Saturday 18 May 2013

Weekly Women's Cycling News 13-19.05.2013

Tour Languedoc Roussillon cancellation - Wiggo rides like a girl - Neben injured - YOU can help make a women's cycling documentary - Inequality in BMX - Inequality in California - Afghan Women's Team organiser wins award - Rowsell to lead Manchester ride - Ipswich Johnson HealthTech round relocated to Redditch - Abbott back in the saddle - Bano wins Pakistan Nats - more news - Photo of the Week

Tour Languedoc Roussillon cancelled... then reinstated
"What a scandal!" tweeted Martine Bras
The biggest news of the week is the cancellation of the Tour Languedoc Roussillon - announced the day before the race was due to begin, when numerous teams were either already at the start town on en route, causing much anger among riders and fans alike. The precise reason for the cancellation hasn't yet been made clear with some claims that local police had stopped the event while others suggested financial problems. The latter seems most likely to be true as the race was reinstated a day later, reduced by one stage and shortened in length, after a new sponsor was reportedly found. Nevertheless, some teams - including Rabobank, who later listed "just a few reasons" for their decision - declined to go ahead as an act of protest.

Since the Languedoc-Roussillon organisers don't have the best reputation in cycling (having cancelled last year's edition a fortnight before the start, which also created problems for the teams), this raises an even more important and, for those organisers, extremely awkward question: why didn't they tell anyone that they were experiencing difficulties at an earlier date? Women's professional cycling teams operate on budgets that are mere pocket money when compared to those enjoyed by men's teams and the cost of getting a team, bikes, team officials, team car and so on to a race in the first place accounts for a large percentage of that; cancelling a race with so little notice could bring one of the poorer teams close to bankruptcy. If they have lost money, will they be recompensed? The organisers have no money, so it'd be down to the UCI. That, for many fans, equals "no they won't."

Finally, one of the most shocking aspects of the story less than a year after the world started to take notice of women's cycling at the Olympics, is that the news has been almost entirely overlooked by the media with most of the well-known cycling news websites ignoring it entirely.

The Unofficial Unsanctioned Women's UCI Cycling Blog has much more on what the news means for women's cycling.
More from Bridie O'Donnell.
(See also: Photo of the Week, at the bottom of this page)

Wiggo rides like a girl - he wishes!
Bradley Wiggins (no medieval honorifics on this blog, comrades) has kicked up a bit of a stink by explaining his loss of time at the Giro d'Italia thus: "I descended like bit of a girl really after the crash."

"Oh, but Wiggo won a Tour!"
some fans may argue. True.
However,so did Luperini.
Three times.
Throwaway comment? Perhaps, but a very stupid one all the same - especially since Wiggins put some of his own money towards backing British-registered pro women's team Wiggle-Honda, who've been doing more than their fair share of work to try to raise awareness of women's cycling. Let's hope team boss Rochelle Gilmore has a little word.

Or perhaps what Wiggo meant to say was "If I'd descended like a girl after the crash, I'd have still had a chance of winning." After all, if he really did ride like a girl he might actually have won the Giro, just like Fabiana Luperini won the Giro Donne five times.

The price of forgiveness? An admission that he's been a bit stupid and another few thousand for Wiggle-Honda ought to do the trick, I reckon.

Neben breaks hip and ribs
Current US National Time Trial Champion Amber Neben will be unable to defend her title on the 25th of May after a bad crash at the Tour of California left her with a fractured hip and cracked ribs. The 38-year-old was caught by a strong crosswind on a steep descent, putting her out of her line as she went into a corner. Braking the caused her to skid off the road where she collided with a cliff and hit the ground hard.

"Bummer. This hurts literally and figuratively. I'll recover, though... Believe it or not, there can be positive stuff that comes out of adversity," she told reporters afterwards.

Wanna see a women's cycling documentary?
Would you like to see a documentary film about women's cycling and the issues that surround it? Of course you would - and with a little help from your wallet, Kathryn Bertine can make it happen.

"HALF THE ROAD is a documentary film that explores the world of women’s professional cycling, focusing on both the love of sport and the pressing issues of inequality that modern-day female riders face in a male dominated sport. With footage from some of the world’s best international UCI races to interviews with Olympians, World Champions, rookies, coaches, managers, officials, doctors and family members, HALF THE ROAD offers a unique insight to the drive, dedication, and passion it takes for female cyclists to thrive.  Both on and off the bike, the voices and advocates of women’s pro cycling take their audience on a journey of enlightenment, depth, strength, love, humor and best of all, change & growth."

Any donations, in any currency, are welcomed; donations of $50 or greater will get the donor's name in the film credits.

Other reports
Cycling sexism: BMX bandits steal money from women
"At the 2013 BMX Nationals held in Brisbane last week, female competitors received half the prize money of male riders in the main event..." (Herald Sun, Australia)

Stevens, van Garderen call for equal footing for women’s racing
"The one-day-a-year spotlight the women racers get at the Amgen Tour of California is wonderful. Just not wonderful enough. Not hardly." (VeloNews)

Afghan National Women's Team organiser wins prestigious award
Shannon Galpin, founder of a charity that provides aid to women in war zones and one of the main figures behind the newly-organised Afghanistan Women's Cycling Team, has been awarded the National Geographic Humanitarian of the Year Award. More from the Huffington Post.

Joanna Rowsell to lead out Great Manchester Cycle
"The Olympic gold medal track cyclist will be leading out this year's Great Manchester Cycle on Sunday June 30." (Road.CC)

Ipswich round of Johnson HealthTech GP relocated to Redditch
More from Eastern Daily Times

Mara Abbott finds her way back to road
More from ESPN-W

Raheela Bano wins Pakistan Nationals
More from The News, Lahore

More News
Pendleton hails rising popularity of women's cycling (GiveMeSport)
More Pendlenews (AllMediaScotland)
CTC: 'Why we launched an elite women's race team' (BikeBiz)
Sexism is endemic in cycling. Keep calm ladies and ride on (Daily Telegraph)

Pedal-pushers hail new Woodstock women's bike race (, NY, USA)
Good performance from Cuba in PanAmerican women’s cycling championships (Granma, Cuba)

Photo of the Week
Riders stage a sit-down protest at the Tour Languedoc Roussillon
Tweeted by Lotto-Belisol Ladies

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