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)

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