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We asked for your help in producing the breadth and depth of coverage that women’s cycling deserves. And hundreds of you stepped up by becoming a VeloClub member. As a direct result of your support we’re excited to announce that we’ll be working with a new CyclingTips contributor, well-known TV commentator, writer and reporter José Been.
José lives in the Netherlands and is perhaps best known for her commentary on Eurosport and her informative, witty Twitter account. As a native Dutch speaker, fluent in English, Spanish, German, and French, José is perfectly suited to reporting on the modern peloton. She’ll kick off her CyclingTips coverage from the Ronde van Drenthe, near her hometown, and will provide in-depth reporting and analysis throughout the spring classics season.
We spoke to José about why an increase in coverage of women’s cycling is important:
“Why it matters? Just because, is the answer I would like to give. It shouldn’t even be a question. The realistic answer however is that it’s necessary. I will start off with a negative quote. I don’t believe I will see equality in the 25 odd years I have left in my career.
“This doesn’t mean the fight should stop. And no matter how tired I am sometimes of pointing out the glaring sexism in our sport and experiencing it many times myself, I still keep finding the power somewhere to keep doing it. Because our sport is worth it, the riders are worth it, and our society is worth it.
“I am not a feminist, nor an activist. I just love cycling and the stories it has to offer, whether it’s men or women telling them to me. Why do I love men’s cycling? I know the riders, the history of the races, their stories, their style of riding. That makes me like a rider or race or not.
“What women’s cycling needs is for the public to know these riders, their stories, their passion and their races. There is so much to love about women’s cycling but we have to make it visible, get it to a bigger audience than the still rather small group of dedicated fans.
“Much has changed. Many races are now shown on the internet or the big television networks. But we have to offer a guide to these races, show people why they should tune in. Everyone knows why they should watch Roubaix. It has years of history; it has the stories. Do the same for Drenthe, for Binda, for the Women’s Tour or Vårgårda and draw the crowds. The racing is almost always good and unpredictable.
“Years ago, women’s cycling advocate Sarah Connolly had a system: tell me which male rider you like and I give you the female equivalent. To me that is the basis, although not flawless because I don’t believe the two sports are carbon copies. The women’s peloton already has so many great personalities who are ready and easy to become a fan off. If only we’d know them better. That’s what I want to do. That’s why it matters that we give them a podium.
“Create stars and the public will follow.”
We are within reaching distance of our next goal: to send reporters to all the major races on the women’s racing calendar. At many of these events, it would make us the only major cycling outlet providing on-the-ground coverage.
We’re determined to get there. But, really, it’s up to all of you. If you’ve been thinking about joining – if you like what we do now and you support what we want to do next – now is the time to join up.