Ella Picks: gender equality in professional cycling, new national champs crowned, Australian summer of racing is heating up, new UCI teams and more

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It’s been a few weeks since the last Ella Picks but now that the festive season has come to an end, it’s back. It’s been a few busy weeks with battles for national titles (in cyclocross and road racing) taking place across the globe. Meanwhile, everyone is prepping for the 2016 road season and we’re slowly but surely seeing the shiny new 2016 kits, gear and team rosters.  Grab a cup of coffee and join us as we catch up on women’s cycling news from around the interwebs.

Let’s talk:


Brian Cookson’s year-end update: ‘the UCI is making tremendous effort in gender equality’

Boels Rental Worldcup women 2015

UCI president Brian Cookson published a two-part end-of-year report, which covered the year’s highlights and progress.  In the report’s  second part, Cookson discussed the development of women’s cycling, praising the creation of the women’s WorldTour, which will increase the number of (UCI) competition days by more than 60%. He also stated the the UCI is making “tremendous effort in gender equality” by equalising overall prize money at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup for both men and women,  establishing a  new Women’s Under-23 category for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, and offering equal prize money for  the Men’s and Women’s  Under-23 category.

What do y’all think? How’s the UCI doing?


Gabby Durrin’s touching goodbye to racing shows that an athlete’s life can be anything but glamorous

Gabby Durrin pictured here at Namur in 2013. Photo courtesy of Cor Vos.
Gabby Durrin pictured here at Namur in 2013. Photo courtesy of Cor Vos.

Last month cyclocross racer Gabby Durrin announced her retirement. In her long-but-definitely-worth-the-read blog post, she talks about her 13-year career, about her ups and downs that ultimately led to depression and losing her passion for cycling.


“The hardest part about retiring is feeling like you are losing your identity. Having been an athlete for so long- ‘this is who I am and is my identity’. So it is scary.
Transitioning out of being a professional athlete is a big thing and is a big life change. Although I am scared and uncertain of the future right now I have to approach it as a chapter ending and a new one starting. New possibilities and adventures. I get to write a new story!
One thing I have really realised is that life is too short to keep doing something that makes you unhappy. We all deserve at least that new chapter.”

Read on


A ten-year saddle quest


Ladies, are you struggling to find the perfect saddle? You are not alone. We’re all in it together. RoseMary Sindt shares her ten-year quest for the perfect saddle on Pretty Damned Fast.


“My quest for the perfect saddle started about ten years ago, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At that time and place, cycling was more about being a punk and sticking it to the man, than it was about logging miles or pushing watts.  In that scene it was hard to justify spending money on anything that wasn’t local, fair trade, or alcohol so when it came to bike parts or accessories they were generally found in a free box on a friend’s front porch.  My vulva could only take so much of this…” Read on


An inside look into cycling’s winter sport

38e Int Super Prestige CycloCross Gieten Elite

As we get closer to the 66th UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships, the UCI shared this handy-dandy look into cycling’s winter sport for those of you not yet familiar with the craziness and muddy fun that is cyclocross.


The eight stages of interval training

Photo by Balint Hamvas

In her latest blog, WiggleHigh5’s Mara Abbott talks about making it through the mental challenges of a necessary evil a.k.a interval training.


“…halfway through the typical trainer interval session is when, historically, I develop a bit of an attitude problem. A whole lot of loathing and hatred gets directed at anyone or thing that wanders within five feet of me – particularly if the hapless individual is so foolish to say something like, “good morning!”


Two new women’s UCI teams were announced since our last internet round-up.  Meet UK-based Drops Cycling and the US-based Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team.

Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team

Hagens Berman _ Supermint Pro Cycling Team Jersey

Hagens Berman, a Seattle-based law firm, has been a big supporter of cycling for many years sponsoring local developmental teams as well as the former Jamis-Hagens Berman pro team and the Hagens Berman U-23 Cycling Program. Now they’re stepping into professional women’s cycling as well, partnering with Supermint Racing LLC to form a new American UCI women’s team.

Owned by American racer Lindsay Bayer and former Vanderkitten and BMW-Happy Tooth Sports Director Jono Coulter, Supermint Racing brings together experienced professionals and promising new riders.

The 2016 roster consists of Americans Megan Alderete, Lindsay Bayer, Julie Kuliecza, Liza Rachetto,  Allison Linnell, Ivy Audrain and Scotti Lechuga; Italians Daniela Allietta, Martha Basei and Alessandra Lari; Canadian  Shoshauna Routley; Swiss Jessica Uebelhart and Russian Elena Utrobina.

Learn more
Drops Cycling:

Drops Cycling's team bike
Drops Cycling’s team bike

Drops Cycling Team has been granted a UCI Women’s Team racing licence for 2016, becoming one of only two UK-based UCI licensed teams.

The team, focused on offering a riders a ‘realistic pathway to professional racing,’ features an all-British roster including Karla Boddy, Ellie Dickinson, Lucy Shaw, Rose Osborne, Jen George, Sophie Coleman, Becky Womersley, Abi van Twisk, Rebecca Durrell, Laura Massey, Hannah Payon and Laura Cameron.

Learn more



WiggleHonda is now WiggleHigh5 and has a new world ranking: No. 1


Scandolara Bay Crits 2016 Stage 3 Portarlington

Just before she won Stage 3 of the Bay Crits, Sarah Connelly interviewed Italian star rider Valentina Scandolara about her Australian adventures, setting up her own Aussie team, escaping in the 2015 Road Worlds, and what she’s hoping for from 2016, including with her new team, Cylance Procycling.  You can listen to that interview here.



Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) won her 12th consecutive national cyclocross title, a tight battle against Luna's Georgia Gould. Photo: Wil Matthews
Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) won her 12th consecutive national cyclocross title, a tight battle against Luna’s Georgia Gould. Photo: Wil Matthews

Chapeau to the new national champions:

  • Katie Compton, USA – 12th consecutive title

Katie Compton overcame the most difficult off-season of her career to win a twelfth straight national cyclocross championship Sunday in Asheville, North Carolina — but it was her hardest-fought title yet, battling against Georgia Gould well into the last lap. Kaitlin Antonneau wn the battle for third. Read on.

Already the European champion, Sanne Cant was a favourite in the Belgian national championships as well. Racing in her hometown of Lille, Cant had enough time to walk across the finish line lifting her Stevens bike ahead of rival Ellen Van Loy and Loes Sels.

  • Thalita de Jong, the Netherlands – 1st title

The Dutch national cyclocross jersey remains within the Rabo-liv team. Marianne Vos has been the national champion for the past five years and now it’s her teammate Thalita de Jong who gets to wear the red-white-and-blue of the Netherlands. Sabrina Sultiens took second,   Maud Kaptheijns third.

  • Caroline Mani, France  3rd title

Caroline Mani has been enjoying a very successful season in the US and has been getting better as the season went on, even climbing onto a World Cup podium in Namur in December.  Coming into perhaps her best shape yet, Mani grabbed her third blue-white- red jersey of France by beating Laure Bouteloup and Marlene Morel- Petitgirard on Sunday. She had previously won the national title in 2010 and 2011.

  • Eva Lechner, Italy -6th title

Her Italian compatriots offered little compition as Eva Lechner gapped the field early on never to be seen again. Mary Alice Arzuffi came in second, Anna Oberparleiter third.


It’s heating up in the land down under. As temperatures rise, so does the level of racing. Ella CyclingTips was on the ground for the Bay Crits and Australian National Road Championships, catch up on all the racing with our coverage:

2016 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships:

Women's National RR- 2617

2016 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic:

 baycrits final



This week’s feature image is a throwback from our roadtrip to Cairns 

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