Ella Picks: winter riding tips; Baseball legend to support junior cyclists; transgender athlete barred from men’s race; and more

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In this week’s internet roundup, we applaud Barry Bonds for providing a scholarship for junior female cyclists. We also want you to get to know 20-time Italian national champion, Eva Lechner.  And, as always, we catch up on the latest race and sponsor news and team signings. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Let’s talk:

Racing fulltime or racing while holding down a job — life is about choices, says Helen Wyman

Helen Wyman CORVOS_00022631-127

Racing while holding down a job: this is a hot topic in the Belgian cross scene at the moment and one the press has taken note of, too.

British champ Helen Wyman, who is fortunate enough to be a fulltime cyclist, was asked to comment on the fact that fulltime riders race alongside those who have other jobs. in addition to providing comments to the Belgian TV, Wyman blogged about it here, revealing some of her own experiences of having been both.

Best lines:

“We shouldn’t judge riders on what they consider their occupation to be, only on their performance and results in the races they choose to ride. This was my choice, this is their choice; on that start line we are all equal….we all make choices and we all have risks to face in making those choices. It may not be easy but it’s still a choice. The first choice I guess is to be on the start line. There is little value in being on a start line and bemoaning the fact you have a job, it’s an individuals choice to be there.”

“When I say I have respect for the riders with jobs other than cross, I do, I’ve been there. But I also have massive respect for those people who have taken those risks and dedicated themselves entirely to chasing their cross dreams.”

Transgender athlete barred from men’s race at the US National Championships

Molly Cameron pictured here at CrossVegas (with Ella editor Anne-Marije Rook) where Cameron won the men's industry race.
Molly Cameron pictured here at CrossVegas (with Ella editor Anne-Marije Rook) where Cameron won the men’s industry race.

When trying to register for the US National Cyclocross Championships, Portland’s Molly Cameron was told that she would not able to partake in the men’s race despite having raced in this category for most of her career.

Cameron, an Elite racer who identifies as female but races in a men’s category, was told by USA Cycling that she must race as the sex shown on her driving licence, which is female.

Cameron has been racing in the men’s category since the 1990’s after she was kicked out of the women’s category.

An impressive athlete no matter what category she races in, the men’s category proved to be the best competition for her, placing second in the men’s 30-39 category at cross nationals in 2013. But when she went to register for this year’s event, she was denied.

“We understand that this is a complicated issue and the application of our existing gender rules in this case may not be what was intended,” USA Cycling told Bike Portland.

Cameron told Ella CyclingTips that the issue as been resolved and she will be racing in the men’s category next month. She is also meeting with USA Cycling next week to discuss a policy change so that this will not happen again to her or other transgender athletes.

Read more.


Winter riding tips with Bigla’s Joëlle Numainville

Joelle Numainville

Pro cyclist Joëlle Numainville lives in Canada and knows about cold weather. Here are her  top tips for getting through winter training:

  1. When it’s really cold, it’s good to run to keep the fitness up. I like adding running to my regime.
  2. Always double everything. Double shoe covers, gloves etc.
  3. Have a goal/race for after winter to work towards.
  4. If you can mix up your training and do some cyclo cross. That will keep the motivation up.
  5. Put tea in your bottles, instead of water.


Eva Lechner

Namur - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Lechner Eva pictured during worldcup cyclossrace in Namur Belgium for women elite - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2014
Photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2014

Competing in cyclo-cross, mountain bike and road cycling, Italian Eva Lechner is an athlete with an impressive palmares and one worth following this upcoming, Olympic year.

Her successes include 20 (!) National Champion titles in mountain bike, cyclo-cross and road, 4 UCI World Cup victories (3 mountain bike, 1 cyclo-cross), a bronze medal at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, a silver medal at the 2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, U23 European Champion title.

Currently competing in a full cyclocross season, Lechner sits second in the provisional overall ranking of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup. The UCI invites you too get to know her a little better in their iLike interview.


Rabo-Liv’s Lucinda Brand’s tips to survive winter (in Dutch).



Champion System  to sponsor Wiggle-Honda in 2016, promises to develop innovative women’s specific clothing

Wiggle Honda

Champion System announced that they will be the official race and casual apparel partner of the Wiggle Honda Women’s Professional Cycling Team till 2018.

Champion System will supply the team with their full race clothing requirements, utilising their premium women’s specific cycling range. Sister brand, Ligne 8 will supply after race clothing providing a premium, stylish fashion brand, for the first time.

“Wiggle Honda are the epitome of women’s cycling and represent the dedication and drive needed to dominate the sport. Champion System will work closely with the team to continue to develop innovative, women’s specific clothing for cycling,” says Champion System Director of Operations and International Sales Chris Reynolds.

The Wiggle Honda replica clothing will be available from Wiggle.com.


Baseball’s Barry Bonds steps up to the plate to fund women’s cycling development

2015 Team and JuniorsBaseball legend Barry Bonds , TWENTY16 General Manager Nicola Cranmer and Team Director Mari Holden have co-founded the “Race to Education” program to offer scholarships to female junior cyclists.

The TWENTY16 high performance team is already a platform for junior women to find their way into professional cycling, now there is a program to fund them as well.

The Race to Education Scholarship provides direct financial assistance to junior athletes while highlighting the importance of academic priorities.

“The pathway to professional racing [for women] is very different from junior men. Female endurance athletes develop much later than their male counterparts and many do not fully commit to cycling until they have graduated college,” says Cranmer. “Over the past 10 years, we’ve been able to successfully develop junior athletes and connect them with colleges, but we recognize that some of our athletes need financial assistance.  By providing our athletes with the ability to pursue their education, we are equipping them for their futures far beyond the world of cycling.”

After retiring from baseball, Bonds has become an avid cyclist and is very passionate about the sport.

“His vision for our Race to Education program has sparked new inspiration for our pro cycling team,” said Cranmer.

Scholarships are awarded to full-time high school students or first year college students. Our selection committee will be awarding scholarships to qualifying applicants to supplement their college tuition while continuing to pursue cycling. Having excellent academic grades, leadership qualities, community involvement as well as solid racing results and teamwork will determine eligibility of the TWENTY16 junior applicant. Scholarships are currently limited to members of TWENTY16 presented by Sho-Air.


This week’s feature image was taken at Sunday’s Shimano Supercrit in Melbourne, Australia, in which Italian Scandolara — winner of the 2015 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under — upstaged the pre-race favourites Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda) and Chloe McConville (Orica-AIS) in the sprint. 

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