LATEST: Wyman Queen of Koppenbergcross, Nikki Harris has big plans - Emma Pooley joins Lotto-Belisol - Euro Cross Champs start list - Manchester World Cup on BBC - UCI angers Binda bosses - Compton top in Tabor - Wyman wins Ruddervoorde - More Women's Tour details - New team for Plymouth, UK - Long-term performance enhancement from steroids, study suggests - Koppenbergcross Starters - Kloppenberg for Koppenberg? - Transfers and Team News: New sponsor for Argos-Shimano, Moves, Rachel Heal joins UHC as DS, Matrix RA roster revealed, At-A-Glance - more news as it happens...
Latest: Wyman Queen of Koppenbergcross
|Helen Wyman, Britain's most-|
overlooked sporting hero
Helen's starts are famous and few riders can rival her for a fast getaway from the line, which enabled the 32-year-old from St. Albans to seize control for much of the first lap. Cant, who is from Antwerp, was obviously eager to win on home soil in front of a typically enthusiastic (and intoxicated) Belgian crowd and managed to take the lead a few times, but Wyman fended off the challenge whenever she did. Meanwhile, fellow Briton Nikki Harris rode in a small group with Ellen van Loy, Sophie de Boer and Christel Ferrier-Bruneau some eight seconds back.
Harris, the current British champion, showed real panache when she left the group behind and caught the two leaders, but the more experienced Wyman knew doing so would have taken serious effort and, knowing she'd have been tired by it, ramped up her own efforts - which turned out to be too much for Cant, too, and before long Wyman was 10" ahead of the Belgian and 15" ahead of the Brit. Cant, though, is a very talented rider who excels on slippery descents, which permitted her to halve her disadvantage on the technical slopes of the field next to the feted Koppenberg climb. Then, disaster - Cant had a puncture and saw her disadvantage return to 10" while she got a replacement bike.
|Sanne Cant puts her descending skills to good use at|
Cant's second place was deserved, as was Harris' third - the Derbyshire-born 26-year-old may have been 10" slower than Cant, but she was an impressive 40" faster than the next quickest of the group she'd escaped, Sophie de Boer who took fourth. Koppenbergcross is part of the BPost Bank Trofee, formerly the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee; Harris leads the series with a 29" advantage (note: the series is now decided by times accumulated in the constituent races, rather than by points as was previously the case), Wyman is second and Cant third at +01'01". (Full Trofee standings here.)
It was a tough race, and the parcours was completely different to a few days ago when I was here training," Wyman said afterwards. "I tried to make it count in the places where I knew I could make a difference, and it's great that I could halve my standings [in the BPost Trofee]. Perhaps if I'd sprinted to the finish I could have made up a little more, but I wanted to enjoy this victory."
Cant was upbeat too: "I've had a few difficult weeks but I was Helen's equal today," she said. "On the cobbles and the descent, I was slightly better than her, but on the climbs she was able to gain ground."
Harris has big plans
Following the race, Harris' Telenet-Fidea team announced that she has signed up for two more years - and the rider revealed that she has big plans. "I had other options including one from Specialized," she told Cycling News. "I thought about both options because I wanted to try racing on the road 100%. After a few weeks I realised that I'm a cross rider first and I will remain a cyclo cross racer. I want and hope to become World Champion, that's my main goal. That's why I will stay at Telenet-Fidea - because that's the place to be for that perspective."
Koppenbergcross Top 10
1 Helen Wyman
2 Sanne Cant
3 Nikki Harris
4 Sophie de Boer
5 Ellen van Loy
6 Pavla Havlikova
7 Githia Michiels
8 Gabby Durrin-Day
9 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau
10 Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn
Emma Pooley joins Lotto-Belisol
|Pooley at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, 2012|
Team manager Guy Kostermans also Tweeted...
Guy Kostermans @GuyKostermansPooley, aged 31, is also known to be a very effective time trial rider, becoming British and World Champion in the discipline in 2010 (she was National Road Race Champion that year too, and National TT Champion in 2009). This, combined with her climbing skills, has brought her numerous General Classification victories, including at the last Tour de France Féminin in 2009.
@LB_Ladies: Bull's Eye with signing@PooleyEmma ! #proud.
European Cyclo Cross Championships Starters
Official site with parcours and more
Sanne Cant (Belgium)
Ellen van Loy (Belgium)
Veronika Blahova (Czech Republic)
Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic)
Margiet Kloppenberg (Denmark)
Lucie Chainel (France)
Lisa Heckmann (Germany)
Gabby Durrin-Day (Great Britain)
Nikki Harris (Great Britain)
Helen Wyman (Great Britain)
Sophie de Boer (Netherlands)
Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Netherlands)
Monique van de Ree (Netherlands)
Livia Hanesova (Slovakia)
Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)
Zuzana Vojtasova (Slovakia)
Laura Verdonschot (Belgium, Junior)
Jana Czeczinkarova (Czech Republic, Junior)
Lenka Krzyzankova (Czech Republic, Junior)
Katerina Mudrikova (Czech Republic, Junior)
Nikola Noskova (Czech Republic, Junior)
Elena Vanickova (Czech Republic, Junior)
Martina Kukulova ((Czech Republic, U-23)
Vedula Kuntova Martina Kukulova ((Czech Republic, U-23)
Martina Mikulaskova Martina Kukulova (Czech Republic, U-23)
Karla Stepanova (Czech Republic, U-23)
Joanna Muller (Germany, Junior)
Jessica Lambracht (Germany, U-23)
Rachele Barbieri (Italy, Junior)
Chiara Galimberti (Italy, Junior)
Rebecca Gariboldi (Italy, Junior)
Chiara Teocchi (Italy, Junior)
Elena Torcianti (Italy, Junior)
Alice-Maria Arzuffi (Italy, U-23)
Alessia Bulleri (Italy, U-23)
Jasmine Dotti (Italy, U-23)
Giorgia Fraiegari (Italy, U-23)
Giovanna Michieletto (Italy, U-23)
Deborah Soligo (Italy, U-23)
Elena Valentini (Italy, U-23)
Jamie Bierens (Netherlands, Junior)
Lotte Eikelenboom (Netherlands, Junior)
Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands, Junior)
Esmee Oosterman (Netherlands, Junior)
Lindy van Anrooij (Netherlands, Junior)
Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Netherlands, U-23)
Evy Kuijpers (Netherlands, U-23)
Sabrina Stultiens (Netherlands, U-23)
Lana Verberne (Netherlands, U-23)
Tereza Medvedova (Slovakia, Junior)
...little but depressing for we Brits that we can field three riders of such strength in the Elite but not a single Junior or Under-23 in the Youth, isn't it?
BBC Red Button to show Manchester Track World Cup
Full coverage will be broadcast via the Red Button digital channel and online, with nearly three hours of coverage on BBC2 on Sunday the 3rd of November. (If you're not in the UK, try Hola.org set to "UK")
Friday November 1 (Women's Team Sprint, Team Pursuit & Scratch 10k)
12.00-17.45 Red button and online
19.00-21.45 Red button and online
Saturday November 2 (Women's Individual Pursuit & Sprint)
18.00-22.43 Red button and online
Sunday November 3 (Women's Omnium Final, Points Race & Keirin)
14.20-17.50 BBC 2
Racing schedule is here.
UCI angers Trofeo Binda organisers
|2013 Binda winner Elisa Longo Borghini|
The Trofeo Alfredo Binda, in existence since 1974 and part of the World Cup since 2008, is one of the affected races. In 2014, it will take place as usual at the end of March (30th; it was the 24th in 2013), the same date as the newly-upgraded Gent-Wevelgem women's race, which will be classified as a 1.2 event from 2014. The Trofeo is popular with fans and riders alike for its unusually well-balanced parcours that does not favour any particular speciality, whereas Gent-Wevelgem is known as a sprinter's race - were the world's greatest sprinters to be other engaged in Belgium, the Trofeo would undoubtedly lose some of its attraction. Organisers Cycling Sport Promotion, who accuse the UCI of failing to preserve World Cup races, are sufficiently angered that they're threatening to pull out of the World Cup - or even no longer hold their race.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Thuringen Rundfahrt were displeased at the 21st-27th of July calendar slot they'd been given and threatened to pull the plug. The race has now been moved to the requested 14th-20th of July, following the removal of the Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden (which did not go ahead in 2013 due to financial problems) from the calendar.
Compton top in Tabor
Tabor would be a horrendously technical race in wet conditions with its grass sections, which would take all a rider's skill when made slippery by rain and then sap her strength as soon as they turned into mud - so the warm, sunny weather during this year's race will have been a much appreciated change to the sort of weather cyclo crossers get used to when competing in the sport's Belgian homeland.
|Van Loy at Azencross 2012|
Van Loy was on the case once again later in the race when Harris tried to get away once more, but the British rider was just too fast to catch. Before the end of the first lap, only six riders were anywhere near her - but then Katie Compton decided to take matters in hand and did what nobody else had been able to do, overtaking and taking charge of a group also consisting of van Loy, Harris, Cant, Pavla Havlikova and Christel Ferrier-Bruneau. Wyman, only metres behind, was hotly pursued by a second group made up of , Gabby Day, Kaitlin Antonneau and Lucienne Chainel-Lefevre; none of them could rival Compton.
Compton's victory was well-fought, well-deserved and exciting, but wass it a case of while the cat's (or the Fox, perhaps?) away, the mice will play? She was completely unable to compete with Marianne Vos at Valkenburg last week, but then gave her a real run for her money at Woerden and finished just six seconds down - a very good result when racing Vos off-road, because Vos rules 'cross even more convincingly than the road races, and more than enough to demonstrate that she'll be one of the strongest threats to Vos this season. The question now is, will Compton find the form - or will Vos lose it - over the next couple of months before the Dutch woman returns from a well-earned rest?
Tabor Top Ten
1 Katie COMPTON 43'41"
2 Nikki HARRIS 43'47"
3 Pavla HAVLIKOVA 43'48"
4 Christel FERRIER-BRUNEAU 44'18"
5 Sanne CANT ST
6 Meredith MILLER 44'28"
7 Ellen VAN LOY BEL 44'35"
8 Lucienne CHAINEL-LEFEVRE 44'37"
9 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU 44'46"
10 Sophie DE BOER 44'52"
Wyman wins Ruddervoorde as Brits take three out of four
Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn was sixth and thus qualified for the European Championships, but will not take up her place due to back problems. "It was a tough decision and I have mixed feelings, but I prefer to concentrate on making a full recovery," said the 46-year-old, who still regularly beats riders two decades younger than herself.
Ruddervoorde Top Ten
1 Helen WYMAN 42'36"
2 Nikki HARRIS 43'03"
3 Sanne CANT 43'24"
4 Gabriella Day 43'24"
5 Ellen VAN LOY 44'25"
6 Reza HORMES-RAVENSTIJN 44'52"
7 Loes SELS 45'14"
8 Yara KASTELIJN 45'31"
9 Joyce VANDERBEKEN 45'48"
10 Laura VERDONSCHOT 46'00"
More Women's Tour Details
SweetSpot, organisers of the new Women's Tour, have release more details. Stage 1 will start in Oundle, with the remainder of the day's parcours staying within Northamptonshire as previously reported. Stage 2 will start in Hinckley (Leicestershire) and will travel through Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire to end in Bedford. Further details and maps will be published in the New Year.
Meanwhile, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert (who can frequently be seen cycling around the city) seems to be taking an interest in the Women's Tour and has been retweeting news on it. Should Cambridge-based women's cycling fans get excited about this...?
New women's team for Plymouth, UK
South-west England's only professional cycling team Spin Rotor-Primal is to operate a women's team for the first time in 2014. The team, based in Plymouth, launched in 2010; two female riders have reportedly already been signed up and the full rosters will be announced in February.
Long-term performance enhancement from steroids, study suggests
The cycling world has long been split into those who believe that a rider found to have doped should be permitted a second chance once she or he reaches the end of a fitting ban and those who believe a "one strike and you're out" approach is the only way to effectively discourage unscrupulous athletes from turning to drugs for assistance.
Now the second group's argument may be about to be strengthened due to findings from a study carried out by the University of Oslo that seems to show that athletes who have used anabolic steroids may experience permanent performance-enhancing effects.
"Female mice were treated with testosterone propionate for 14 days, inducing a 66% increase in the number of myonuclei and a 77% increase in fibre cross sectional area," explained Professor Kristian Gundersen in a piece published by the Journal of Physiology. "Three weeks after removing the drug, fibre size was decreased to the same level as in sham treated animals, but the number of nuclei remained elevated for at least 3 months (>10% of the mouse lifespan). At this time, when the myonuclei-rich muscles were exposed to overload-exercise for 6 days, the fibre cross sectional area increased by 31% while control muscles did not grow significantly. We suggest that the lasting, elevated number of myonuclei constitutes a cellular memory facilitating subsequent muscle overload hypertrophy. Our findings might have consequences for the exclusion time of doping offenders." (Read the full abstract here; full article requires subscription).
Bans handed out to cyclists have been big news in women's cycling over the last month because of the return to the sport of Hanna Solovey after a two-year suspension. Solovey used steroids at the age of 19, but claims she was pressurised into doing so by a coach - a convincing defence that has been used by other young riders in the past (but not one that has prevented suspicion in the wake of her victory at the Chrono des Nations). If it can be proven that riders like Solovey still benefit from the effects of steroids after two years (far less than 15% of a human life span, and during shich she was presumably not using banned drugs), it would become much easier to construct a convincing argument in favour of life bans.
This weekend brings Koppenbergcross, the race that as far as many people are concerned is the biggest and best cyclo cross race of them all - you can see the parcours here, and the start list looks like this...
1 Sanne Cant
2 Helen Wyman
3 Nikki Harris
4 Ellen Van Loy
5 Pavla Havlikova
6 Sabrina Stultiens
7 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau
8 Gabby Durrin-Day
9 Joyce Vanderbeken
10 Margriet Kloppenburg
11 Reza Hormes
12 Asa Maria Erlandsson
13 Githa Michiels
14 Sophie de Boer
15 Karen Verhestraeten
16 Hilde Quintens
17 Christine Vardaros
18 Katrien Thijs
19 Stephanie De Croock
20 Loes Sels
21 Cindy Bauwens
22 Claire Beaumont
23 Delia Beddis
24 Axelle Bellaert
25 Cindy Diericx
26 Katleen Fraeye
27 Anja Geldhof
28 Sophia Joy
29 Shana Maes
30 Petra Mermans
31 Ilona Meter
32 Claire Smith
33 Karine Temporelli
34 Lindy van Anrooij
35 Ilse Vandekinderen
36 Aurelie Vermeir
37 Sandie Verriest
38 Gertie Willems
39 Jolien Verschueren
Kloppenberg for Koppenberg?
Koppenbergcross features a highly technical section through the steeply-sloping field just north of the Steengat section of the Koppenberg itself, where the gradient approachs -30% - which is more than steep enough to be a problem in dry conditions, but makes things extremely difficult when the rough, tussocky grass is wet (which it looks like it will be, heavy rain being forecast all day on Friday). Excellent descent skills are, therefore, vital for anyone hoping to stand a chance of winning. According to Stef Wyman, who was there to train with Helen Wyman, the seven-time British champion and to whom he is married, nobody was descending as well as Margriet Kloppenberg on Wednesday.
Transfers and Team News
“Very recently, a company expressed interest in taking over the main sponsorship. The new sponsor is a good fit with our ambitious team goals,” said general manager Iwan Spekenbrink via the team's website.
The new sponsor's name will be revealed soon, with further team details and jersey designs also expected.
Reports in the Canadian and Dutch news say Karol-Ann Canuel, riding for Vienne Futuroscope since 2010, will move to Specialized-Lululemon in 2014. It's also rumoured that Chantal Blaak is seeking a move from Tibco-To The Top.
Peta Mullens, who won the 2009 Australian Under-23 Road Race Championships and is currently National Cross Country MTB champion, is joining the British-registered Wiggle-Honda team owned and managed by fellow Australian Rochelle Gilmore. She'll be given the task of acting as lead-out for Giorgia Bronzini, but as one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton she'll undoubtedly have many chances to go for victories for herself too. Another Australian, the current Oceania Individual Time Trial Champion Taryn Heather, has signed a contract with Bigla.
Retired British rider Rachel Heal, who came close to winning the National Championships numerous times during the first half-decade of the 21st Century, won Stage 7 at the 2004 Tour de l'Aude, Stage 1 at the 2007 Tour of the Gila and Stage 4 at the same race a year later, is joining the management team at United HealthCare - which launches its first women's team for 2014. Working as a directeur sportif alongside Mike Tamayo, Hendrik Redant and Roberto Damiani, she will be involved with the development of both the women's and men's squads.
Matrix Racing reveals roster
Closer to home, Louise Borthwick has signed to the Matrix Racing Academy - which will race with a British licence (and a new name, yet to be revealed) in 2014, but will also make an appearance in several UCI events around Europe throughout the season and has its sights firmly set on a place at the Women's Tour. The team has also signed Sigrid Jochems, previously with Water, Land & Dijken, a rider whom manager Stef Wyman describes as "one of the fastest finishers" in women's cycling.
"We have put together a very strong line up of riders as we always aim to do," says Wyman. "We’ve been especially careful about how we have constructed the team this year. We know that a team that can perform in a UCI 2.1 race is very different to a team that can target wins in the many criteriums on the UK race calendar. If we are going to be one of the lucky few teams to get a wildcard invitation for The Women’s Tour we will need to demonstrate we are not there to make up the numbers."
Matrix's full roster is: Bethany Hayward, Corrine Hall, Lora Turnham (who rides in paracycling tandem events with Hall as pilot), Harriet Owen, Jessie Walker, Jo Tindley, Louise Borthwick, Mel Lowther and Penny Rowson, who is rejoining Matrix after a year away. They are without a doubt the friendliest team in cycling; if you're not doing so already give them a follow on Twitter. (More from Stef on the team)
At a glance
Most of the teams have revealed their line-ups for 2014 now that transfer season is drawing to a close, though are some notable outfits that haven't yet announced full rosters. Here's what has been confirmed so far...
Marijn de Vries
Demi De Jong
Ellen van Dijk
Marieke van Wanroij
Firefighters Upsala CK
Sofie de Vuyst
Anouska Helena Koster
Janine van der Meer
Annelies van Doorslaer
Elisa Longo Borghini
Liesbeth de Vocht
Celine van Severen
Kim de Baat
Sophie de Boer
Monique van de Ree
Bianca van den Hoek
Natalie van Gogh
Laura van der Kamp
Thalita De Jong
Pauline Ferrand Prevot
Anna van der Breggen
Annemiek van Vleuten
Julie Valgren Andersen
Kamilla Sofie Vallin
Amalie Winther Olsen
S.C. Michela Fanini-ROX
Ellen van Loy
Nel de Crits
Eva Maria Palm
Kelly van den Steen
Shorts and Interesting Links
|Cookson - rolling in it, though not|
to quite the same extent as McQuaid
Track Cycling World Cup: Winning Olympic gold and fighting crime [with Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel) (BBC Sport)
Tour de France's rejection of women keeps cycling in the dark ages (The Guardian)
Williamson happy with form ahead of Manchester UCI Track Cycling World Cup (British Cycling)
Oundle In Northamptonshire To Host Opening Stage Of The Women's Tour In May (Sport.co.uk)
Monica Bascio: Paralympic SportsWoman Of The Year (TeamUSA)
Jess Varnish wants to end a troubled year on a high in World Cup (The Guardian)
British Cycling to run its first ever women's-only coaching course (British Cycling)
Chloe McGonville claims yellow jersey in Tour of the Goldfields (The Courier)
Becky James relishing return to Britain next weekend (Wales Online)