Hello! Welcome to Women’s Cycling Weekly issue fifteen 🚴♀️
How nice is it to have racing back on? The purple peloton got their season started last weekend at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and SD Worx are showing signs of the Boels Dolmans of old taking the win with Anna van der Breggen. Tuesday’s Le Samyn was a different but equally thrilling story culminating in a sprint finish. I’ll save the rest for the ‘results’ section but needless to say it’s been so exciting seeing the women back in action.
Of course — as most of you will have seen — almost as soon as the racing ended an impassioned debate on the disparity between the men’s and women’s prize money at Omloop (€16,000 for Ballerini and €900 for van der Breggen), and then later for Strade Bianche, kicked off.
I’ve laid out my personal view on this on both a podcast and in written form this week so I’m not going to go into any real detail here. What I will say, though, is that — regardless of what you think the answer is — the fact that a healthy debate around equality has been launched is a good thing. Except those people who argue that ‘the women don’t race for as long/it isn’t as interesting therefore they don’t deserve equal prize money’ – they can get in the bin.
There is yet to be any official confirmation but it looks like The Healthy Ageing Tour will be broadcast live on Eurosport/GCN.
The GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds to equal the prize money for men and women at Strade Bianche has now surpassed the €16,000 of the men’s prize fund.
Transport for London confirmed this week that Ride London is set to continue from 2022-2031 but due to scheduling difficulties with the UCI only a one-day pro women’s event — Ride London Classique — will go ahead.
The UK-based Group Cycling Diversity Alliance launched this week “a collective of underrepresented people, groups and organisations in cycling. This includes, but is not exclusive to girls, women, people with disabilities, people of colour & LGBTQ+ people (allies welcome).” Visit their website, here.
It was none other than current double world champion, Anna van der Breggen who won the first race of the season, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 1.Pro, soloing to the line after an impressive show of strength from her SD Worx team including a long stint out in front from Demi Vollering. An impressively fast Emma Cecille Norsgaard of Movistar took the sprint for second with Amy Pieters of SD Worx in third. Lotte Kopecky of Liv Racing narrowly missed out on a podium after burning a few too many matches earlier in the race but looked strong. The story of the race was Annemiek van Vleuten on her new team of Movistar missing a crucial split in the race, putting her out of contention and leaving her chasing for the whole race. Lizzie Deignan of Trek-Segafredo also missed the same split leaving the other half of Trek’s dynamic duo — Elisa Longo Borghini — to fight it out at the front with Audrey Cordon Ragot. Deignan said after the race that she wasn’t feeling well and she will also be sitting Strade Bianche out, hopefully we will see her back in action soon.
Next up was Le Samyn des Dames 1.1 on Tuesday where the sprinters got the chance to battle it out for first place this time and Belgian national champion Kopecky took the win. Norsgaard came second again with ChloeHosking of Trek-Segafredo in third.
In Cairo at the African Continental Championships it was Carla Oberholzer of South Africa who took the elite women’s ITT while her compatriot Chante Olivier took both the junior women’s ITT and road race.
Upcoming Races 📅
Tomorrow marks the 🚨first World Tour race of the season🚨 – StradeBianche! After last year’s uncharacteristically hot August edition it’s back to regular programming. The rain that was forecast earlier in the week might not materialise but the race is sure to be an exciting one regardless. Read a preview of the race here. Broadcasting starts from 12:30 CET.
Also on Saturday is the elite women’s African Continental Championships road race in Cairo, Egypt.
The Healthy Ageing Tour 2.1 starts next week — on Wednesday 10th — running until Friday 12th. Broadcast details tbc!
I alluded in the intro to the fact that I’ve discussed my thoughts on The Big Prize Money Debate on a podcast this week and that podcast is this, The Freewheeling Podcast from CyclingTips. I’ve been a big fan of this pod for a while so it was a real treat to chat to Abby and Loren about that whole debacle among many other things including but not limited to; Omloop Het Nieuwsbad, Strade Bianche and why we don’t cut AVV the same slack as AVDB for dominating races. Find it wherever you get your podcasts!
Names You Should Know 💡
Given that Strade Bianche is this weekend I thought I’d go along with an Italian theme (and a very appropriate name) with Alfonsina Strada: the only woman to have ridden the men’s Giro d’Italia.In 1924, Strada took the bike that she had been given as a wedding present and rode the 3,613km Giro d’Italia course alongside the men, aged 24. The most surprising part? She’d been invited to ride it as the race organisers scrambled to find participants after a rider strike. She did, however, have to enter under an alias (Alfonsin Strada) to conceal the fact that she was a woman, natch. Although her identity was uncovered just before the race she was allowed to continue.
Once the men got back to racing the Giro she wasn’t allowed to return to the race (🙄) but she continued to ride exhibition races and also set the women’s hour record in Paris in 1938, covering 32.58 km.
Her two-wheeled escapades earned her the moniker of ‘Il diavolo in gonnele’ or ‘The Devil in a Skirt.’