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  • Delly

    I see the thing for the cool kids to do is diss this Tour. I get that – if everyone else is saying it’s great, you wannabe different, right? Yeah, the breaks were caught in 500m, 100m, 200m etc – obviously “too easy”. But that’s bike racing, sometimes they’re caught, other times they’re not – was Elsy Jacobs harder because the breaks got to the line just 3 and 6 seconds ahead?

    I dunno, you’ll get the clicks you’re after, and that’s great, congratulations, but this article seems churlish. All the riders, bar Emma, who is disappointed she didn’t win, are saying it’s great competition. But CT? Well…

    (Also, did Guy piss you off? That dig about Emma not listening to him? So High School….)

    • Jessi Braverman

      This isn’t about trying to be different, and I’m not in any way trying ‘to diss’ this race. I’ve repeatedly expressed admiration for the Women’s Tour. I’ve been on-site for both editions of the race, and it’s hands-down my favorite race of the year. I absolutely love it – evidenced by my ode to the Tour the night before the race began: https://cyclingtips.com.au/2015/06/we-love-everything-about-the-aviva-womens-tour-and-you-will-too/

      I can love the race and still see one area of improvement – and as I wrote in this piece, if that one area is improved, the Aviva Women’s Tour, which already sets the standards, will set an even higher bar for other races to strive to meet.

      I have nothing but respect for Guy Elliott, Sweet Spot and those involved in the Aviva Women’s Tour – and I absolutely cannot wait to see what he and the rest of his team come up with for year three.

      Oh – and re. the comment about Emma not listening – he was speaking to a group at that point. Realize without that context, it does sound odd. Revising now.

    • Zinoviev Letter

      There’s something quite amusing about a writer being accused of having it in for a race, just a few days after she published an article all about how wonderful and important that race is.

      This piece is spot on, by the way. The Women’s Tour is a brilliantly organised race, head and shoulders above most allegedly top tier races on the women’s circuit. It also has so far had a parcours that’s too easy. You can criticise the latter without dismissing the former.

  • David

    Emma might be talking a little bit through self interest here, but I must agree with her in terms of the parcourse itself. You want a stage race that has variety that gives opportunities for sprinters, punchers, opportunists, time-trialiers and climbers. Otherwise, you are catering to at most a dozen riders in the peloton. The level of crowd support for this race makes it an obvious candidate to become a womens grand tour and perhaps make it a bigger race than the Giro-Rosa. The biggest area for potential growth in the sport is through womens racing, so we need to create the opportunities for all different types of rider to shine, in the most well publicised event.

  • ML

    From my seat (much farther away from the race than Jessi, via ITV recaps only) I thought the teams were just approaching the races differently, chasing breaks more than usual because of slim margins. I think riders make the race as much as the course does and the racing must have been pretty hard to drop 2/3 of the peloton in stage 4, right? Between that, the many many GC shakeups, and the unexpected podium faces (not the biggest pure sprinters winning – maybe the craftiest, who can find good position in narrow, twisting finales), I thought it was a great week of racing that offered different opportunities than the World Cups and Giro. That said, a punchier, hillier day wouldn’t go amiss I’m sure.

    • Jessi Braverman

      Thanks for the feedback. Worth noting – I just spoke to Emma on the phone. She said: “It’s not the racing was easy so much that it was all the same and all very predictable.” She also said exactly what you said: “The riders make the race more than the course” but added that harder courses don’t allow the same amount of control we saw from certain teams throughout this race. Perhaps “too easy” wasn’t the write way to phrase the question in the headline. I think: “Does the Aviva Women’s Tour lack variety?” would have probably more appropriately captured Emma’s sentiment (and mine)

  • Stephen Fry

    Worth a bit of context here. The Aviva Women’s Tour is the success that is because lots of stakeholders (sponsors and local authorities) took a leap of faith with the organisers SweetSpot in year 1 that this race would become one of the biggest in the World within 3 years. Before the first edition last year nobody knew whether that was realistic or not and these stakeholders invested a lot of money on that premise. The local authorities in the East of England have totally embraced this race and it was right they had the chance to have the race back in their region in 2015 having been so supportive in 2014. Unfortunately the East of England is flat and therefore it’s difficult to get into hillier country without adding in huge stage transfers which the teams don’t want. We all want to see great racing, and we’d all love the racing to be varied, but it’s not just as simple as saying “let’s go to Yorkshire next year because the roads are great for racing” because it requires the support of the local authorities where you want to race to also invest in it. I’m sure next year we will see the race evolve further, with 2 strong editions now under it’s belt it should be easier to ‘sell’ to other regions of the country and therefore we get more varied racing, but it’s never a guarantee.

    • Jessi Braverman

      This context is fantastic, and I should have included it – because you’re completely correct. Thanks for piping up and adding this in!

  • Adi

    I’m doing the Maratona dles Dolomites in a fortnight, and it seems very peculiar that the hundreds of women doing that event will be riding a tougher course than any race the professional women have to encounter. That can’t be right, can it?

    • I always wonder about that as well. I love watching women’s cycling – it is one of the few women’s sports I watch. But where are the summit finishes? Even races that have a men’s and women’s race make the women’s version much shorter (sometimes just half the length) and somewhat easier (removing climbs/cobbles). Because of this, it seems most women’s races tend to end in a bunch finish, making the dynamics of racing very different to that of men’s cycling.
      It’s a shame women’s cycling doesn’t get more TV coverage, but currently women’s cycling is perfect for simple highlight packages because the racing is more predictable. Could a tougher parcours make women’s cycling more suited and more interesting for TV?

      • Dave

        Spot on – the proportion of women’s races ending in bunch kicks is way too high.

        I like watching women’s cycling, but I’d love to see some more of their races other than the annual world championship road race (always contested on the same circuit as the men) become a bit more selective.

  • Nic Lowe

    This race is in it’s second edition. It will get harder. It will get longer. Emma Johannson may think the race is too easy but there are plenty of others who think the balance is about right…for now. To have this event grow too fast would risk the future of it. I would ask Emma for patience.

    • Dave

      I think Emma J was probably expecting the UCI race classification of 2.1 to indicate it would be a genuinely elite race with a bit of meat to it, not a flat sprintfest.

      This race should probably have been classified as 2.2 – no stage race deserves a 2.1 rating (the highest rating in women’s cycling events) if it doesn’t have any real climbs (Melissa Hoskins won the climber’s jersey!) and no time trial either. It would appear that the UCI was a little too hasty in promoting an ‘expansion’ race to consider it on its merits, if it were in France or Belgium it would probably have started as a 2.2 event for at least 2-3 years before getting upgraded once it had matured and shown a good track record.

  • Derek Maher

    Nothing wrong with constructive suggestions Jessi,Stephen Fry was on the ball as well.One can understand Emma being a bit depressed after a great Tour and getting what she thinks so little for her efforts.The bonus seconds at the line were a handicap for a rider who lacked a good leadout from her team ?.However any rider like Emma who finishes her stages at the sharp end day after day will not go unnoticed where it matters.
    On another note I suspect the UCI will shortly sanction longer races for the women which would certainly help Race promoters in laying out tougher stage and 1 day events and bring womens racing to a new level.


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