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  • winkybiker

    The club rider vs pro rider attitude is interesting. Many older club riders are far more experienced than young pros. A physiological (or circumstantial) advantage that gets you onto the pro scene and, with pro-level training makes you fast, doesn’t necessarily make you a good bike handler. Annemiek van Vleuten ran off the road in the Olympics due to taking an appalling line into that corner. A clear sign of inexperience and poor skills, in spite of her being a “pro”.

    • Mark

      At the same time, Pro riders would be expected to be at a higher level, So maybe when they are taking it easy in the bunch some of the club riders are on their limit causing their normally good bike handling skills to be severely limited and thus cause crashes?

      Just a thought.

      • winkybiker

        It’s a good thought, and bike handling definitely suffers as one approaches exhaustion.

        I still have issues with the SP’s “it’s about time” attitude. Due to the lack of coverage and general interest in women’s races, taking a position that would result in reduced support for women’s racing (due to lower participation rates and field sizes) is arguably counter-productive. Instead of bemoaning how bad the current top-end of the sport is, a more productive attitude would be to consider how to promote increases in the sport at club level; And not just $h!+-can the weekend warriors (who buy the gear that pays the wages of the select few).

    • Marc

      Dream on. Try ride in a bunch elbow to elbow with 200 other guys. For 200+ km. Continuously fighting for position. No comparison there. When it comes to bike handling skills in a big pro bunch, club races don’t teach you a single thing.

      • winkybiker

        I don’t disagree. But everyone starts somewhere. Who pays you does not automatically nor initially correlate with skill. But the point really is that without the club riders, there wouldn’t be bunches of 200 riders in many women’s races. If there are 200 worthy Pros available and willing to race, then this wouldn’t be an issue. The SP needs to get over herself on this one. Or drop the amateurs on the first hill.

        • Marc

          Agree, they do need the club riders to get a decent size bunch.

      • Alex

        I’ve been on 100+ person club rides where we elbow each other for position and dodge traffic. You can get this experience in other places besides a pro race.

        • Marc

          Watch the Tour de France this year and play close attention to helicopter shots. See how close they ride to each other. Lots of times not a single gap anywhere. Then compare this to your club rides. I know we all wanna be pro, all have a precious ego, but I mean, come on! Like campirecord stated as well: top riders from non-European countries struggle big time the first time they come to Europe for pro races. While they’re strong enough, they lack bike handling skills.

        • campirecord

          Sorry… no… you are dodging cars, feed and mechanics in the ride. You are hitting 80km/hr 4 wide on a 10 feet large road. Look, even for a North American podium NorAm winner, its a challenge to be in europe were they can fir 1 sometime 2 riders per similar surface… So I hate to say this but NO.

          • Alex

            Sure, us amateurs don’t have the exact same experience as the world tour guys. But you are completely missing the point. In this article the author says that amateurs are a danger to everyone else and making a sweeping generalization about handling skills and assuming pros are always better. I’ve been on a ride where a person who rides for a UCI women’s team crashed on an UPHILL and took herself out. Just because someone is pro doesn’t automatically give them godlike handling skills where everyone else is a danger too. As another commenter on this article pointed out van Vleuten’s crash was completely her fault. She took an awful line into the corner then freaked out and grabbed way too much brake. Just because you can go fast doesn’t mean your handling skills are a notch better than everyone else’s.

            • campirecord

              I understand but I’ll place my bet on PRO if I have to suck a wheel and calculate the odds that bike handling skills are going to be better. Could be some exceptions of course.

    • Nibali and Geraint Thomas both crashed on that same descent, does that make them inexperience and have poor skills?

      • campirecord

        Ask any junior senior north american rider about their first euro race and you will see their eyes flash. There is simply no comparison. Take most NorAm podium winner and take them to Belgium, they barely survive… sorry but pro peloton experience is when the US national team started to really kick but… its a fact. There is a reason why they live there half the year.

      • winkybiker

        Certainly not. Ride close to the limit often enough and eventually you’ll find it. But I’ll bet they didn’t take such a poor line into that corner.

  • winkybiker

    She’d be annoyed because another rider was ecstatic at their own result? Way to stay classy SP.

    • Will

      No, that’s not what she says. SP would be annoyed if someone asked her where she came when SP says that her team won today.

      • Winky

        She’s annoyed about many things so it’s easy to lose track, but this is the bit to which I was referring,

        “If I was Coryn Rivera I would be a bit annoyed that the photos of my first WorldTour win and biggest win to date had another girl saluting next to me.”

  • Sean

    I find the discussion about club riders a bit contradictory. She laments that “unfortunately it’s where women’s cycling is at currently” as she is saying that she wants to exclude women from racing unless they’re pros. This doesn’t seem like the kind of attitude needed to grow the sport. Races like Tour of the Gila going on right now allow club riders to race in the same field as Pro Continental teams and have been great opportunities for developing riders to get noticed by these teams. Then the Pro Conti teams get invites to the WT races and get noticed. You need a clear path for riders to be able to make their way up to the WT pro ranks and see what it’s like up close.

  • dG

    Although the takes from the belly of the pro peloton are indeed interesting, I find those missives boring to read. I understand pros are busy and often too tired to think straight, but come on. Seems to me there’s a lot of “hmmm… what else to say…hmmm…” thus making it as close to boring as it gets. Most of what she says is already known, and a keen editor could massage the text a bit to make it more appealing. Am not tooling on the ladies – same holds true for the male version. Maybe actually *paying* them to write once a month would be a start? More practice meaning more chances to get it right? How about having a mechanic or soigneur (or chef or DS) write a column? That’d be something that could offer a different point of view, adding novelty and freshness to the sport we love. Because we wait a quarter for these essays, and when they come, it feels like they’re just punching the card. I feel cheated as a reader and fan of the sport. Yes, of course I want more. Or maybe they’re just too young and can’t express themselves properly? or is it that English is not their first language? If I were a pro I’d try to be as accessible as possible. Sorry for the rant; I think there are far more interesting riders out there that could offer a more colorful view of their lives. Point is, the readers are already here; now offer them something tastier to chew on.

    • David9482

      If it’s so boring, why did you read it?

      • Bex

        you get that to know if the article’s boring you have to read it first right? i don’t think it’s boring (the opposite actually) but i do think the articles are fairly infrequent and having them written more regularly we’d get more insights into the pro peloton. When they’re written so far apart, i’m guessing whoever’s writing the article waits until they’re due for another piece and forgets about all the little tit bits they heard/experienced during the week/months racing. I’m really writing this about the male secret pro because i feel like we’ve seen twice (if not more) as much shecret pro as the secret pro.

        • dG

          Exactly my point. Plus other folks who make the pro peloton interesting and possible: cooks, mechanics, drivers, etc. More folks writing, more variety, more dimensions and perspectives. More importantly, more frequent articles.

        • H.E. Pennypacker

          I suspect Secret Pro may have slowed down a bit because a few insistent jackasses were getting too close to figuring him/them out. Needed a cooling off period.

  • takethattakethat

    Where is the Orginal Secret Pro Articles… that is what people actually want to read

    • DaveRides

      Behind the paywall, just like AFL and AFLW.

      • Chris

        Is it? Seriously?

        • takethattakethat

          if they think people are actually going to pay $100 a year for this content they are insane

          • Bex

            for a years worth of content it’s not a lot, and if you’re a regular on the daily news site then you’re paying about 32c a day (6 days a week of news). not a lot to support the best cycling website that can be found. and that doesn’t take into account the $100 voucher for their shopping page. also calling them insane for trying to run the site as a business rather than a backyard operation, is pretty thoughtless, i probably wouldn’t have commented if you didn’t make that crack.

          • gab

            Pull your head in. This is far and away the best cycling website out there. They are still producing heaps of high quality free content, more than anyone else. Excuse CT for trying to make some money to pay for this operation by having those that value it (of which there are many) pay a small fee and get a few bonus bits of content + credit for the online store.

            • takethattakethat

              I am just being a realist. People come here for secret pro articles. They are hiding the only content people care about tbh.

  • Big J

    Cyclingtips, what has happened to the male Secret Pro? We haven’t heard from him in ages!

  • kamil krulis

    The pro male peloton has strict rules of conduct, and still the Spaniard are always crashing. And if you boys have ever ridden in a peloton over 100 people you will know it’s a very organized process. The female peloton, because it’s smaller cannot operate the same way. But the racing is still awesome, including the inexperienced riding thrills.

  • winkybiker

    Never mind this Shecret Pro nonsense, you guys need to get Jo Celso to write for you. Seriously (but keep the Shecret Pro, too. I was just joking about that).


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