Saturday, 20 July 2013

Women's Cycling News 21-28.07.2013

UCI races this week - Thuringen Rundfahrt (Stages 6, 7 & GC) - Tour en Limousin (Stages 1, 2, 3 & GC) - Women's TdF petition nears 70,000 signatures, ASO indicate interest, Harriet Harman MP lends support - Mexican coach investigated after alleged assault on rider - British Circuit Championships to be televised - Daisy Depoorter recovering after crash - Interesting Links - more to come...

UCI Elite Women races this week: Thuringen Rundfahrt (15-21.07); Tour en Limousin (18-21.07); U23 European Road Race Championship (21.07); Sparkassen Giro (28.07).

Thuringen Rundfahrt
(Previous stages here)
(Race preview here)
Stage 6
With all the attempted breakaways in the first few kilometres, it was obvious that many riders have become tired of bunch sprint finishes and were hoping to grab a few General Classification seconds today, but none of them had stuck by the time the race arrived at the first intermediate sprint where the points went to Lisa Brennauer and Trixi Worrack (both Specialized-Lululemon), then Anna van der Breggen (Sengers): all three had begun the day near enough to the top for the bonification seconds to make a notable difference to their times - though with Brennauer still 1'31" down overall on Emma Johansson, unlikely to be enough to make a notable difference to the outcome of the race now that there's one stage to go.

Scandolara takes the penultimate
Hanka Kupfernagel attacked whilst climbing the Steilen cobbles a short while later but her rivals, well aware that the German rider's cyclo cross skills would give her an advantage on the rough terrain, were not going to let her get away and marked her closely. Emilia Fahlin (Hitec Products-UCK) and Worrack then briefly managed to escape, but Orica-AIS got on the case and brought them back almost immediately.

Worrack's presence in the short-lived break may have been nothing more than a Lululemon ploy, however, because with the pack's attention diverted and Orica settling back into place, her team mate Tayler Wiles got away and found an advantage on the road of a whole minute - much to the delight of fans, who sang "Happy Birthday to You" as she passed them (Wiles is 24 today)! She remained in front at the top of the next categorised climb where Christine Majerus (Sengers) was second and Johansson again third, then managed to stay a handful seconds away through the next intermediate sprint (Romy Kasper of Boels-Dolmans was second, Johansson third) before the pack finally caught her.

Roxane Knetemann (Rabo) attacked soon afterwards and won the final intermediate sprint where Kasper and Johansson were again second and third, but with the finish line approaching the peloton wasn't going to let her stay away even though, having started the day in 12th place with a deficit of at least two minutes to anyone with a realistic chance of challenging for overall victory, her chances of gaining any significant advances seemed slight so late in the race. Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) had started the day in 17th place, 7'11" down the GC, and has no chance of troubling Johansson - but if you can't get on the podium, you may as well salvage some glory in the shape of a stage win. So, she took advantage of the work Knetemann had done and launched her own attack once the Dutch rider was caught, and proved herself stronger than the riders who chased after her, winning alone with an advantage of 10".

In the hubbub of Scandolara's attack, Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo) crashed but is reportedly fine to start tomorrow. Johansson, caught up behind her, was delayed as a result; however, as the crash had occurred on the descent in the final 3km she did not lose time and now leads overall by 32".

Stage 6 Top Ten
1 Valentina SCANDOLARA (MCipollini-Giordana) 2h45'45"
2 Lucinda BRAND (Rabo-Liv/Giant) +10"
3 Adrie VISSER (Boels-Dolmans) ST
4 Elke GEBHARDT (Germany NT) ST
5 Emily COLLINS (Wiggle-Honda) ST
6 Tatiana GUDERZO (MCipollini-Giordana) ST
7 Beate ZANNER (Germany NT) ST
8 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) ST
9 Amy CURE (Australia NT) ST
10 Lisa BRENNAUER (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
Full stage result and General Classification

Stage 7
Emma Johansson wins overall
If there was one feature of the Stage 7 parcours that was certain to play a big part in the race, it was the Hankaberg - a cruelly-steep climb  named after local star Hanka Kupfernagel (it used to be called Dörtendorferberg) who was, of course, in the race this year. Several attempts to get away from the pack before the first ascent came to nothing, then Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) and Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv/Giant) made good use of the gradient, which reaches a 16% gradient, breaking away from the bunch. BePink's Doris Schweizer was the only rider able to bridge and the trio got a minute and a half in front, staying away all the way until the third lap.

With the break caught, numerous riders began attacking. Liesbet de Vocht (Rabo) managed to put 17" between herself and the pack but was caught soon afterwards and Anna van der Breggen (Sengers) led the last time the race reached Hankaberg, but she tired on the climb and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana) got the better of her, reaching the summit first; when the Italian showed no sign of slowing down a chase group made up of potential stage winners accompanied by bunch sprint lieutenants formed - Amy Cure and Grace Sulzberger (both Australia NT),  Lucinda Brand and Knetemann (Rabo), Lizzie Armitstead and Jessie Daams (Boels-Dolmans) and Emma Johansson and Shara Gillow (both Orica-AIS) along with Bigla's Andrea Graus and BePink's Georgia Williams.

Although none of them now stood any realistic chance of knocking Johansson from the top perch in the General Classification, the Swedish rider made sure she was near the front of the group just in case matters needed to be taken in hand but played it safe, making sure she'd cross the line rather than risking everything with a last minute battle for stage victory. Guderzo thus took the stage, remaining 18" ahead, with Brennauer and van der Breggen second and third. Johansson was tenth, taking the same time as the runners-up; her overall advantage at the end of the race remained 32".

Stage 7 Top Ten
1 Tatiana GUDERZO (MCipollini-Giordana) 2h51'11"
2 Lisa BRENNAUER (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
3 Anna VAN DER BREGGEN (Sengers) ST
4 Amy CURE (Australia NT) ST
5 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
6 Lucinda BRAND (Rabo-Liv/Giant) ST
7 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) ST
8 Shara GILLOW (Orica-AIS) ST
9 Georgia WILLIAMS (BePink) ST
10 Emma JOHANSSON (Orica-AIS) ST

Final General Classification Top Ten
1 Emma JOHANSSON (Orica-AIS) 17h07'57"
2 Shara GILLOW (Orica-AIS) +32"
3 Lisa BRENNAUER (Specialized-Lululemon) +01'23"
4 Anna VAN DER BREGGEN (Sengers) +01'31"
5 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) +01'36"
6 Amanda SPRATT (Orica-AIS) +02'23"
7 Lucinda BRAND (Rabo-Liv/Giant) +02'43"
8 Georgia WILLIAMS (BePink) +02'48"
9 Hanka KUPFERNAGEL (Germany NT) +02'58"
10 Roxane KNETEMANN (Rabo-Liv/Giant) +03'36"
Points: 1 Emma JOHANSSON (Orica-AIS) 53pts; 2 Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) 24 pts; 3 Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv/Giant) 23pts. Mountains: Christine Majerus (Sengers) 40pts; Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv/Giant) 26 pts; Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) 15 pts. Youth: 1 Anna van der Breggen (Sengers) 17h09'28"; Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv/Giant) +01'12"; Georgia Williams (BePink) +01'17". Combativity: Linda Villumsen (Wiggle-Honda).
Full stage and General Classification results

Tour Feminin en Limousin
(Race preview here)
Unfortunately, it seems the organisers don't want us to have an easy time of following this one, which is a pity because it looks like being an excellent race - there are no updates on the official site nor, it seems, anywhere else, and it took until Stage 4 for results to appear on the UCI website. How do organisers expect fans to be fans of their races if they're not going to put the information out there? Such is the great Unanswered Question of Women's Cycling.

Stage 1 Top Ten
1 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) 3h29'20"
2 Svetlana STOLBOVA (Pratomagno) ST
3 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) +01"
4 Natalia BOYARSKAYA (Russia NT) +03"
5 Irina MOLICHEVA (Pratomagno) ST
6 Claire THOMAS  (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) ST
7 Sara MUSTONEN (Faren-Let's Go Finland) ST
8 Sophie DE BOER (Parkhotel Valkenburg) ST
9 Jennifer FIORI (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
10 Elana VALENTINI (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
Full stage result and General Classification

Stage 2 Top Ten
1 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (MCipollini-Giordana) 26'15"
2 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) +25"
3 Edwige PITEL (S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox) +41"
4 Natalia BOYARSKAYA (Russia NT) +46"
5 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) +01'11"
6 Belen LOPEZ (Lointek) +01'21"
7 Lucy COLDWELL (Breast Cancer Care) +01'22"
8 Elena KUCHINSKAYA (RusVelo) +01'25"
9 Svetlana STOLBOVA (Pratomagno) +01'27"
10 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) +01'34"
Full stage result and General Classification

Stage 3 Top Ten
1 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) 3h31'30"
2 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) ST
3 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) ST
4 Svetlana STOLBOVA (Russia NT) ST
5 Alexis RYAN (USA NT) ST
6 Elena BERLATO (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
7 Belen LOPEZ (Lointek) ST
8 Jennifer FIORI (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
9 Edwige PITEL (S.C. Michela Fanini-ROX) +04"
10 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia NT) ST
Full stage result and General Classification

General Classification Top Ten
1 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) 7h27'11"
2 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia NT) +01"
3 Edwige PITEL (S.C. Michela Fanini-ROX) +42"
4 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) +01'02"
5 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) +01'04"
6 Svetlana STOLBOVA (Russia NT) +01'06"
7 Belen LOPEZ (Lointek) +01'18"
8 Lucy COLDWELL (Breast Cancer Care) +01'39"
9 Elena BERLATO (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) +01'41"
10 Aizhan ZHAPAROVA (RusVelo) ST
Full GC result

Original, large-scale (and printable) poster here
Women's TDF petition nears 70,000 signatures
Some people say that there simply isn't enough interest in women's cycling for the sport to ever match men's cycling in popularity. The petition started by Kathryn Bertine, Emma Pooley, Marianne Vos and Chrissie Wellington asking the Amaury Sport Organisation to add a women's race to the Tour de France proves that those people are wrong - a little over a week since it was launched, almost 65,000 people have signed.

The petition is now aiming for 75,000 signatures and looks entirely capable of reaching that figure - or, perhaps, topping it. If you haven't already done so, add your support here.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Tour organisers the ASO are showing interest - in contrast to reports elsewhere last week that suggested otherwise. For more, see Cycling News.

Harriet Harman MP lends support
French politicians have involved themselves in cycling many times during the sport's history; their British counterparts tend not to do so - but Harriet Harman, British Labour MP and Shadow Deputy Prime minister and Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, joined the discussion when she wrote to Tour director Christian Prudhomme. Her letter, which displays an understanding of some of the issues facing women's cycling, has been made available through a party press release:

"Dear Christian

I am writing to call on you to hold a women's race alongside the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2014.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour, former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley called for a women's Tour de France to be reinstated. She has since signed a petition on the subject, along with female cycling champions Kathryn Bertine and Marianne Vos, triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington, and tens of thousands of others.

This highlights the divide between men's and women's cycling. Britain's women won 5 medals at London 2012 (compared to 7 for the men). Britain has some of the best women cyclists in the world - but for years they had to compete for foreign teams as there was no investment in an elite women's team.

In her retirement statement, former world champion and Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke wrote of how women's road racing had 'crumbled' since 2002 including the loss of the women's Tour de France.

Overall, women's sport misses out compared to men's sport: women's sport only receives 0.5% of total sports sponsorship in the UK and only 4% of sports coverage in national and local newspapers is dedicated to women's sport.

The Grand Départ being held in Yorkshire and from Cambridge to London in 2014 presents a great opportunity to hold a women's event and set an example to the rest of Europe and Le Tour. After the success of the Olympics, women's cycling should not be allowed to slip back into the shadows.

I support the call for a women's Tour de France and call on you to organise a women's race alongside the Grand Départ.

I have also sent copies of this letter to British Cycling, UK Sport, Leeds City Council, Cambridge City Council, and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Yours sincerely,

Harriet Harman MP"

Interesting Women's TdF Links
Britain’s female cyclists can conquer the Alps too (The Independent)
Emma Pooley: "A women's TdF would not harm anybody" (Cycling Weekly)

Mexican coach investigated following alleged assault
Arturo Meneses, the Mexican coach who allegedly physically assaulted rider Erika Varela at the Mexican Road Race Championships, is the subject of an investigation into the incident being carried out by the country's Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE), according to ESPN.

Cycling fan Gustavo Garcia says that he went to see what was going on after hearing shouting and saw Meneses attack Varela during an argument. He then took a series of photographs that appear to show a struggle, followed by the coach pushing the rider over and pulling her roughly back upright.

Erika Varela
Days later, reports claimed Varela had denied any assault had taken place: "What the pictures really show is him trying to get me to stand when I didn't want to. To clarify, he did not at any time hit me or anything like that - it was just an argument when we were both angry. Arturo and I remain friends; it was just an angry row - the rest is just gossip and people misinterpreting the pictures," says a piece published by

Yet the following day, in a report published by PeriodicoAM under the title "Confirma Erika Varela pleito,"  ("Erika Varela confirms lawsuit"),Meneses gave a rather different account: "The situation is this: Erika has asthma and she'd ridden like a wild horse early in the race. Then, she fainted - when it looks as though I was throwing her in the photo, I was actually holding her up."

PeriodicoAM says that it contacted another rider, who wanted to remain anonymous, and was told: "I remember him well. Whenever things didn't go well [in a race], he became disrespectful and swore. He's a despot."

Jesús Mena, CONADE director, said "It is vital that CONADE fully investigates this accusation, and that what took place is fully understood. The world of sport must practice and promote the values of respect towards everyone equally."

British National Circuit Race Champs to be televised
For the first time this year, highlights of the British National Circuit Race Championships will be televised on ITV4. It's not clear if this will include the women's races, but as ITV4 have shown at least some coverage of the Johnson HealthTech GP, it seems likely that we'll get at least something.

Daisy Depoorter recovering
Daisy Depoorter, the CycleLive Plus-Zannata rider who suffered serious injuries when she was hit by a car during a training ride before Stage 3 at the Thuringen Rundfahrt last week, has been keeping fans updated on her recovery via Twitter...

Daisy Depoorter ‏@DaisyDep
After 7 days in the hospital in Jena I have finally green light for friday 26/07 to go back to Belgium. I will stay in AZ Damiaan in Ostend.

...The first 3 days were for me excruciating pain, vomiting and a collapsed lung. After those 3 hellish days I became every day little stronger...

...And i can move my legs again! #revalidation

Best wishes, Daisy - the ever-increasing number of women's cycling fans around the world are all looking forward to seeing you back in action soon!

Interesting Links
United Kingdom
Preview: 2013 British Cycling National Circuit Race Championships (British Cycling)
Cycling firm hits a milestone (Blackpool Gazette)
It's time for televised women's cycling (Daily Peloton)

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