Saturday 5 October 2013

Women's Cycling News 06-13.10.2013

Giro Toscana organisation makes official complaint - Tendring council wants Women's Tour, Northamptonshire gets Stage 1 - Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon 2014 - 2014 GB Nats for Abergavenny - Women's cycling supporter Karen Bliss takes top US Cycling role - Transfers and Team News: New Rytger team, Pasta Zara leaves cycling, Van Dijk leaving Lululemon and more - Shorts and Interesting Links - more to come...

Giro Toscana organisation makes official complaint
The organisers of the Giro Toscana have made an official complaint to Italian Cycling Federation (ACCPI) prosecutors regarding Italian riders who took part in a recent protest at the race. Several Italians, including ex-World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, Noemi Cantele and Elisa Longo Borghini, were among the majority of riders taking part in the event who decided not to contest the final stage in protest at the poor safety conditions they'd experienced in the race - a rolling roadblock was provided only for the lead group, leaving any riders not in that group racing in open traffic.

In a press release, the organisers said:

"The organisation is able to prove that a required level of safety -  as stated by Dr Rita Paladino, commander of Traffic Police - was provided. As to whether the alleged problems are a matter of pure invention, we point to the findings of the UCI (which found no problems) and to the managers of the Cycling Federation (no problems reported). The race continued between those riders that remained without any problems and with a large deployment of security and officials along the parcours. The organising company, Michela Fanini ROX, believes that the reckless actions of certain riders has brought a huge amount of damage to its reputation and on an economic level. At this point, the Federal Prosecutors' Office has a duty to investigate and punish the riders responsible for the protest."

The ACCPI has not yet responded to the complaint, but had previously indicated that it fully supported the protest.

Local council wants Women's Tour
One of the problems faced by women's cycling, as we all know, is that you don't get districts clamouring for the privilege of hosting stages like you do in men's races. The reason is that a women's race just doesn't bring in the benefits of a men's race.

Tendring, within Essex
Just like many of the other problems associated with the sport - women are too scared of crashing, women only race until they're in the mid-20s then leave to have babies, women aren't as aggressive and so their races are boring - it's not actually true. A town council only has to scratch the surface and it'll find that hosting a women's race (provided it's advertised and billed as a good, fun and above all cheap day out for the family) is actually a guaranteed way to bring in visitors and their wallets, which is why Tendring in Essex has spent the last few months negotiating with SweetSpot, organisers of the (men's) Tour of Britain, to bring a stage of its new race The Women's Tour to the town in May 2014.

"Staging part of this race will bring many thousands of people into Tendring out of the main holiday season and will be great for the local economy," Tendring's council member for tourism Alan Goggin told the East Anglian Daily Times newspaper. "I am really looking forward to a positive outcome to our bid and we have worked hard to get the event to the District. It will be the first Women’s Tour of Britain and the race is attracting a great deal of interest around the world and from media companies wanting to cover the event. I am proud to say that it could bring international coverage to Tendring, promoting sport, fitness and health and well-being right across the region, as well as showcasing all the very best of the District and the many features and attractions on offer."

SweetSpot, who are not permitted to call the race the Women's Tour of Britain as the name Tour of Britain is owned by British Cycling, has put an enormous amount of time and effort into the event and promises that prizes on offer will be equal to those at the men's Tour. Tendring's interest in hosting a stage is more proof that, if it's promoted properly, women's cycling can and will grow.

A stage in Tendring would be flat, with the highest point in the district just 35m above sea level. However, with numerous historic towns and villages and picturesque salt marshes in the area, it would be a fine backdrop to the race.

Northamptonshire gets Stage 1
Meanwhile, Northamptonshire County Council is delighted that the first stage will take place in the county.

"This is fantastic news for Northamptonshire and I am very pleased we will be hosting the first stage of this prestigious event," county councillor Heather Smith told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "Not only will The Women’s Tour bring significant economic benefits to the county, it is also a real opportunity to promote cycling and women’s sport locally. We want to use this event to encourage everyone in Northamptonshire, and in particular the county’s young people, to get cycling and improve their health and wellbeing."

Details of the stage route have not yet been announced, but race organisers SweetSpot have revealed that the finish will be in Northampton itself.

"The Women’s Tour promises to become an exciting fixture in the sporting calendar for years to come, so I am delighted Northampton will host part of this historic first stage," said Northampton borough council leader David Mackintosh. "Last year many of us were glued to our televisions watching all of the action in the Olympic Velodrome and road races at London 2012. I am sure the world’s best female cyclists will get a good reception as they race through our historic streets next year."

Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon 2014
The Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon was notably absent from the UCI Elite Women's Calendar published last week, which came as no real surprise after the difficulties of the last couple of years, but according to Gwena (whom you really should be following; she's the expert on women's cycling in France) organisers plan to hold the race in 2014.

"L'édition 2014 de l'épreuve n'est pas encore "visible" sur le calendrier UCI mais cela est simplement dû au fait que les organisateurs sont encore en attente de certaines subventions pour boucler l'édition 2013. En mai, la candidature 2014 a été déposée en catégorie 2.2 pour des dates allant du vendredi 23 au mercredi 28 mai 2014 soit juste avant le Grand Prix de Plumelec," she explains - "The 2014 edition is not yet visible on the UCI calendar, but this is simply because the organisers are still waiting for some grants to complete the 2013 edition. They have filed their application for a 2.2 event between the 23rd and 28th of May in 2014, just before the Grand Prix de Plumelec."

The race, if it goes ahead, looks like it might have a website for 2014 too - the lack of one, which has made it difficult for fans to follow the race, has been criticised in the past.

2014 GB Nats for Wales
The 2014 British National Championships will be held at Abergavenny in Wales from the 26th to the 29th of June, British Cycling has revealed. The town, which is 10km from the English border and is thus crucially easy to reach by road from the rest of Britain, also hosted the Championships in 2007 and 2009, when Nicole Cooke won (as she also did in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008). The parcours has not yet been made public; however, with two mountains (Blorens and Y Fâl) and seven big hills overlooking the town, it's likely to be a hilly route.

Bliss for women at US Cycling's Road Committee
Four-time National Points Race Champion, three-time National Criterium Champion and three-time Tour de Somerville winner Karen Bliss has been given a position as industry representative on US Cycling's Road Race Committee, a role she will hold for three years.

Bliss, who remained involved in cycling following her retirement from professional competition, is vice marketing president at Advanced Sports International, the company that owns - among others - the Kestrel, Fuji and Breezer bike brands, making her one of the most powerful figures in the bicycle manufacturing industry - and she's a passionate supporter of women's cycling.

"I look forward to working with committee members, the board and staff of USA Cycling to help grow the sport of cycling across the country," she says. "I am particularly focused on growing membership through investing in women’s cycling. There are extremely talented, passionate women racing — I want to see them afforded the same opportunities as those in the pro men’s ranks."

Transfers and Team News
Transfers at a glance
Rytger, a Danish team that picked up an impressive forty race wins in 2013, earns UCI status for the new season. Hanna Helamb (previously with Cramo-Go:Green, who lose their UCI status; it's not yet known where the team's other members will go) and Julie Valgren Andersen are confirmed to be joining the team for 2014. Christina Malling Siggaard (previously Restore Cycling) and Anna Pålsson remain on the squad and will be joined by Kamilla-Sofie Valli, Hanna Helamb , Amalie Winther Olson and the junior Julie Valgren Andersen.

Pasta Zara, the Italian food company that has been involved in women's cycling for several years and sponsors a men's amateur team in addition to Pasta Zara-Cogeas, is ending its association with the sport according to reports. There is no mention of this on the websites belonging to the team or the company, but the team hasn't had a great year and it's rumoured that the riders haven't been properly paid for some time

The biggest story concerning transfers this week was the that Ellen van Dijk is leaving Specialized-Lululemon. Van Dijk, considered one of the best time trial specialists in the world, has been with the team for the last two years and prior to that rode for HTC-Highroad, the team that was taken over by new management to form Specialized-Lululemon. In a press conference on the 7th of October, she revealed that she had signed a three-year contract with Boels-Dolmans and hinted that the support the team would offer her going towards the 2016 Olympics was a deciding factor. Nina Kessler, Emma Trott, Jessie Daams, Lizzie Armitstead, Romy Kasper and Marieke van Wanroij are confirmed as having taken up extended contracts with Boels; Katarzyna Pawlokska, who won the Tour en Limousin this year for GSD Gestion-Kallisto, Megan Guarnier, previously with Rabobank, and 17-year-old Nicky Zijlaard (the niece of Leontien van Moorsel) will join the team. It's not know whether Pauliena Rooijakkers will remain.
Ellen van Dijk ‏@ellenvdijk
Tomorrow at 4 pm there will be a press conference about my future and route to Rio 2016. Exciting!
Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the "differing opinions" between herself and the team's manager over whether or not she should have continued in the Giro Toscana (he referred to her decision to do so as "unacceptable"), Rossella Ratto is leaving Hitec Products-UCK. The Italian will ride for Faren-Kuota in 2014. Meanwhile, in addition to Ashleigh Moolman and Lauren Kitchen (as reported some weeks ago,) Hitec will be taking on 2013 Tour de Bretagne winner Audrey Cordon (who has been with Vienne Futuroscope since 2008) and Sara Olsson.

Christine Majerus, previously with Sengers (see below); winner of Stage 2 at the Junior Energiewacht Tour Demi de Jong and Janneke Ensing, who was previously with Ronald McDonald Huis-Groningen Wielerploeg. Rabobank will also lose Liesbet de Vocht, who is going to Lotto-Belisol - the same team with which she began her professional career in 2006. Sara Verhaest and Lieselot Decroix are also joining, and the team is retaining Sabrina Stultiens, Iris Slappendel, Roxane Knetemann, Thalita de Jong, Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Lucinda Brand, Annemiek van Vleuten and of course Marianne Vos; it is not known if Rebecca Talen will remain with the squad.

Tibco are taking on four relatively unknown riders: Anika Todd (silver medallist in the Canadian National ITT Championships this year), Lauren Stephens (previously FCS), Scotti Wilborne and Kristabel Doebel-Hickok. They will join Samantha Schneider, Jasmin Glaesser, Amanda Miller, Claudia Haussler and Shelley Olds.

Sengers, sadly, are closing down at the end of the season; Anna van der Breggen was revealed some time ago to be going to Rabobank while Maaike Polspoel is going to Argos-Shimano, Sofie de Vuyst to and Geerike Schreurs to the People's Trust Cycling Team. The remaining riders are yet to reveal their new teams. In addition to de Vuyst, are taking on 18-year-old Evy Kuijpers and 19-year-old Kirsten Coppens (previously Dura-Vermeer). Laura van der Kamp is leaving to go to the People's Trust team. Argos-Shimano are losing Esra Tromp and Willeke Knol, both of whom have had a quiet season this year. Futurumshop are keeping Anouska Helena Koster, Mascha Pijnenborg, Janine van der Meer, Latoya Brulee, Karen Elzing and the two Annelieses, van Doorslaer and Dom.

Finally for this week, Elise Delzenne, who rode in 2013 with Bourgogne-ProDialog and won the French National Road Race Championships, is moving up into the Elite ranks with Specialized-Lululemon.

(With thanks to Cycling Fever for their excellent transfers table)

Shorts and Interesting Links
Recommended: The Women's UCI Road Calendar - How 2014 and 2013 Compare (Sarah Connolly at Podium Cafe)
Recommended: The gaping hole left by Amy Dombroski (Dan Seaton for VeloNews)
Trying to find cycling clothing as a curvy girl (prowomenscycling)
How Britain's trio of track cycling women inspired a generation (Daily Telegraph)
Lithuania's female youth shine on the road (Lithuania Tribune)
Seven out of seven for Momentum Toyota (SuperSport)
Dr Hutch: A Women's Tour de France (Cycling Weekly)
2014 Women's Gear Preview (Bicycling)
Indian women shine at ACC Track Asia (Indian Express)
Egypt: Women's Initiative Launches "We Will Ride Bicycles" Campaign (AllAfrica)
Women's GP back in Bendigo (Bendigo Advertiser)

Dani King ‏@DaniKing1Bloody good job it was my helmet to hit the road not my head! People walking across the road need to look where there going!


  1. Just a few comments to the Team Rytger information:
    Hannah Helamb and Julie Valgren are confirmed as new signings for 2014
    Christina Siggaard and Amalie Winther Olsen will leave the team after 2013
    Anna Pålsson and Kamilla Sofie Vallin unkown if they will stay with the team in 2014

  2. Can I ask your source? What you say seems correct now I've had a proper look at the Rytger website, but Cycling Fever is usually accurate. Thanks for the info.