Hello! Welcome to Women’s Cycling Weekly issue fourteen 🚴♀️
At long last, the start of the season is finally here! It was touch and go there for a second but we made it: tomorrow marks the start of the 2021 season for the women’s peloton. And, in exciting ‘things that should be standard but seem like a big win because women’s cycling’ news: the race will be broadcast live (okay, only for an hour but as a 1.Pro race that’s more than is required).
You subscribe to this newsletter so it’s a given that you’re probably as excited as I am to finally see the women race after an off-season full of exciting transfers. Plus, with the fate of many races still in question and Olympic selection on the line for some, every race is going to be fiercely fought, and it’s going to be amazing to watch.
The first edition of the Women’s Itzulia stage race has sadly been cancelled. The event was due to take place in May and organisers have said they will instead put on the Women’s Clasica San Sebastián — the event that Itzulia was intended to replace in order to avoid a scheduling conflict with the future Women’s Tour de France — on the 31st July which will also be a WWT event.
Some positive race news for once! The Healthy Ageing Tour has announced that the race will go ahead however it will be as a — reduced — three day format and there will be no spectators. Usually run over five days, the race will now take place between the 10th and 12th of March beginning with a TT in Assen. Organisers have also set up a GoFundMe page to fund live coverage of the race with a target of €9,500.
The teams for the Women’s Paris Roubaix have been announcedincluding all of the usual suspects as well as the Ciclismo Mundialteam which includes cyclocross stars Ceylin del Carmen Alvaradoand Sanne Cant – which makes things very interesting indeed!
It seems like a no-brainer that a manager who has been found guilty of sexually abusing and harassing the women in their trust should never be allowed to return to the sport. Sadly, that is not the case for Former HealthMate Cycle Live team manager Patrick Van Gansen who was found guilty of sexually abusing former riders. Van Gansen was handed an appallingly paltry sanction by the UCI this week in the form of a three year suspension imposed retroactively, taking it up to 31st December 2022. The known sexual abuser is required only to take a “course addressing the matter of workplace sexual harassment” if he wishes to return to the sport. There’s absolutely loads to unpick here, which Abby Mickey did a pretty great job of for CyclingTips on Wednesday and is a must-read, elsewhere, former rider Chloe Turblin spoke to CyclingNews calling the verdict “weak”. Van Gansen himself told CyclingNews in 2019: “I have chosen myself not to go anymore in women’s cycling because women’s cycling doesn’t deserve me, if it could do this to me,”— I would be inclined to agree, women’s cycling doesn’t deserve disgusting predators like him, it deserves so much better.
Sadly, Van Gansen is not a one-off. Doltcini-Van Eyck director, Marc Bracke was found guilty by the UCI Ethics Commission of sexual harassment last October after Marion Sicot and Sara Youmans filed separate formal complaints after he asked them to send photos of themselves in their bikinis. Bracke’s case is still being processed by the Disciplinary Commission and if you thought he might have made himself scarce from the sport in the meantime, well, nope. Meanwhile, Marion Sicot has appealed to CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport) over the UCI’s lack of transparency in abuse cases, especially with regards to communicating information to victims.
In some more light-hearted news, Drops-Le Col have unveiled their 2021 kit, and it’s a cracker:
And finally, Cycling UK are doing some really great things for women’s cycling at the moment, including their Winter Watch Party (mentioned last week). They are also running a survey on ‘women’s cycling and wellbeing’ which — if you are from the UK — you can take part in here.
Denise Betsema won both Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas andInternationale Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle. At Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas Annemarie Worst took second with Sanne Cant in third. On Sunday at Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle Cant took second with Inge Van der Heijden in third.
Ana Mafalda Sa Santos took the Portuguese national cyclocross title, while over in France Line Burquier claimed the French junior national title.
In Turkey, Tatsiana Sharakova won the Grand Prix Velo Manavgatlast Saturday and Alena Ivanchenko the Grand Prix Velo Alanya on Sunday.
Upcoming Races 📅
The road season starts 🚨 tomorrow 🚨with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. A live broadcast of the 126km race will begin on Eurosport/GCN (and plenty of other places I *think*) from 15:40 CET. For a preview of the race click here, and provisional start list here.
Next Tuesday, 2nd March, the 1.1 race Le Samyn des Dames which will also be broadcast from 14:00.
Also, not reading but I really enjoyed this little animation from Pro Cycling Trumps rating the WWT kits!
This one is a new to me, but is definitely not a new podcast. Mountain biker, former world champion and adventure athlete, Sonya Looney, hosts an eponymous podcast show and has had some great female cycling guests. The latest episode, out today, features Kathryn Bertine and previous guests include retired cyclocross pro Nikki Brammeier on coaching happy and healthy athletes.
Names You Should Know 💡
In 1939, Marguerite Wilson (pictured looking extremely stylish) set the Land’s End to John O’Groats record as well as setting the 1,000 mile record that same year and later the 50 mile record. She raced professionally for the Hercules and Claud Butler teams before her career was cut short when she joined the war effort — first as an ambulance driver and then working for the British Overseas Airways Corporation as a steward and traffic clerk based in Poole, Dorset. After the war she married and moved to Canada and on her return to the UK was unable to race at amateur level as the rules at the time prohibited former professionals, an injury eventually ended her career. She died in 1972 at the age of only 53.
This British Pathé footage of Wilson ‘demonstrating’ roller racing, featuring a fascinating clock contraption and some shockingly short shorts (not on Marguerite).
Feel Good Friday 💕
If you’re new here then let me explain this section: it basically comprises any tenuous link I can find with women+cycling that might put a smile on your face, that’s it.
With that, meet landlady Jennifer Left who turned her bike into a replica pub in order to deliver beer around Brighton while her real-life pub — The Hand in Hand — is closed. The miniature pub was made by two of the pub’s usual staff who happen to know a thing or two about carpentry…
Sadly, I don’t think Girona is on her route.
That’s All 👋
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