausler (Tibco-To The Top) recorded the fastest overall time of the 49 riders that finished the race, clocking in at 11h57'54". Tatiana Antoshina (MCipollini-Giordana) was second at +1", Francesca Cauz (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) was third at +5'47".

Tibco founder issues press release
While Tibco-To The Top, for whom Claudia Hausler rides, elected to remain in the race, their decision was not taken lightly - and the team's founder Linda Jackson issued a press release on Tuesday stating that Tibco "will not accept any benefit" other than what they had earned by the end of Stage 3, before the protest.

Jackson began the release by expressing her support for all the riders, whether they took part in the protest or carried on, pointing out that everyone had the right to decided for themselves what they considered the best option.

"What I don't support, and I let the UCI know this," she added, "is any rider gaining any advantage, financial or points, based on racing the reduced final stage." The release can be read in full here.

Strike "disgraceful and self-serving," says Toscana organiser
In an outburst that won't win him any friends among riders or fans and may very well spell the end of his race, Giro Toscana organiser Brunello Fanini has termed the riders' strike "disgraceful and self-serving."

The stage went ahead "without problems," in the words of Fanini, the father of Michela Fanini in whose memory the race is held. "The losers today are the so-called big names in women's cycling and women's cycling in general," he added.

Fanini also hinted that the race may not go ahead in future - while the loss of another women's race is rarely a good thing, in this case it's unlikely to be missed by any of the riders: it has a reputation for bad organisation and putting riders in serious risk of injury going back years, and this is not the first time it's been disrupted by a riders' protest.

"No amount of reassurances by the organizers or the police was going to re-establish the confidence lost during the previous days (and years, as far as this particular race is concerned)," said Orica-AIS directeur sportif Martin Barras.
Lauren Kitchen ‏@LaurenKitchen1 No start today in Toscana. Safety needs to assured before we can race.
Tiffany Jane ‏@tiffanycromwell Well that was an anticlimax to finish Toscana but we took a stand for our safety and 80% of the peloton did not start the final stage.
Emma Johansson ‏@emmaprocyclist Proud of all teams/riders standing up for our safety by not starting in Toscana today! #SafetyFirst #OnMyWayHome

Stage 4 Top Ten
1 Aude BIANNIC (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) 2h28'28"
2 Liisi RIST (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) ST
3 Jutatip MANEEPHAN (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) ST
4 Eivgenia VYSOTSKA (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) ST
5 Edwige PITEL (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) ST
6 Lara VIECELI (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) ST
7 Lisa FISCHER (Germany NT) ST
8 Stephanie POHL (Germany NT) ST
9 Edita JANELIUNAITE (Pasta Zara-Cogeas) ST
10 Uenia FERNANDES DA SOUZA (Chirio Forno d'Asolo) ST
Full result

Overall General Classification Top Ten
1 Claudia HÄUSLER (Tibco-To The Top) 11h57'54"
2 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (MCipollini-Giordana) +01"
3 Francesca CAUZ (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) +05'47"
4 Valentina SCANDOLARA (MCipollini-Giordana) +05'59"
5 Shelley OLDS (Tibco-To The Top) +09'45"
6 Tetyana RIABCHENKO (Chirio Forno d'Asolo) +13'25"
7 Asja PALADIN (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) +14'31"
8 Inga CILVINAITE (Pasta Zara-Cogeas) +15'26"
9 Eivgenia VYSOTSKA (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) +15'36"
10 Aude BIANNIC (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) +17'17"
Full result

Points: 1 Shelley Olds (Tibco-To The Top) 25; 2 Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) 19; 3 Aude Biannic (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) 15. Mountains: 1 Francesca Cauz (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) 22; 2 Malgorzata Jasinska (MCipollini-Giordana) 17; 3 Tatiana Antoshina (MCipollini-Giordana) 9. Sprints: 1 Edita Janeliunaite (Pasta Zara-Cogeas) 19; 2 Liisi Rist (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) 6; 3 Francesca Cauz (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) 5; Youth: 1 Francesca Cauz (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) 12h03'41"; 2 Asja Paladin (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) +08'44"; 3 Aude Biannic (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) +11'30".

Chrono Champenois
Ellen van Dijk at the 2012 Olympics
As has been the case at so many time trials this year, the Chrono Champenois became two entirely separate races - one between Specialized-Lululemon and Orica-AIS for first and second place, and one between all the other teams for other places. Once again, it was Lululemon that came out on top - Ellen van Dijk, favourite for this race and for next week's Individual Time Trial World Championships, took first place when she got around the 33.4km Betheny parcours in a lightning-quick 43'49"; her team mate Carmen Small was 1'43" slower but took second place while Orica's Shara Gillow was third at +2'07".

Top Ten
1 Ellen VAN DIJK (Specialized-Lululemon) 43'49"
2 Carmen SMALL (Specialized-Lululemon) +01'43"
3 Shara GILLOW (Orica-AIS) +02'07"
4 Lisa BRENNAUER (Specialized-Lululemon) +02'23"
5 Olga ZABELINSKAYA (RusVelo) +02'46"
6 Alexandra BURCHENKOVA (RusVelo) +03'01"
7 Taryn HEATHER (Australia NT) +03'10"
8 Malin RYDLUND (Sweden NT) +03'32"
9 Martina RITTER (Austria NT) +03'41"
10 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) +03'46"
Full result

It's 'Cross season - and the Brits mean business!
The road racing season is winding down, but for many cycling fans that's not entirely a bad thing - because it means cyclo cross season is starting up. There were two prestigious cross races in the USA in the last couple of days, StarCrossed and Catamount, and British women won them both.

Gabby Day won StarCrossed after crossing the line 23" ahead of the USA's Courtenay McFadden, taking a time of 44'44", while Mical Dyck of Canada was third at +29".

Helen Wyman
Current European Champion Helen Wyman's victory at Catamount was won by an even larger margin of 47", taking 36'31" to finish - however, at just 20 years old, Canadian second place Maghalie Rochette's time was more than enough to turn heads. Crystal Anthony of the USA was third at 37'43.

The Catamount women's race was sponsored by engineering firm ENGVT, which put up extra cash to make the prizes on offer to the riders equal to those in the men's race. This, Wyman pointed out, made it important to race hard. Take note, sponsors - back women's cycling and the riders will make sure you get value for money!

Meanwhile, 'cross is waking up on the other side of the Atlantic, too: Süpercross Baden in Switzerland was the first big European meet of the year. Belgian 'cross star Sanne Cant showed off the skills that have earned her seven Belgian championships and recorded a winning time of 45'13", having finally got away from the Netherlands' Sophie De Boer who was right on her wheel for much of the race before tiring and taking second place at 45'27". Switzerland's Nicole Koller was third at 45'52", a remarkable result for a 16-year-old: "I even surprised myself with that result," said Koller. "It's really good for me, that I could do that," she added, before going on to explain that while she may decide to concentrate on mountain biking in the future she hasn't ruled out racing in the Swiss National Championships in January.

Cant praised the event on Twitter, congratulating the race committee on the "nice track and perfect organisation."

StarCrossed Top Ten
1 Gabby DAY 44'44"
2 Courtenay MCFADDEN 45'07"
3 Mical DYCK 45'13"
4 Susan BUTLER 45'14"
5 Jessica CUTLER 45'33"
6 Beth Ann ORTON 45'47"
7 Caroline MANI 46'19"
8 Jean Ann BERKENPAS 46'28"
9 Rebecca GROSS 46'30"
10 Marsa DANIEL ST
Full result

Catamount Top Ten
1 Helen WYMAN 36'31"
2 Maghalie ROCHETTE 37'18"
3 Crystal ANTHONY 37'43"
4 Maureen BRUNO ROY 37'48"
5 Natasha ELLIOTT 38'23"
6 Lyne BESSETTE 38'33"
7 Katerine NORTHCOTT 38'53"
8 Arley KEMMERER 38'57"
9 Kathleen LYSAKOWSKI 38'58"
10 Emma WHITE 39'14"
Full result

Süpercross Baden Top Ten
1 Sanne CANT 45'13"
2 Sophie DE BOER 45'27"
3 Nicole KOLLER 45'52"
4 Ellen VAN LOY 46'20"
5 Pavla HAVLIKOVA 46'23"
6 Nicole HANSELMANN 47'40"
7 Marlène MOREL PETITGIRARD 48'18"
8 Sina FREI 48'29"
9 Martina ZWICK 48'50"
10 Lise-Marie HENZELIN 49'19"
Full result

Not an advertising feature! Need a winter jacket but on a tight budget?
Aldi have a new range of bargain cycling gear going on sale on the 26th of September. In addition to the jacket, they'll also have a triathlon suit and a jersey - all of them available in women-specific cut and sizes as well as men's.

The prices aren't up on the website yet, but the winter jacket looks like it'll probably be a decent addition to anyone's cycling kit - of course, it'll never compare to a £300 jacket, but the quality to price ratio of cycling kit sold by the supermarket chain in the past has been pretty reasonable. Probably well worth a look if you need new kit at a good price - just keep away from all that cheap-but-delicious German hazelnut chocolate they sell in there.

Interesting Links
Guardian interview with Brian Cookson (go to the 13th paragraph for the women's cycling bit!)
Female professional cycling in decline (The Scotsman) 
Nicole Cooke fights to close cycling's divide as Tour of Britain starts (The Guardian)
Hong Kong’s women cyclists fall short at National Games (South China Morning Post)
Meet Shirin Gerami, Iran's first female triathlete (The Guardian)
Chrissie Wellington's return to politics (BBC)