Latest: Bury St. Edmunds to host Women's Tour Stage 5 finish - On The Drops' new website - All UCI commissions to include "at least one woman" - Trott says no to World's Sexiest Women Awards - Transfers and Team News - Shorts and Interesting Links: Binda confirmed for 2014 - more as it happens
Latest: Herts, Essex and Suffolk host Women's Tour stages
Tendring, in Essex, made an impassioned bid in early October to host a stage of the inaugural Women's Tour, realising that the race was going to be big and would bring all sorts of benefits to the locale, and they'll be glad they did because, now when they've been confirmed as hosts of Stage 3, the race looks set to be even bigger than the most optimistic of women's cycling fans ever hoped. In fact, it's not at all far-fetched to say that after years of being a cycling backwater, Britain will from this point onward be the home of one of the most prestigious events on the women's calendar, a race that rivals even the Giro Rosa - the last Grand Tour in women's cycling.
Stage 4 will run through the neighboring county of Hertfordshire, beginning in Cheshunt (to pay homage to Laura Trott, who calls the town home) and ending in Welwyn Garden City.
Details of the fifth and final stage were revealed on the 21st and brought more good news for cycling fans in Essex - the stage will begin in Harwich (Tendring's efforts have been repaid twice) before snaking through the country and up into Suffolk, where it'll finish at Bury St. Edmunds (always a fitting place for a race as it was the birthplace of James Moore - who won what is often said to have been the world's first organised bike race). Bury St. Edmunds has hosted stages of the men's Tour of Britain in recent years and has put on a good show, attracting many thousands of people to Angel Hill in the city centre, which seems the most likely location for the finish.
Further details of the routes will be announced early in the new year.
Stage One: Oundle to Northampton
Stage Two: Hinckley to Bedford
Stage Three: Clacton-on-Sea
Stage Four: Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City
Stage Five: Harwich to Bury St. Edmunds
On The Drops launch new-look website
On The Drops - racing in 2014 as Matrix-Vulpine - has for many years now been much more than just a team dedicated to getting good results. From early on it was deliberately structured to act as a supportive home for young riders before propelling them onward and upward to the top Elite teams (and was remarkably successful in that role, as a look at the team's ex-members will show); now, as well as planning on moving its racing up a gear or two in the new season, the team has a redesigned website featuring the all-new Neutral Service.
The brainchild of team manager Stef Wyman, Neutral Service aims to address a need for a central point where people can find information on women’s racing. "We will look to provide that here on our site. This will be neutral, not Matrix Fitness news and we will be looking for contributors to become part of the OTD team," the introduction continues (before mentioning that some bloke called John Orbea will be writing race previews). To find out more about contributing, check the site or speak to Stef.
More on the new OTD sponsors from BikeBiz
All UCI commissions to include "at least one woman"
The Union Cycliste Internationale has announced that in future all of its commissions will include "at least one woman." Similar "positive discrimination," designed to increase involvement of women and ethnic minorities in politics and other fields, has met with some criticism; however, many examples have been successful in engaging groups that display high levels of disenfranchisement in the political process - which is the same result that new UCI president Brian Cookson is hoping to achieve: "I am delighted by this announcement, which helps reinforce the presence of women in cycling," he said in an official press release.
Most members have already been announced, and there are several figures known for their intelligent and passionate arguments in support of women's cycling. Multiple British and European Cyclo Cross Champion Helen Wyman has been appointed to the Cyclo Cross Commission, Catherine Gastou to the Paracycling Commission (with Sarah Storey as riders' representative), Yvonne Mattsson to the Road Commission (with Marianne Vos as riders' representative), Tanya Dubnicoff to the Track Commission, Georgia Gould as riders' representative (cross country) to the MTB Commission, Jolanda Polkamp to the BMX Commission, Karin Moor to the Trials Commission and Claudia Bee to the Indoor Cycling Commission. Cycling For All will henceforth be split into two separate commissions - Mass Participation, which governs sportives and suchlike, where Tone Lien is the female member; Advocacy and Cyclists' Rights has Pia Allerslev. Other commissions include Anti-Doping (Marjoline Viret), Medical (Katharina Grimm), Disciplinary and Arbitral (Norma Gimondi and Maria-Laura Guardamagna), the Athletes Commission (Marianne Vos, Anna Meares, Georgia Gould, Vilma Rimsaite), the Commissaire's Commission (to be announced), Ethics (Noemi Cantele), Licences (no female member announced) and Equipment (to be announced).
Three new commissions have been created and also have female members. They are the Constitutional Review Panel (members to be announced), the International Development and National Federations Panel (Tracey Gaudry) and, most notably, the Women's Commission, where Kristy Scrymgeour and Karen Bliss are on the panel and the riders' representatives are Emma Pooley and Katie Compton.
Trott says no to World's Sexiest Women Awards
Laura Trott found millions of new fans when she was on screen during the Olympics, but not all of them were impressed by her athletic ability - some just liked the way she looks, which is why she was invited to attend a "Sexiest Women In The World Awards" event taking place in the 1970s... er, earlier this year.
Of course, she didn't let down her true fans. "That was just a no-go for me," she explained. "That whole other side of things just does not appeal to me. I do sport because I like being an athlete. I want to inspire young girls to get on their bikes, and I just believe there is a certain way of doing that, a certain way that I want to be seen."
Transfers and Team News
Meanwhile, BePink has signed up Susanna Zorzi - with Faren-Kuota in 2013 - and Anna-Maria Stricker of MCipollini-Giordana. Zorzi has been a big-hitter since 2008 when she came third at the Novice's National Individual Time Trial Championship and is current Under-23 European Road Race Champion; Stricker was Junior National Road Race Champion in 2012.
Shorts and Interesting Links
Trofeo Binda confirmed for 2014
Organisers of the Trofeo Binda, who professed themselves very disappointed that the newly-upgraded Gent-Wevelgem would take place on the same day as their race in 2014 and even hinted that they might kill off their prestigious event, have announced that the Trofeo will go ahead as planned on the 30th of March.
What will the Women's Cycling Tour bring to Northamptonshire next year? (Northampton Herald&Post)