Ella Picks: Belizean cyclist threatened for demanding a women’s race; the hour record battle is on; analyzing women’s cycling in the media; and more

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Every week we scan the internet for the interesting stories of women’s cycling that deliver unique insight, inspire or simply make us laugh and round them all up in a weekly news digest.

There was no shortage of content this week with the cyclocross season nearing its end, track season ramping up to its pinnacle event and road season getting its kickstart in the hot and windy Qatari desert. And then, of course, the battle for the UCI Hour Record is on with American Evelyn Stevens announcing she will give it go just weeks after Bridie O’Donnell record breaking ride in Australia. In other news, Stan’s NoTubes got a victory in the American courts; media and the cycling industry still have a long ways to go when it comes to covering women’s cycling; and a Beliziean pro cyclist was threatened with suspension for demanding a women’s race. Read up on all this and much more below.



Belizean cyclist threatened for demanding a women’s race


The Special Envoy for Women and Children of Belize has come to the aid of elite cyclist Kaya Cattouse who decried the Belize Cycling Federation’s decision not to include the female and junior cyclists in their 2nd annual Digicell Valentine’s Tour. The Federation in return threatened the athlete with a suspension.

The special envoys is calling on the Belize Cycling Association as well as all other sporting associations to take deliberate actions to develop women’s sports in Belize. Speaking on behalf of the special envoy, Mrs. Kim Simpliss Barrow released the following statement:

 “Allowing only the male elite cyclists to participate in this annual event, which previously included female riders, highlights the gender inequality that continues to be rampant in sports in Belize. With most sporting disciplines already being male-dominated, it is imperative that we encourage increased female participation rather than exclusion. Female participation in sports at all levels is an issue that warrants national discussion.”

Breaking Belize News has the story.


5 conclusions about women’s cycling in the media

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, London’s Look Mum No Hands! hosted a panel discussion on “How Women’s Cycling is Represented in the Media”. Panelists included cycling bloggers Jools WalkerAdele Mitchell and Laura Laker as well as cycling marketing expert Chris Garrison.

These were their five conclusions:

1. Visibility is still a huge problem

Only 26% of journeys on bikes are made by women in London, so female cyclists are ‘the exception’. As a result, cycling magazines often think women don’t read them, and attendance at cycling events is predominantly male.

2. It’s an intersectional issue

The issue of representation, as well as being gendered, is racialised, too. Black and ethnic minority women are even less represented in the media – cycling still has a reputation as the preserve of white, middle-class, middle-aged men.

3. Some brands are still making inexcusable mistakes

Colnago’s massive faux pasSixSixOne’s knee-pad-gate#Sockgate at Interbike, the Maxxis Babes…the cycling industry continues to take the “sex sells” approach to advertising and it’s getting so old.

4. … But some are doing a great job at representing women

Luckily there are some brands doing it right. Using Sealskinz’ #IAmEndurance video as an example, the panelists agreed that showing how cycling is more than just a sport is a good move.

5. Things will improve!


The hour record battle is on again

Iurreta - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Evelyn Stevens of Boels Dolmans Cycling Team pictured during prologue ITT Time Trial Individual of the Euskal Emakumeen Bira 2015 (2.1) in Iurreta - women - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2015
American Evelyn Stevens will take on the UCI World Hour Record on February 27

Just two weeks after Australian Bridie O’Donnell set a new UCI world hour record, USA Cycling announces that American Evelyn Stevens of the Boels-Dolman team will attempt to break the record. Scheduled for February 27th in Colorado Springs, Stevens will attempt to not only break O’Donnell’s newly set mark of 46.882 kilometres but also the all-time distance record of 48.159 kilometres set by Jeannie Longo in 1996 using the now banned “Superman” position.

This will be the fourth attempt on the women’s world hour record since a modernisation of the rules in 2014. The first to try and beat Leontien Van Moorsel’s 12-year-old mark of 46.065 kilometres was Dame Sarah Storey, who didn’t quite make it but broke the British record and also those of the C5 Paralympic and masters’ categories.  American law professor Shaffer van Houweling then set a new record of 46.274 kilometres in September of 2015. This stood for just four months as O’Donnell’s attempt in Australia added more than 600 metres to Shaffer van Houweling’s mark.

Learn more about Evie Stevens’ attempt.

Stan’s NoTubes wins court battle against Specialized

Stan Koziatek of Stan's NoTubes building a wheel
Stan Koziatek of Stan’s NoTubes building a wheel

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favour of Stan’s NoTubes in a hard-fought battle against Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc, regarding patent infringement.

The matter started back in 2008, when Stan’s NoTubes sued Specialized for releasing a rim with technology patented by Stan’s NoTubes.  A judgment was entered against Specialized in that case in 2015, with Specialized paying compensation to Stan’s NoTubes.

The case was appealed and the Federal Circuit heard arguments from Stan’s NoTubes and Specialized on February 2, 2016. At oral argument, the Federal Circuit panel appeared to credit evidence showing the industry’s rapid adoption of Stan’s ZTR™ rims and praise for their patented features and suggested that this objective evidence helps demonstrate that the claims of the US 7334846 patent were valid.

“We are pleased to have reached a positive conclusion regarding our rim design patent. The court’s decision further strengthens our patent portfolio,” said Stan’s NoTubes co-owners Stan and Cindy Koziatek. “We look forward to continuing the advancement of tubeless wheels for all cycling applications.”



Five fun facts about the newly-cronwed CX World Champion Thalita de Jong
Boels Hills Classic 2015
Last week 22-year-old Thalita de Jong overcame sloppy conditions, a poor start and a 21-seconds gap to be crowned world champion of cyclocross. The young Dutch rider of Rabo-Liv had silently been adding victories and titles to her palmares on the road and in the dirt all year, taking home youth classification jerseys, a European championship medal and even a TTT win in Vargarda. Timing her peak fitness just right toward the end of the cyclocross season, De Jong took home the Dutch national cyclocross title and the world cyclocross champion title within weeks. We expect to be hearing a lot more from De Jong so here are five fun facts to know about the young star.


“In 2010 there was a World Cup race in Hoogerheide. I was working as a volunteer at a crossing station. It was nice to help out and you earned free entry that way. Marianne Vos was racing in the rainbow jersey and my sister and I asked her for a photo. I showed [Vos] the picture when we both raced the world championships in Hoogerheide in 2014. She thought it was very special. After the world championship last weekend, Marianne and I took another photo — this time I had the rainbow jersey.”



Aussies in Belgium
The Australian squad was larger than ever before at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Zolder last month. A good sign that cyclocross is growing in Australia.

Here’s what Aussie U23 rider Stacey Riedel had to say about her experience racing against the best of the best:

Zolder was “the biggest and hardest race I have ever done in my life. I gave it everything I had throughout the entire race with absolutely nothing left at the end. Both happy and proud that I put myself way out of my comfort zone, in completely different conditions and racing with the best in the world. Despite the immense pain I was in throughout the race, I enjoyed most moments (not so much crashing into the barrier on the final lap) and am super motivated and excited for what is to come. Can’t wait to race more and more, gain more experience and get stronger and faster! This is only the beginning! And to leave you with a quote “Dead last is better than did not finish, which trumps did not start.”

And ICYMI: Australian national champ Lisa Jacobs has been blogging about her run into the world championships as she spent the months leading up to the championships in Belgium. Her blogs are well-worth a read.

She also penned this more humorous take on the mechanical doping saga:

Lisa’s Mum on mechanical doping and a whole new level of committing to the rut



“In response, the UCI’s Department for Uniformity of Nations against Corruption Events (DUNCE) has introduced a new mechanical passport, which professional teams will be required to submit as of March 2017. The passport tracks a rider’s technological profile using parameters such as model of iPhone, brand of warm-up headphones and number of Instagram posts per day. Sharp fluctuations in a rider’s technological profile triggers an alert to the UCI that the rider’s predisposition to technological corruption has changed, which in turn prompts investigation by DUNCE.”


Helen Wyman on her CX World Championships

Helen Wyman in the mix. Photo by Anne-Marije Rook
Helen Wyman in the mix. Photo by Anne-Marije Rook

Helen’s blog is always a good read. Here’s what she had to say about the CX World Championships in Zolder.

“As for my worlds, well it was never going to be my world championships; it was too fast and too tactical. These are both things I have worked really hard on but I just didn’t have the legs on the day. I put myself in the right position at the start, but sadly nothing else happened, the legs weren’t there.

…Saturday saw the first ever women’s under 23 cyclocross world championships which in itself is a big deal but for me personally it meant a huge amount as I’d played a role in making it a reality. To put more icing on what was already a very tasty cake, was a win by the British rider Evie Richards. Britain has always been successful in Elite women’s cross and this just shows me that now and the future for GB is covered. I was sat in my camper, watching the race on my iphone, cheering her on. I was covered in goose bumps listening to the British nation anthem play during the presentation. Young riders inspire me as much as elite champions, and Evie, you have one massive future in cyclocross if you choose that path.”


2016 Ladies Tour of Qatar

Echelons form across the road.
Hot, windy desert: a dress rehearsal for what is to come at teh World Championships in Doha.

The peloton’s biggest teams kicked off their 2016 road season in the Qatari desert last week. Relive the race through all four of Chloe’s rider diary’s and through the lens of Balint Hamvas and Sean Robinson of Vélofocus.

Stage 1 – Kirsten Wild takes her tenth stage win in the Ladies Tour of Qatar
Stage 2 – a solo win brings Katrin Garfoot the golden leader’s jersey
Stage 3 – Ellen van Dijk wins the exact same stage she won last year
Stage 4 – Chloe outsprints everyone in the stage; Trixi Worrack wins the GC

Cyclingnews and Procycling partner with the Aviva Women’s Tour to bolster women’s cycling coverage 

Lisa Brennauer takes the yellow jersey in the 2015 Aviva Women's Tour
Lisa Brennauer takes the yellow jersey in the 2015 Aviva Women’s Tour

Cyclingnews and Procycling magazine have agreed a long-term deal to become media partners with the Aviva Women’s Tour with the hopes of bolstering women’s cycling coverage on CyclingNews.


“We know that this partnership will help us increase the visibility of the race and the brands involved even further while fans can look forward to lots of exciting plans that we are developing together,”  said SweetSpot Commerical Director Alastair Grant.


UCI Track Cycling World Championships: more than a century of history

1922 UCI Track Cycling World Championships – Paris, France – 100km behind derny © Bibliothèque nationale de France / Agence Rol
1922 UCI Track Cycling World Championships – Paris, France – 100km behind derny
© Bibliothèque nationale de France / Agence Rol

When the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships kick off in London on March 2nd, it will mark the 124th anniversary of the first edition which was held back in 1893. With breaks from competition during the two World Wars (1915-1919 and 1940-1945) this will be the 113th edition of cycling’s oldest World Championships. Surprisingly, it will be only the second time the Track Worlds are held in London; 112 years after the 1904 edition at Crystal Palace. The UCI released an insightful feature on a century of track cycling history.

Australian National Track Championships
Anna Meares took home three gold medals at the Australian National Track Championships last week, bringing her national medal count up to 35 gold medals.


This week’s photo is brought to you by Sean Robinson of VeloFocus. While we were covering the racing from afar, Robinson was in the Qatrai desert to catch the action at the 2016 Ladies Tour of Qatar.

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