Women’s Cycling Weekly: Issue 20

Annemiek Van Vleuten wins the 18th Ronde van Vlaanderen 2021

by Amy Jones


Hello! Welcome to Women’s Cycling Weekly issue 20 🚴‍♀️

My mathematically-challenged brain struggles with the concept of measuring things in weeks, usually children: “they’re 40 weeks old” — that simply does not make sense to me. But this particular ‘baby’ has been in the world for 20 weeks (or is perhaps still — in some ways— gestating). It feels like a nice, round number and some kind of milestone. I’ll pretend that is the reason I am giving away a copy of a book and that it was all entirely planned that way.

Competition Winner

Without further ado, then, the winner of a copy of the Most Excellent Revolutions by Hannah Ross is…Rhian Denton! 🥳 Congrats! Hit ‘reply’ on this email and we’ll sort out your free copy of the book. 


As the preamble to this newsletter is getting quite long, consider this a taster because in the coming weeks and months there may be some bonus long-form issues incoming. If you hate the idea of that, however, do let me know and maybe I’ll hold off on the

No promises, though.

Okay that’s enough of that. Lots to cover this week, loads of great content, some (mostly) good news and the last (do we count Brabantse Pijl?) of the cobbled Classics. Sure, there’s a Paris-Roubaix-shaped hole in the calendar on Sunday, but fear not because it won’t be long before the Ardennes!

Big thanks to CyclingTips for hosting and supporting WCW. If you’re reading this via the CT website, then maybe you fancy subscribing to get it direct in one hit — like a Johnson&Johnson Covid shot — into your inbox?

News 📰

  • After announcing the intention to do so in JanuaryCofidis has confirmed that it will launch a women’s team in 2022 with a budget of €1m — love to see it. 
  • His name appeared on the startlists for Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem, but last weekend Flanders Classics said that they have asked Doltcini Van Eyck manager Marc Bracke — who was found guilty of ethics violations pertaining to harassment by the UCI Ethics Commission last year — not to come to their events. They do not, however, have the ability to enforce this until the UCI Disciplinary Commission decide on a sanction.
  • In the next episode of The UCI Doing Things Backwards, Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano rider Letizia Borghesi was disqualified and fined 500CHF at Tour of Flanders (more than Annemiek van Vleuten took for winning) for throwing a bottle (it was later reduced to 200CHF). Borghesi said that she ‘felt like a criminal.’
  • Loughborough University in the UK have launched an elite women’s cycling team who will compete at national level, called ‘Lightning Cycling’ great name. 
  • Walmart heir, Tom Waltonhas added his voice to the dissent over the anti-trans bill in Arkansas. The state is due to host the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships and many have called for a boycott of the event over the discriminatory law which prevents trans women and girls from competing in school sports team consistent with their identity. Elsewhere, the head of USA cycling has said that a boycott would be ‘ceremonial’. 
  • Kasia Niewiadoma has extended her contract with Canyon//SRAM to the end of 2024. Very much here for long-term contract extensions.

Results 🏆

  • Last Sunday at Ronde van VlaanderenTour of Flanders 1.WWT – it was a case of Annemiek van Vleuten being back to her old tricks. Audrey Cordon Ragot of Trek-Segafredo spent 20km off the front solo from 42km to go. After a group split over the Koppenburg full of all of the favourites (apart from Marianne Vos of Jumbo-Visma and Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon//SRAM) Van Vleuten attacked over the Paterburg and stayed away to the line. Lisa Brennauer ofCeratizit-WNT took the sprint for second, with Grace Brown of BikeExchangein third. Watch highlights here. Watch the Rouleur Debrief with Tayler Wileshere
  • Chiara Consonni of Valcar Travel and Service took the win at Ronde de Mouscron 1.1 on Monday with Jelena Erić of Movistar in second and Maria Martins of Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur in third.
  • Then, it was onto the first ever Scheldeprijs Women 1.1 on Wednesday at which the riders were greeted by snow and rain. Barring a few crashes and splits the race stayed mostly together until 18-year-old Daniek Hengeveld of GT Krush Tunap — who made a similar move on the first stage of the Healthy Ageing Tour— chipped off the front with 44km to go. Hengeveld was caught and in another piece of symmetry with HAT, Lorena Wiebes of Team DSM (who crashed at the finish of the same stage while looking strong for the sprint) took the win. Emma Norsgaard of Movistar took second and Elisa Balsamo of Valcar Travel and Service second. Watch highlights here.  

Upcoming Races 📅

  • The fact that Sunday would have been the first ever women’s Paris Roubaix has to be mentioned here, it’s rubbish but at least it will happen at some point — we’ll see you in October, PR. 
  • Meanwhile, it’s Brabantse Pijl 1.1 on Wednesday 14th. Remember Grace Brown’s winning move last year that put her firmly on the radar (and that she repeated this year at De Panne to take her first World Tour win)? 
  • This week is also the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia national championships. Yes, that Saudi Arabia, the very same.

Read 🗞️

Twitter Interaction of the Week

This probably won’t turn into a regular segment. But scrolling the Hellbog Website of Despair this morning, I came across this. I guess it’s quite funny until you remember that women’s cycling is perennially overlooked when it comes to stats like this.

Listen 🎧

Maybe I like the sound of my own voice (I don’t) or maybe I just genuinely think that even without my waffle, Freewheeling is a Really Great Podcast about women’s cycling (it is). This one is a good-en with recently-retired pro Gracie Elvin as a guest talking all about life after the peloton and the TCA’s mentorship programme.

Get more of that sort of thing from the latest Cycling Podcast Feminin, too. Which is also a Really Great Podcast. This episode features loads of interviews including Elisa Longo Borghini, Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, Grace Brown, and Anna Henderson as well as newcomer Kristen Faulkner.

Watch 📺

A truly feel-good video ostensibly about the brilliant para cyclist Josie Fouts and her journey to building a custom bike with a prosthetic, but also so much more than that.

A Royal Ride 👑

This one is for fans of The Crown (admittedly not me). High-end carbon road bikes have got nothing on this 1970s Raleigh, expected to fetch around £20,000 at auction. The reason? It belonged to Princess Diana. It’s going under the hammer three years after it last sold for £10,000, in 2018. 

In striking parallel to the treatment of Meghan Markle (without the racism) it was dubbed the ‘shame bike’ by the tabloid press at the time after Buckingham Palace officials forced her to sell before marrying Prince Charles in 1981 as it was deemed an ‘inappropriate’ form of transport for a Royal. It’s being flogged as “a famous symbol of Diana’s oppression” which is quite grotesque, tbh.

That’s All 👋

As ever, thanks for reading and for supporting women’s cycling and if you like what you see you can support WCW on Ko-Fi.

Have a great weekend, albeit race-free.

Until next time,

Amy x

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