Saturday, 12 October 2013

Women's Cycling News 13-20.10.2013

UCI events this week - LATEST: Jessie Daams, 2013 Flandrienne - Teute retires - Design the World Cup jersey competition - UCI Women's Commission - Vos to undergo further surgery for back pain... but wins her first CX race of the season - Van Paassen to miss start of CX season - Stultiens' sore knee - D'hoore earns BA - VeloJam results - Transfers and Team News - Shorts and Interesting Links: 2016 Olympic parcours?; Van Wanroij to retire at end of 2014 - Tweet of the Week - More news as it happens...

UCI Elite Women's events this week: Chrono des Nations (20.10.2013)

LATEST: Jessie Daams, 2013 Flandrienne
"Flandrienne," and the male equivalent "Flandrien," are not terms to be bandied about in cycling. They refer only to a very select few, and must be earned. Indeed, there are those that say there was only ever one Flandrien, and that was Briek Schotte - perhaps the toughest of an especially tough breed of Belgian riders.

Once a year the Belgian cycling establishment gathers together for the Gala van de Flandrien, a glitzy soiree (which really couldn't be any more different from the sort of race in which the title is earned) where a panel of fourteen experts chooses a pair of riders - one man, one woman - who in their opinion have best personified the characteristics of the Flandrien throughout the cycling season. This year, they chose Jessie Daams of Boels-Dolmans for Flandrienne.

Daams is only 23, but this year she completed every round of the World Cup and finished the Giro Rosa, the last Grand Tour in women's cycling. She finished far from the top in both events, but a rider becomes a Flandrienne through her grit and determination, not according to the number of trophies in her cabinet.

She faced some stiff competition: Liesbet de Vocht and Maaike Polspoel were both nominated too, but Daams was awarded 51 points compared to de Vocht's 49 and Polspoel's 43. "I certainly wasn't expecting to beat Liesbet de Vocht," she said after receiving the honourary title. "I owe it to my consistency. In the future, I'd like to go for a good ranking in a stage race, or perhaps a shoot-out on a classic climb."

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg announces retirement
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg
She's been saying for years that she'd retire at the age of 38 and now the legendary Ina-Yoko Teutenberg has made it official by announcing she will not return to professional cycling - just days before her 39th birthday.

Teutenberg, who turned professional in 2000 and won more than 200 races over her career, originally took up cycling as a child because she hated being left out of anything her two older brothers (ex-professional riders Lars and Sven) did. She was forced to miss most of the 2013 season following a horrific crash that left her with serious concussion, but fans had hoped she might make a come-back in 2014 - with her humour and reputation for speaking her mind, she has long been one of the most popular riders on the circuit.

"This isn't the way I had hoped to say goodbye," said Teutenberg, who joined T-Mobile in 2005 and has remained with the team through its long transformation into Specialized-Lululemon ever since. "I've considered staying in the sport for another year, but I've decided now is the time to stop."

UCI launch Women's World Cup jersey competition
Think the current jerseys in the UCI Women's Road World Cup are a bit dull and could do with an update? Think that <insert name of favoured rider> would look especially good in <insert colour of jersey>? Well, now you can have a go at making that happen, because the UCI have launched a competition giving fans the chance to design new jerseys for the four classifications that will feature in the race series from 2013 - the overall winner, the Points winner, the Mountains winner and the best Young rider. You'll also be in with a chance of winning a trip to a World Cup event.

Les Deesses' virtually-guaranteed-
to-win entry
The competition has met with a mixed reception with some fans and journalists dismissing it as a gimmick, while others are more worried asking fans to design the jerseys rather than pay a graphic designer is indication the UCI's much talked-up plans to give women's cycling the sort of backing it achieves will be done on the cheap. Others are more positive, arguing that it's a clever way to encourage more people to engage in the sport.

You can enter the competition and read the rules on the UCI website. Be warned, though - you'll face some stiff competition from the Deesses Graphic Design Department...

UCI Women's Commission confirmed
It's been rumoured for a long time, now Brian Cookson - who became president of the UCI after defeating Pat McQuaid in an election last month - has confirmed that cycling's governing body is to gain a women's cycling commission charged with looking at ways the sport can be developed.

McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen were frequently accused by riders and fans of not doing enough for women's cycling and, more damningly, not caring, and would often brush the subject aside when it was raised by journalists or by riders, as at the 2011 World Championships. There are some who claim that Cookson doesn't care as much as he has claimed, but the establishment of a commission devoted to the sport is a big step into the future - and, hopefully, a sign of more positive steps to come.

Vos, photographed here at the Fleche
Wallonne, has been suffering serious
back pain for most of the season. Being
Vos, she's still managed 38 wins so far
in 2013
Vos to undergo further surgery for back pain
Excellent results - including the World Championship - following a break from racing earlier this year seemed to suggest Marianne Vos' back problems were over, but the Dutch star has revealed that she'll go under the knife for a small operation that will hopefully rid her once and for all of the pain she's been feeling all season.

Vos underwent medical treatment and took a week out in August, but doctors were unable to find the underlying cause of her pain. Speaking to De Telegraaf, the 26-year-old explained that it might be down to a cyst. "Maybe that's the culprit," she said. "It could well be that the cyst is pressing against a nerve and causing the pain in my lower back.

"I know it's not right, especially during a 'cross race. That's an outright attack on your body. The last laps were not pleasant, oh no," she added, referring to the race she won in front of a home crowd at Den Bosch last weekend (see below).

Via the Rabobank team website, Vos clarified that the matter - and the operation to rectify it - is very minor: "The cyst isn't in my back, but in the abdominal cavity. It could be that it is the cause of my back pain , but the chance of this is small according to the doctors. My back is much better now than during the road season, though it's still a little sensitive. It's a simple procedure, but worthwhile. The doctors said it wasn't urgent, so the operation could take place during a less-busy period, in the break I already had planned after Woerden, so all is well. It doesn't damage by preparation for the second part of the cyclo cross season and I can quickly return to my training regime after the surgery."

She'll undergo surgery at the end of this month and plans to return to racing shortly afterwards.

...but wins her first CX race of the season
...and she did it in front of a home crowd at Den Bosch, the city in the Netherlands where she was born in 1987. Rabobank-Liv/Giant road race team mate Sabrina Stultiens was second, seven-time British National CX Champion Helen Wyman was third, current British National CX Champion Nikki Harris was fourth and rising Dutch star Sophie de Boer was fifth.

Van Paassen to miss start of CX season, may require surgery
Sanne van Paassen
Sanne van Paassen hasn't been quite as fortunate as her Rabobank team mate Marianne Vos and looks unlikely to be able to compete during the first months of the cyclo cross season due to pain in her knees.

"I'm having problems with both legs when I cycle, but the left leg is especially painful when I ride hard," van Paassen, who will turn 25 years of age on the 27th of October, explained to "Last weekend, on a ride, I realised that I really cannot compete at the moment."

"Actually, the doctors have found two probable causes," says the Dutch rider, who was second at Gent-Wevelgem in March. "I have a kink in the femoral artery and cysts in both my knees. Unfortunately, they're not agreed as to which of the two problems is the main cause of the pain. If surgery is necessary I won't hesitate to go under the knife, but I'll want to know for certain the surgery will relieve my symptoms. It'll be very tempting to get back on the bike as soon as I've had surgery, but it's important than I think in the long term and don't take unnecessary risks."

Stultiens suffers sore knee
Stultiens at the Tour of Thuringia, 2012
Meanwhile, a third Rabo team mate has been experiencing medical problems this week - 20-year-old Sabrina Stultiens, Junior National Cyclo Cross Champion in 2011 and third place in the Elite National Cyclo Cross Championship earlier this year, is also suffering pain in her knee and as a result cannot take part in the first round of the World Cup due to go ahead at Valkenburg this weekend.
Sabrina Stultiens ‏@STULTIENS_S
Stiekem gehoopt op 'n wonder tijdens m'n testritje voor morgen. nog te veel last aan m'n knie waardoor ik morgen niet start in WB Valkenburg
("I was secretly hoping for a miracle for tomorrow when I went on my training ride but it was just too hard on my knee, so tomorrow I won't start in Valkenburg")
"I want to ride - it's my home province, "Stultiens says. "However, I can't risk long-term injury. There are other important races this winter - the European Championships in January, and the other championships."

Jolien D'hoore earns bachelor's degree
Jolien D'hoore
Somehow finding time to study this year despite her busy racing schedule, sprint specialist Jolien D'hoore has just won a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy and rehabilitation techniques.

D'hoore, who was born in Merelbeke, East Flanders in 1990, rides for the Lotto-Belisol team. "Now I can turn my full attention to cycling," she says - with some excellent results in 2013, she'll be certain to impress come the new season.

Chapeau Jolien!

VeloJam Results
Elite Omnium
1 Sarah Connell (Briston Cycles) 23
2 Anna Railton (ASL360) 23
3 Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel) 20
4 Lucy Harper (Welwyn Cycles) 10
5 Jayne Paine (Wildsen Cycles) 10
6 Anna-Marie Hughes (Prestige VC) 6

B-Category Omnium
1 Alexis Barnes (Cardiff Ajax) 24
2 Amy Good (VCL) 18
3 Emma Towers (Twickenham CC) 17
4 Christine Robson 14
5 Hannah Cannell 10
6 Zoe Lewis (VCL) 7

Go Race Omnium
1 Sarah Walsh 23
2 Tanya Griffiths 16
3 Gemma Marshall 10
4 Charlotte Roberge 8
5 Katie Atherton 6
6 Fiona Leonard 6

Sarah Connell won the Combativity prize (a pair of Hope OpenPro wheels)

More - VeloJam Huge Success (Track Cycling News)

Transfers and Team News
Transfers at-a-glance
As is usual at this time of year, staff at the Rumour Mill have been working overtime - but, at long last, we know where Marijn de Vries is going. Marijn, an enormously popular rider due at least in part to her willingness to chat with fans on Twitter has expected to leave Lotto-Belisol for several weeks now, but there've been no reliable hints as to where she might go. Confirmation was received on the 18th of October that she'll ride for Argos-Shimano, which is also taking on Julia Soek (previously Sengers) and Sara Mustonen (previously Faren-Kuota). Meanwhile, it seems that the team will retain Willeke Knol for another season, rather than releasing her as was previously reported.

Aude Biannic, who just missed out on a bronze medal at the European Under-23 Individual Time Trial and won the controversial Stage 4 of the Giro Toscana (against a much-reduced field; most of the riders having abandoned en masse in protest at the dangerous conditions to which they'd be exposed during the previous stages), has signed to the Spanish Lointek team, which is losing Anna Potokina to Servetto-Zhiraf - Servetto-Zhiraf, the new name for Servetto-Footon, is also taking Svetlana Bubnenkova (who won the Chrono Champenois in 1993!) and Nataliya Boyarskaya (who won the GP of Maykop and Tour of Adygeya in 2013).

Rytger, the Danish-based team that is moving up to the Elite ranks for the first time in 2014, has signed Malin Nystrand; it appears that Rytger will not now be taking on Amalie Winther Olsen or Christina Siggaard, who were reported to be joining the team last week. Siggaard, previously with Restore Cycling, is going to Firefighters Upsala CK, a US/Swedish team that raises funds for and awareness of firefighters suffering chronic and terminal illnesses; it is not known what's happening with Winther Olsen

Jessica Allen, previously with Vienne Futuroscope, is going to the team of the National Cycling Centre Hamilton, an organisation set up to find and develop promising Canadian riders. Vienne Futuroscope is taking on the Australian Sarah Roy (previously Futurumshop), 21-year-old Charlotte Bravard, 20-year-olds Lucie Pader (previously Bourgogne-ProDialogue) and Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin (previously Kenda-RACC) and current Australian Criterium Champion the devastatingly fast sprinter Kimberly Wells (previously Fearless Femme-Pure Energy). Manon Souyris, Oriane Chaumet, Sandrine Bideau, Pascale Jeuland, Amelie Rivat and Fiona Dutriaux remain with the team, while Emmanuel Merlot is retiringIt's not yet known what is happening with Karol-Ann Canuel and Jennifer Letue.

Jolien D'hoore and Celine van Severen are confirmed as staying at Lotto, while the team is taking on Luxembourgian Chantal Hoffmann (previously WC De Sprinters Malderen), Isabelle Soderberg (previously Cramo-Go:Green), Lieselot Decroix (previously CycleLive Plus-Zannata) and 17-year-olds Sara Verhaest and current Walloon Junior Road Race and ITT Champion and Molly Meyvisch (owner of what may be the cutest name in cycling, Molly is the daughter of Herve, whom some people might remember as a domestique on Carrera Jeans back in the early 1990s).

Dalia Muccioli will stay at BePinkValentina Scandolara - who, remarkably, is still only 23 despite seeming to have appeared in the top ten of every race for ages - is leaving MCipollini-Giordana to go to Orica-AIS, an interesting development and one that is likely to suit her very well. Orica are also taking on Carlee Taylor from Lotto-Belisol, and Grace Sulzberger who won a silver medal for the ITT at the Australian Nationals this year, and will keep Amanda Spratt, Jessie Maclean, Emma Johansson, Melissa Hoskins, Shara Gillow, Gracie Elvin and Annette Edmondson. Gu Sung Eun and Tiffany Cromwell (Orica in 2013) have not provided confirmation of where they'll be in 2014.

Katarzyna Niewiadoma is staying at Rabobank-Liv/Giant, which will take on Anna Knauer who, despite being only 18, has ten National titles, one European title and a World title to her name. Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau, previously with Faren-Kuota, is retiring; Faren-Kuota is taking on the Mexican rider Erika Varela who made headlines earlier this year when photographs emerged which apparently showed her being physically attacked by a coach

Brunello Fanini's Giro Toscana isn't on the 2014 calendar following the riders' protest at unsafe conditions this year, but he has no plans to close down his S.C. Michela Fanini-ROX team - Simona Crotti, Beatrice Bafile and Michela Balducci and joining for 2014. Meanwhile, the team loses Lisa Gamba who is retiring from professional cycling at just 19 years of age; while Edwige Pitel, Carlotta Brui, Lara Vieceli, Yevgenia Vysotska, Mireia Epelde and Azzurra D'Intino all remain onboard, as does Liisi Rist.

Several other riders will be retiring. They are:
Sara Grifi and Sylwia Kapusta (both MCipollini-Giordana), Alessandra d'Ettorre (Vaiano-Fondriest), Noemi Cantele (BePink), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Specialized-Lululemon; see above), Francesca Stefani (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) and Kim Schoonbaert (Lotto-Belisol) - Schoonbaert explains her decision to do so here.

Epic Cycles-Scott Contessa, the new British team announced in August, has signed Molly Weaver and Elle Hopkins, who were previously with Breast Cancer Care, and Hannah Walker from the Matrix Racing Academy. The team also includes Karla Boddy and Melissa Brand (both previously MG-Maxifuel); Anna ChristianAlex Greenfield and Emily Kay (all previously Scott Contessa-Epic)Laura Massey and Alexie Shaw.

Shorts and Interesting Links
Is this the 2016 Olympic parcours?
A map, apparently showing the route of the Road Race and Time Trial at the 2016 Olympics, has appeared online with two-and-a-half years still to go until the Games. You can see the .pdf here.

There is at present no evidence in favour or against it being genuine, nor if it's a finalised route or one of several under consideration if it is real, but the map is accurate (if simplified) with the route plotted on roads that do exist just south of Rio, in between Catete and Copacabana. The altitude profile looks a little strange, but the Corcovado area (a national park) does reach 400m above sea level, as shown on the profile 10km from the start; however, the road only reaches approximately 250m. If genuine it'd be a serious climb, gaining 400m in 4km at an average gradient of 10%, but a profile created for the same route by Velofocus looks sufficiently similar to suggest that the route uses roads that already exist and the creator of the map has used an incorrect altitude scale. Two smaller climbs between the first and the 20km point look to be even steeper.

Van Wanroij to retire at end of 2014
Van Wanroij is looking to the future
Marieke van Wanroij, who announced recently that she's signed up for another season with her Boels-Dolmans team, says she plans to retire from cycling at the end of 2014 - when she'll be 35 years old.

"I would like to win a race this season," van Wanroij says, but explains that doing so isn't the main aim of her final year: she will concentrate on acting as mentor to the team's two new youthful signings Demi de Jong and Nicky Ziljaard. "When our directeur sportif Danny Stam called me to ask if I'd like to take on a guiding role for them, I was immediately enthusiastic. It's good to know that my efforts to motivate the team are appreciated. I've been thinking of taking up coaching in the future and this is a good intermediate step, a season to work out if that's really what I want to do."

Full team statement here.

Interesting Links
Photo: Nikki Harris remembers Amy Dombroski (Kramon)
Compton solos to victory in Colorado Cross Classic (Cycling Weekly)
Joanna Rowsell wants Great Britain to continue Team Pursuit domination (British Cycling)
Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell would love to see Women's Tour de France (The Daily Telegraph)
Specialized debuts women's recreational triathlon bike (Bicycle Retailer)
Laura Trott: life as a road rider is hard for my sister Emma (Daily Telegraph)
Le SENS de l'HUMOUR et le BON SENS de Marianne VOS! (Gwena)
British Cycling plan for one million more women riders on track (BBC)

Tweet of the Week
Marijn de Vries ‏@marijnfietstO jongens, als jullie toch zouden weten waar ik nu zit dan zouden sommigen van jullie best met me willen ruilen. 
("Oh guys, if you knew where I am right now, some of you would want to swap with me." - Intriguing stuff!)

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