Thursday, 28 June 2012

Giro Donne news

RAISport2 will be broadcasting a 50-minute show each day at 19:00CEST (18:00BST), featuring race coverage, results and interviews with the riders. The channel is widely streamed online.

The Giro hasn't got off to a good start for the favourite Marianne Vos, who has had one of her bikes stolen. The highly distinctive Giant machine had already been sent to Italy ahead of the Dutch star, who was traveling to the race with the Rabobank team when the news reached her.

The official Twitter account is @Girodonne, hashtag #girodonne

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

(Most) Giro Donne stage maps/profiles revealed

Stages 5 and 7 are still under wraps for some reason.

1 29 June: Napoli - Terracina 139 km
2 30 June: Roma - Roma (individual time trial) 8 km
3 1 July: Montecatini - Montecatini 99 km
4 2 July: Vernio - Castiglione dei Pepoli 126 km
5 3 July: Polesella - Molinella 126 km
6 4 July: Modena - Salsomaggiore 124 km
7 5 July: Salice Terme - Castagnole delle Lanze 120 km
8 6 July: Crugnola di Mornago - Lonate Pozzolo 117 km
9 7 July: Sarnico - Bergamo 108 km


Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 6

Stage 8

Stage 9

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Giro Trentino Donne Stages 2a and 2b

Stage 2a
Sunday morning's Stage 2a consisted of four laps around a 15.7km parcours at Sarnonico, without the big climbs that have formed part of this race in years gone by but with a few hills. A small rise of only around 35m began right at the start line and continued for the first 0.8km, followed by a mostly flat section leading to just past 5km and a 135m descent to 7.5km; from that point back to the start line it was mostly uphill through the forested hills just north of Romeno.

There were the three intermediate sprints - the first at 16.5km, the second at 31.4km and the third at 47.1km; each of them beginning at the top of the low hill 0.8km after the finish line. The first two fell to Fabiana Luperini (Faren-Honda) with Sharon Laws (AA Drink second, Grete Treier (S.C. Michela Fanini Rox) third and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss) fouth, the four of them having led for most of the race despite the consistent effort of a strong chase group that included Emma Pooley (AA, Judith Arndt (GreenEDGE) and several others. Luperini and Laws switched places on the third.

Sharon Laws laid down some serious
power to get within 10" of Luperini
within a very short time
The hills weren't big, but 242m of vertical gain per lap has a cumulative effect: not far off 1000m for the entire stage - that's a respectable climb by anybody's standards and was expected to bring the climbers, many of whom were left looking a little out of place on yesterday's flat and sprinty 98km parcours, right back into the game. There might not be any of the knee-busting high mountains where the likes of Pooley could leave the rest of the field standing, but since the climbers will have suffered much less than the sprinters by the last part of the race they were expected to do well today. That turned out to be very much the case when five-time winner Luperini launched a solo attack leading into the final kilometres, breaking away from the other three leaders to gain a lead that grew to 28" for a short while. Only Laws could put up any sort of meaningful resistance, using a burst of sheer power to get within 12" as the finish line approached. She chased the Italian all the way, but her efforts came too late and Luperini won by 10" in what must have been one of the most hard-fought and exciting stage finishes so far this season. What made the situation even more interesting, however, is that the race was now in the unusual position of having the lead time shared by five riders, more than half of whom with an apparently very real chance of doing sufficiently well in the time trial to win overall...

Stage Result
1. Luperini,
2. Laws +10";
3. Treier +35",
4. Guderzo +40",
5. Ratto +51"
6. Cantele  ST
7. Vullumsen  ST
(Top ten and links to full results to come...)

Top Eight GC after Stage 2a

  1.  Noemi Cantele Be Pink 2h32'33"
  2.  Linda Villumsen GreenEDGE ST
  3.  Malgorzata Jasinska MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  4.  Charlotte Becker Specialized-Lululemon ST
  5.  Alexandra Burchenkova S.C. Michela Fanini Rox ST
  6.  Olga Zabelinskaya RusVelo ST
  7.  Emma Pooley AA ST
  8.  Rossella Ratto Verinlegno-Fabiani ST

2a Photos: Luperini wins - Podium
Official race photoset

Villumsen leads Stage 2a
Stage 2b
Linda Villumsen, seen here competing for
her native Denmark in 2009, won both
the stage and overall
This afternoon the riders were back in action on what seemed a rather flat and straight-forward 5km time trial on paper; exploring the route with Google Earth revealed a number of tricky corners and tight Z-bends, especially on the cycle path leading back to the start, and several of the riders said afterwards that the initial 0.8km were far harder work than they'd expected. It looked like a good one for Judith Arndt, race organisers fancied Emma Pooley's chances and fans had made various choices of their own.

Marta Bastianelli was the eleventh rider to go and set an early benchmark at 8'48.33", but it wasn't very long before Elke Gebhardt (Be Pink) cracked it with 8'40.45". Shelley Olds (AA then toppled her when she completed the course in 8'26.83", which stood as best time for a while until Katarzyna Sosna (Vaiana-Tepso) shaved off more than eight seconds to record 8'18.91". Inga Cilvinaite (Diadora-Pasta Zara) came close with 8'20.98" before Jessie Daams managed 8'17.58" (AA

By this time, the real big-hitters were getting ready to head out. Judith Arndt showed them all how it's done with a blistering 7'57.69" - the first sub-8' and enough, many will have thought, to win her the stage; but then Linda Villumsen (GreenEDGE) smashed it with 7'53.14", winning herself the General Classification and the stage. Noemi Cantele, who performed so well to win Stage 1, was still to go but at this point her ride was really just a formality: only her most die-hard fans would have given her much chance of beating those superb times dset by Arndt and Villumsen, and her eventual 8'08.06" is proof that she was outclassed.

Stage 2b

  1.  Linda Villumsen GreenEDGE 7'53"
  2.  Judith Arndt GreenEDGE +04"
  3.  Olga Zabelinskaya RusVelo +07"
  4.  Claudia Haüsler GreenEDGE +14"
  5.  Emma Pooley AA ST
  6.  Noemi Cantele Be Pink ST
  7.  Tatiana Guderzo MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss +16"
  8.  Rossella Ratto Verinlegno-Fabiani +22"
  9.  Jessie Daams AA +24"
  10.  Katarzyna Sosna Vaiana - Tepso +25"
(Full stage result)

Final General Classification

  1.  Linda Villumsen GreenEDGE 4h26'05"
  2.  Olga Zabelinskaya RusVelo +07" 40
  3.  Emma Pooley AA +14"
  4.  Noemi Cantele Be Pink +15"
  5.  Rossella Ratto Verinlegno-Fabiani +22"
  6.  Charlotte Becker Specialized-Lululemon +38"
  7.  Alexandra Burchenkova S.C. Michela Fanini Rox +40"
  8.  Malgorzata Jasinska MCipollin-Giambenini-Gauss +1'41"
  9.  Sharon Laws AA +3'19"
  10.  Grete Treier S.C. Michela Fanini Rox +3'45"

(Full General Classification)

It has been, in the opinion of everyone following it that I've spoken to, an absolutely superb race full of excitement, first-rate riding and with nothing certain until the last few minutes, suspense. It should be remembered that it almost didn't happen this year: with the global economy in its current state, women's races (which have always been underfunded) are being cancelled left, right and centre, but fortunately the organisers managed to find a way to go ahead even though they were forced to cut it by one day. Yet the UCI is not in financial difficulty - in February this year, they very proudly announced that average salaries paid to (male) Pro Tour riders had risen from €190,000 to €264,000 over a three-year period from 2009 which, they say, is evidence that cycling is bucking the worldwide trend and doing very well ("So we're obviously doing a good job" is what they seem to really be saying).

The UCI is responsible for co-ordinating efforts to develop cycling in all its many forms. When riders asked president Pat McQuaid why it is that Pro Tour riders receive a guaranteed minimum salary and the female riders do not, the official line was that it's because women's cycling isn't "developed" enough.

OK Pat. Like a lot of fans of the women's sport, I've called you quite a few nasty names over the years. Right now I'm going to say sorry for that, even though you can't force me to keep my personal opinions quiet like you did with Chloe Hosking. In fact, I'm going to credit you with some intelligence (we'll overlook that whole South Africa thing from back in the day, even though it was really stupid, because hey, we were all young and foolish once). Now - a question: do you want women's cycling to develop, right to a level where races turn a profit, the development of cycling in all its wonderful shapes and forms being kind of point of the UCI and all? Do you, in fact, give a shit? (Don't forget that if women's cycling did turn a profit, it'd mean more cash for the UCI and for you. Betcha give a shit now, don't you?)

Races like this are how you do it. Stages 1 and 2a were hard-fought right from the start line and they finished with high-speed, high-adrenaline battles that would have made superb TV. Cycling fans love cycling, not just men's cycling (nor only women's, of course) - believe me, give races such as this one the backing they need to survive and grow and we will watch them. Thousands of us around the world have been avidly following Twitter for every scrap of information we can find, jut like British cycling fans used to tune into French broadcasts on shortwave radio before British TV cottoned on and paid the ASO for the right to show it. There is a potential audience, and just as soon as sponsors realise that they'll be wanting to give you money.

Do it - the UCI, cycling and you will be richer. You never know, people might even stop saying you're a dick.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Noemi Cantele wins Stage 1, Giro Trentino Donne

Cantele at the World Championships,
Many fans will have been concerned that the organiser's decision to adopt an unusually flat parcours might make for a less interesting Giro Trentino Donne this year - an especial worry when the race has already been shortened from three days to two due to financial problems as reduced interest might very well spell the end of the 19-year-old race. However, in any form of cycling the personalities and riding styles of those who take part count towards the overall success of a race, and when you have riders such as the ones in this event it's never going to be boring.

The peloton stayed together up the first climb, but numerous riders were visibly restless and waiting for their chance at launching a breakaway attempt. A group of 18 got away shortly after the climb and AA's Sharon Laws and Emma Pooley accompanied by GreenEDGE's Judith Arndt wasted no time in splitting off from them to form a lead group with Laws briefly riding ahead solo, though there was a good bit of tit-for-tat as riders swapped places and found their positions. Sadly, the race ended after just 15km for Rochelle Gilmore - the Faren-Honda rider later reported that she'd already had too much for "ones head, legs & bike to cope with" after both her original and replacement bike developed problems.

Before too long the race had settled into three groups - Pooley, Noemi Cantele (Be Pink) and Linda Villumsen (GreenEDGE) with a 49" advantage over a chasing group of 15, then the main field some 2' back. The times varied and a few riders came and went from the chase group, but this arrangement characterised the majority of the rest of the stage. Pooley was the fastest rider through the first and second intermediate sprints with Villumsen and Cantele taking second and third place in the first, then switching positions in the second. A few kilometres on they upped the pace, building their lead over the chasers to 1'42" and putting more than three minutes between themselves and the main group, who responded by speeding up just as Luisa Tamanini (Faren-Honda) made an unsuccessful bid to bridge from chasers to lead. Rossella Ratto (Verinlegno-Fabiani), Olga Zabelinskaya (RusVelo), Alexandra Burchenkova (S.C. Michela Fanini Rox), Malgorzata Jasinska (MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss) and Charlotte Becker (Specialized-Lululemon) had more luck, clawing their way to the leaders not long before the race entered its final 25km - which immediately made the outcome far less easy to predict, many people deciding Becker was a good bet.

Emma Pooley's solo attack with 4km to
go was the highlight of the race, even if
ultimately unsuccessful
Most of the chasers apparently decided there was little point in carrying on now; many of them dropped back to join the main group who were now 4'07" behind the leaders, so with 15km to go it was obvious that the contenders had been narrowed down to eight riders. They were still together at 10km to go with no obvious signs of splitting, at which point the last few chasers gave up the fight and accepted what was now inevitable.

Pooley was the first to go, launching a daring attack 4km from the line and looking for a few moments like she might just pull it off, but she'd apparently over-estimated her reserves and was rapidly caught. Even now it remained unclear how the finish would play out - was it going to be a bunch sprint or would there be more attacks? Pooley tried again with 800m to go, but in the end the group went with the first option, all kicking off together and fighting hard for the line; Cantele turned out to be the fastest by just centimetres. It was a thrilling end to a superb stage, proof that this race has a great future if it survives these difficult times - so get your wallet out, Pat McQuaid.

Tomorrow, the riders have two stages. The first consists of four laps of a 15.7km road parcours at Sarnonico followed by a 5km individual time trial.

Guide - Stage 1 - Stage 2a - Stage 2b

Top Ten
  1.  Noemi Cantele Be Pink 2h32'33"
  2.  Linda Villumsen GreenEDGE ST
  3.  Malgorzata Jasinska MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  4.  Charlotte Becker Specialized-LululemoN ST
  5.  Alexandra Burchenkova S.C. Michela Fanini Rox ST
  6.  Olga Zabelinskaya RusVelo ST
  7.  Emma Pooley AA ST
  8.  Rossella Ratto Verinlegno-Fabiani ST
  9.   Sharon Laws  AA +3'27"
  10.   Greta Treier   S.C. Michela Fanini Rox  ST

Photos: The Break - Cantele, Villumsen, PooleyCantele winsFull results - Podium - Photoset
(With thanks to Sarah Connolly for mentioning the "personalities over parcours" concept!)

Giro Trentino Donne

Trentino is a nice and simple sort of race - there's a 98km road race from Trento to Mezzolombardo with a couple of small climbs and a sprinty finish to start things off today, then tomorrow riders complete four laps of a 15.7km at Sarnonico in the morning before competing against the clock in a 5km individual time trial starting at Romeno and heading back into Sarnonico in the afternoon. It used to extend over three days but, like so many races, has suffered serious financial setbacks over the last couple of years.

What complicates matters is that the race falls so close to the start of the last Grand Tour in women's cycling, the Giro Donne, which means it's prime opportunity to get in some valuable extra race training and - most importantly - have a good look at one another's form. In fact, Trentino organisers are so used to their race being used in this way that they even seem to alter the route to reflect the Giro Donne parcours: in most years, the climbers come here while the sprinters go to RaboSter in the Netherlands; this year the Giro Donne is notably less mountainous than usual and so is Trentino, so a few riders who tend to specialise more in the sprints are here this year.

Because the race is so useful for the Giro Donne, many of the top names show up on the start line and what would in all likelihood have been a relatively unimportant weekender becomes a 2.1 designated race of considerable prestige. Past winners Judith Arndt (GreenEDGE, won 2011), Emma Pooley (AA, won 2010), Nicole Cooke (Faren-Honda, won 2009) and Fabiana Luperini (Faren-Honda, won 2008 and 2002) are all in attendance, but victory is far from guaranteed for any one of them - their teams and others have sent along strong squads consisting of fast riders able to hold their own in a sprint and in a great many cases very capable of snatching a win from under the big guns' noses. (Start list here)

Other than that climb in the first 15km and the two little blips between 35-50km, it's a very flat parcours. This means that breakaways are likely - with so many teams sending very strong riders in addition to their leaders, there's a good chance we'll see several attempts firing off the front of the peloton within the first few kilometres and certainly by the end of the first descent. If they prove unsuccessful, others will replace them and, sooner or later, one of them will get away. Whether they can keep going to the end or whether the peloton will chase them down remains to be seen, but a group of strong riders working together will have a very good chance.

Following the race: there's no live ticker for this one, which is rather disappointing considering the importance of the race but probably to be expected considering the organisation's economic woes. It's much easier to keep track of RaboSter, but some sort of Trentino commentary should be available on Twitter. fans will be retweeting any scraps of information they find - check hashtags #Trentino and #womenscycling and see what's on offer. I'll be retweeting anything I can find - @cyclopunk.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Matrix-Prendas win Johnson HealthTech GP

Helen Wyman won Round 5, putting
herself into second place overall
That's all, folks: the 2012 Johnson HealthTech GP is over - but what a series it's been! The last round, which took place on the 14th of June in Stoke, was if anything the most hotly contested so far as the teams battled to try to grab last-minute success from Matrix-Prendas, who had pulled out all the stops and were giving it everything they've got to put on a good show and take a victory in front of the residents of their home city... and when Helen Wyman won the round, they did it with a 27 point advantage, helped by Jessie Walker's third place.

Node4-Giordana have been the only team to come close in this series. Lucy Garner, current Junior World Road Race Champion, won Round 4 and has been hot on the heels (and often ahead) of Matrix-Prendas' Annie Simpson all the way. Look Mum No Hands! and WindyMilla may have come fifth and sixth, but they too have provided many thrilling moments and plenty of top-notch action - the series would have been very much worse off without them.

Simpson's 72 points mean she wins overall, though organisers had to wait for her twelfth place finish to confirm that Wyman hadn't taken over. She also takes the intermediate sprint honours with a lead of just one point lead over Jo Tindley (VC St Raphael) in a competition that remained very far from decided until this final race. Annie's winning sprint in Oxford back on the 22nd of May is already being called one of the finest moments - if not the finest moment - of the entire HealthTech/Halfords Tour Series, and anyone who saw it will have no doubt whatsoever that she has many great years in cycling ahead of her.

Wyman, last year's winner and multiple National Cyclo Cross Champion, won the Sprints for the round. Known for the blistering bursts of acceleration she employs to gain early leads in the Dutch and Belgian cyclo cross races, where she competes against the best in the world, Helen attacked early on in the round and nobody was able to follow as she kept on building her lead; and by the time Laura Massey kicked of the bunch sprint the St. Albans-born 31-year-old star had already won. Her victory today earned her 72 points, which moved her up into second place overall.

Special mention goes to Team Mule Bar Girls, whose consistent good finishes earned them fourth place in the Teams classification. They are most definitely a team to watch, and if they keep improving as they have done so far this year Matrix-Prendas won't have it all their own way next year. The ultimate winner of the series isn't any one rider or team, however - it's women's cycling in Britain. In common with many countries, the sport receives little attention here compared to men's cycling which has grown in popularity over the last few years. To see such large crowds enjoying the non-stop and hard-fought action, made possible by the excellent work of the organisers and by Johnson HealthTech's sponsorship, bodes very well indeed for the future.

Annie Simpson wins overall

Annie Simpson ‏@LittleSimo
We did it! Individual, sprints and team overall wins at @TourSeries!!! Amazing @onthedrops performance!! #winning

Harriet Owen ‏@harrieto93
Well, that's tour series over for the year, didn't quite get the time prize but congrats to @onthedrops who took the win! #solidracing

Top Ten Round 5
1)    Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing/Matrix-Prendas
2)    Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim
3)    Jessie Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
4)    Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing
5)    Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
6)    Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing
7)    Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael
8)    Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
9)    Ruth Winder, Team VanderKitten
10)    Alice Barnes, - Orbea

Final Overall Top Ten
1)    Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 77pts
2)    Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing, 72pts
3)    Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 62pts
4)    Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 58pts
5)    Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim, 57pts
6)    Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 54pts
7)    Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 50pts
8)    Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 45pts
9)    Alice Barnes, - Orbea, 31pts
10)    Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands!, 28pts

Teams Overall
1)    Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 202pts
2)    Node4 - Giordana Racing, 175pts
3)    VC St Raphael, 105pts
4)    Mule Bar Girls, 82pts
5)    Look Mum No Hands!, 45pts
6)    WyndyMilla UK Youth, 7pts

Sprints Overall
1)    Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 25pts
2)    Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 24pts
3)    Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 19pts 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Lucy Garner wins Johnson HealthTech GP Round 4

Lucy Garner
Lucy Garner (Node4-Giordana), the current Junior Road Race World Champion, won the penultimate round of the 2012 Johnson HealthTech GP in Woking on Tuesday evening after beating Vanderkitten's Ruth Winder to the finish line - her second victory on the tight Woking city centre criterium course in two years, the slight uphill section leading to the finish line being prime Garner territory.

Hannah Barnes (Ibis Cycles) tried several times to break away, but Penny Rowson (Matrix-Prendas) wasn't letting her go anywhere and kept every move covered. Meanwhile, her team mate Annie Simpson was attempting to launch her own break but she too got nowhere this time. Finally, near the end of the race, a break stuck: Garner got away with Winder and Rowson immediately responding and staying with her into the sprint finish.

Third place for Rowson keeps Matrix-Prendas in the overall lead, while Simpson retains both the General Classification leadership.

Matrix - Prendas ‏@onthedrops
That was some ride by the team tonight. Seriously on another level. Congrats to all of the team and guest stars @lutonian and @geezermate

Ruth Winder (Team VanderKitten) won the Intermediate Sprints classification for the round, but beating Simpson in this classification is now impossible for anybody except Jo Tindley (VC St Raphael): there are ten sprint points on offer in each round, Tindley (16pts) will need to win both sprints or win one and come second in the other in the next round to surpass Simpson's current eight-point lead.

Lydia Boylan
One of the most aggressive rounds of the Series so far, the race claimed victims: Tindley crashed, causing Node4-Girodana's Harriet Owen to collide with her; but both women were unhurt (judging by how soon after the race they were updating their Twitter feeds!) and took 15th and 16th places respectively. Lydia Boylan (Look Mum No Hands!) was not so fortunate - her front wheel touched the rear wheel of the bike in front of her and she was sent over the handlebars for a rough landing on the road. Thankfully, she escaped serious injury but will be bruised and feeling sore this morning.

Lydia ‏@LyD_ers
@JHTUK Thank you! First big race crash :( All part of the sport! I'll be back soon!

With 20 points still available to the winner of the final round (19pts for second place and so on down to 1pt for 20th) the overall win remains open and the final round, due to take place in Matrix-Prendas' hometown Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday 14th of June, is guaranteed to be a hard-fought battle.

Photos: Ruth Winder in action (Richard Bennett) - full set (Velo UK) - Matrix-Prendas post-race (Stuart MacLean)

Highlights of the race on ITV4 tonight at 20:00, repeated Thursday 10:45 (all the cycling on British TV this week)
Annie Simpson retains her lead overall and
in the Intermediate Sprints classification

Top Ten Round 4
1) Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing 
2) Ruth Winder, Team VanderKitten 
3) Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas 
4) Amy Roberts, Scott Contessa Epic 
5) Eileen Roe, Team Ibis Cycles 
6) Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas 
7) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas 
8) Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing 
9) Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing 
10) Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls

Overall after Round 4
1) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 68pts 
2) Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 56pts 
3) Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing, 52pts 
4) Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 45pts 
5) Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim, 38pts 
6) Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls, 38pts 
7) Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 37pts 
8) Hannah Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles, 37pts 
9) Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 36pts 
10) Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 29pts

Teams after Round 4
1) Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 155pts 
2) Node4 - Giordana Racing, 145pts 
3) VC St Raphael, 76pts 
4) Mule Bar Girls, 73pts 
5) WyndyMilla UK Youth, 7pts

Sprint standings after Round 4
1) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 24pts 
2) Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 16pts 
3) Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 13pts 
4) Ruth Winder, Team VanderKitten, 12pts 
5) Hannah Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles, 12pts 
6) Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 8pts 
7) Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 8pts 
8) Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing, 5pts 
9) Eileen Roe, Team Ibis Cycles, 3pts 
10) Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 3pts

Velocite UK ‏@Velocite_Bikes
Big congrats to @onthedrops on a great team ride last night and to @penny_rowson for a strong third place. Top work ladies!

Spokesmen Women's World Cup, Episode 3

Women's Cycling News Links

Ashleigh Moolman
Gem Atkinson sets new Waller Pain record - Cycling Weekly

Women's Pairs Day of Racing - British Cycling

DVT helps Moolman realise her Olympic cycling dream - ITWeb

Colavita/espnW announces roster for Nature Valley Grand Prix - Daily Peloton

Hopeful Olympians Test Legs at Nature Valley Grand Prix - Boxscore

Tulsa Tough called a good event for women's cycling - Tulsa World, USA

Katie Compton, "Lance Armstrong of cyclo cross" for WinterFest - MountainScene

[Amber Neben] gets another shot to fulfill an Olympic dream - Star Tribune, USA

Hundreds of cyclists compete in race weekend - Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Anchorage riders claim Tour of Fairbanks cycling championships - Fairbanks Daily News

Velo Wings Awards: Women Cyclists are Honored for Their Community Leadership - Santa Barbara Independent, USA

Local women encouraged to cycle - Auckland Now, New Zealand

Kiwis notching up successes - Bay of Plenty Times

Potters 'Arf: Julia Matheson uses experience to clinch women's title - This Is Staffordshire

Women take a giant leap forward in the world of sport - Morpeth Herald

Sunday, 10 June 2012

IG London Nocturne Rapha Women's Criterium

Hannah Barnes won for the
fourth time
Following an outcry from riders and fans when British Cycling asked organisers to drop the women's race this year, Nocturne officials announced they'd go ahead and run the race provided sufficient female riders signed up - and so it was great to see more than 30 lined up on the start line, among them some of the best racers Britain and Europe have to offer.

It had rained for much of the week and many riders will have been expecting treacherous conditions on the several tight corners along the technical 1.05km parcours around Smithfield Market in London, but the riders enjoyed glorious evening sunshine as the race began. The weather also encouraged fans and interested onlookers to turn out in their thousands, and since the racing was first-rate, at least a few spectators with no previous interest in cycling will have gone home thinking that they might quite like to see some more in the future - making the event every bit as advantageous to women's cycling as it was to the local pubs, cafes and shops that did a roaring trade keeping everyone topped up with drinks and food.

Despite puncturing right at the start (Team UK Youth entered into the festival spirit of the event by supplying her with one of their own replacement wheels) Hannah Barnes of Ibis Cycles won for a fourth time after she successfully held off strong competition, not least of all from the older and more experienced big stars Helen Wyman and Sarah Storey who came eighth and tenth respectively. Dutch rider Hannah Welter was second, closely followed by Australian Belinda Goss (Escentual For VioRed).

A highlights programme including footage of the Rapha Criterium, the Elite Men's race, the penny-farthing and folding bike races and the longest fixie skid competition will be shown next Sunday at 07:10 on Channel 4 - the first cycling the broadcaster has scheduled since 2001 and, hopefully, the first of many (if you have better things to do at that time on a Sunday morning, it'll also be available on the 4OD catch-up service).
"I love the London Nocturne because of the course and the crowd support – the atmosphere is electric. It was great to race it and win it for the fourth time and I hope to be back again next year." - Hannah Barnes

1.      Hannah Barnes           Ibis Cycles
2.      Hannah Welter           Netherlands
3.      Belinda Goss            Escentual For VioRed
4.      Julia Soek                      Netherlands
5.      Harriet Owen            Node4 Giordana
6.      Nicola Juniper          Corvida Allpress
7.      Natalie Creswick                Team Mule Bar Girls
8.      Helen Wyman                     Kona Factory Racing
9.      Alice Barnes            23c Orbea
10.     Sarah Storey            Escentual For VioRed
11.     Corrine Hall            Node4-Giordana
12.     Lydia Boylan            Look Mum No Hands!
13.     Louise Mahe                     Team Mule Bar Girls
14.     Estelle Rogers          Corvida Allpress
15.     Elise Sherwell          Look Mum No Hands!
16.     Jo McRae                        Look Mum No Hands!
17.     Collyn Ahart            Eagle Road Club
18.     Emma Craddock           South Downs Bikes
19.     Jessie Walker           Matrix Fitness-Prendas
20.     Sarah Brook                     Team Mule Bar Girls
21.     Delia Beddis            ViCiOUS Velo
22.     Emily Bagnall           WyndyMilla-UK Youth
23.     Elle Hopkins            Escentual For VioRed
24.     Fiona Strouts           Stevens Bikes p/b Pactimo
25.     Elinor Winter           Corvida Allpress
26.     Elizabeth Chittenden    Eagle Road Club
27.     Stephanie May           Team Quest-The BIKE Shop
28.     Julie Granshaw          WyndyMilla / UK Youth
29.     Rohan Battison          Escentual For VioRed
30.     Sarah Kent                      Escentual For VioRed
31.     Eryn Nolan                      Pretorius Bikes

Emakumeen Bira 2012 Stage 4 and final General Classification

Arndt after winning the Tour of Qatar
Rabobank's Annemiek van Vleuten won the final stage with a courageous attack on a very wet and slippery final descent; but ultimately her tactics played into the hands of Judith Arndt (GreenEDGE) who, after van Vleuten forced her chasers to respond, crashed with 1.5km to go (her second crash today) and was awarded the same time as second place Emma Johansson (Hitec Products-Mistral) and as a result won the overall General Classification. Lucinda Brand (AA and Alena Amialyusik (Be Pink) and also went down in the crash, doing well to finish where they did. Johansson's result, just one second behind van Vleuten and considering that her team being reduced to two riders, was spectacular. Amanda Spratt (GreenEDGE) takes the Combativity prize.

Emma Pooley (AA, expected to use the three climbs (including a Cat 2 9km from the finish line) to repeat her success on Stage 2, got left behind by a lead group of six riders and never managed to bridge the gap. Like many climbers, she's simply too light to be able to maintain comfortable control on a dangerous descent and the weather ensured she was out of contention for overall victory.

Van Vleuten pickd up 25 points on the stage and wins the overall Points competition with 24. Carlee Taylor (Australia) was fastest up the first two climbs for nine mountain points, Arndt first to the top of the third for six points; leaving Pooley the winner of the overall Mountains classification with 12 points in total. Amanda Spratt won the first intermediate sprint, Carlee Taylor took the second for five points apiece; Valentina Scandolara retains the overall Sprints lead with 15 points. Sarah-Lena Hoffman (Germany) wins the Youth category.

Arndt was second last year and in 2010 after winning in 2009, too - a second GC places her on an equal footing with Marianne Vos and Elena Barillová. Only Hanka Kupfernagel has enjoyed more Bira success with three victories.

Martine Bras @martinebras
"Totale off day in Bira. Fysiek en mentaal naar de kl... En mijn fiets paste zich netjes aan. Werkte ook al niet zoals normaal. Snel vergeten (Total off-day in the Bira. Physically and mentally unable to cope with the climbs - and my bike fitted wrong. Didn't feel like normal. I'll forget this one!)"
Stage 4 Top Ten
  1.  Annemiek Van Vleuten Rabobank 3h06'59" 
  2.  Emma Johansson Hitec Products-Mistral Home +1" 
  3.  Trixi Worrack Specialized-Lululemon ST
  4.  Sharon Laws AA +4" 
  5.  Alena Amialyusik Be Pink +1" 
  6.  Judith Arndt Orica GreenEdge-AIS ST
  7.  Anna Sanchis Bizkaia-Durango +48"
  8.  Claudia Haüsler Orica GreenEdge-AIS +51"
  9.  Christelle Ferrier-breneau Hitec Products-Mistral Home ST
  10.  Kaat Hannes Lotto Belisol +52"  
(Full stage result)

General Classification
  1.  Judith Arndt Orica GreenEdge-AIS 08:30:59 
  2.  Emma Johansson Hitec Products-Mistral Home +00:07 
  3.  Annemiek Van Vleuten Rabobank 00:14 
  4.  Alena Amialyusik Be Pink 00:39 
  5.  Sharon Laws AA 00:42 
  6.  Lucinda Brand AA 00:55 
  7.  Trixi Worrack Specialized- Lululemon 01:21 
  8.  Emma Pooley AA 01:50 
  9.  Anna Sanchis Bizkaia-Durango 02:05 
  10.  Claudia Haüsler Orica GreenEdge-AIS 02:30 
  11.  Ellen Van Dijk Specialized-Lululemon 03:10 
  12.  Joanne Hogan Bizkaia-Durango 03:59 
  13.  Mascha Pijnenborg Dolmans-Boels 04:07 
  14.  Elizabeth Armitstead AA 04:22 
  15.  Amanda Spratt Orica GreenEdge-AIS 06:36 
  16.  Amy Pieters Skil-Argos 06:40 
  17.  Tiffany Cromwell Orica GreenEdge-AIS 07:07 
  18.  Carlee Taylor Vienne Futuroscope 07:14 
  19.  Christelle Ferrier-breneau Hitec Products Mistral Home 07:19 
  20.  Nicole Cooke Faren-Honda 07:22 
  21.  Sarah-lena Hofmann 07:29 
  22.  Linda Villumsen Orica GreenEdge-AIS 07:30 
  23.  Kaat Hannes Lotto Belisol 07:36 
  24.  Anouska Koster Dolmans-Boels 07:45 
  25.  Charlotte Becker Specialized-Lululemon 08:13 
  26.  Liesbet De Vocht Rabobank 08:38 
  27.  Eneritz Iturriaga Echevarria Lointek 08:49 
  28.  Ina Yoko Teutenberg Specialized-Lululemon 08:50 
  29.  Giada Borgato Diadora-Pasta Zara 10:02 
  30.  Lisa Brennauer Specialized-Lululemon 10:08 
  31.  Madeleine Sandig 11:09 
  32.  Katie Colclough Specialized-Lululemon 11:56 
  33.  Gracie Elvin 12:28 -
  34.  Roxane Knetemann Rabobank 13:43 
  35.  Oxana Kozonchuk Be Pink 14:05 
  36.  Romy Kasper RusVelo 14:30 
  37.  Sinead Noonan 14:43 
  38.  Mieke Kröger 14:45 
  39.  Elke Gebhardt Be Pink 14:48 
  40.  Valentina Scandolara S.C. Michela Fanini Rox 14:56 
  41.  Doris Schweizer Fassa Bortolo-Servetto 15:38 
  42.  Francesca Cauz Fassa Bortolo-Servetto 15:42 
  43.  Petra Dijkman Kleo 15:47 
  44.  Anna-bianca Schnitzmeier ABUS-Nutrixxion ST
  45.  Chantal Blaak AA 15:49 
  46.  Malin Rydlund Alriksson Go:Green 15:55 
  47.  Lise Olivier Lotto Belisol 16:01 
  48.  Martina Ruzickova S.C. Michela Fanini Rox 17:03 
  49.  Annelies Van Doorslaer Kleo 17:37 
  50.  Elena Utrobina Faren-Honda 17:38 
  51.  Cristina Alcalde Huertanos Bizkaia-Durango 17:53 
  52.  Jennifer Hohl Faren-Honda 19:04 
  53.  Viviana Gatto Fassa Bortolo-Servetto 19:26 
  54.  Anna Potokina Lointek 19:27 
  55.  Anna Ramirez Bauxell 19:30 
  56.  Agne Silinyte Diadora-Pasta Zara 19:36 
  57.  Thalita De Jong Rabobank 19:57 
  58.  Lorena Foresi S.C. Michela Fanini Rox 20:28 
  59.  Joanna Van De Winkel Lotto-Belisol 20:39 
  60.  Petra Zrimsek Be Pink 21:35 
  61.  Grace Sulzberger ST
  62.  Luisa Tamanini Faren-Honda 22:04 
  63.  Marie Lindberg Kleo 22:21 
  64.  Ann-sophie Duyck Lotto Belisol 22:52 
  65.  Hanna Nilsson Alriksson Go:Green 23:04 
  66.  Ane Santesteban Gonzalez Bizkaia-Durango 23:15 
  67.  Martina Corazza Kleo 24:30 
  68.  Lieselot Decroix Dolmans-Boels 24:36 
  69.  Yulia Iliynikh Lointek 27:26 
  70.  Linea Fredäng Alriksson Go:Green 27:55 
  71.  Sara Grifi S.C. Michela Fanini Rox 28:47 
  72.  Jessica Allen 29:18