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by Mark Zalewski
January 13, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: 2017 Vuelta route to start in Nimes, France, with a return to fabled climb l’Angliru; Alison Powers launches amateur racing team with a new approach; Brailsford responds to bullying allegations; Valverde injured on training ride; Kittel speaks out about TUE use; Westra opens up about decision to quit; British Transport Secretary: ‘cyclists are not road users’; Tour of Utah announces host cities, adds ITT; NBC Sports announces 2017 cycling coverage; Behind the scenes with UCI Cyclocross World Championships organisers; POV preview of the UCI Cyclocross World Championship course; Video: Factory CrossArena; Video: Bradley Wiggins’ practices on ‘The Jump.’
Alison Powers, the retired multi-discipline American national champion and cycling coach, has launched a women’s amateur cycling team with a new approach. Simply put, she wants to create a team that teaches bike racing – something that most teams fail to do, she says.
“I really wish that more people at the local level actually taught bike racing, not fitness, not watts, not power but actually teach you how to race bikes,” Powers said. “When I started racing I had no idea what I was doing. I made it to bigger team, national races, even European races and still didn’t know what I was doing, and I made many mistakes and I pissed off a lot of teammates because I didn’t know how to race my bike.”
Powers learned quickly and would become a six-time national champion, but she believes there’s better ways to develop athletes.
“Not enough teams are teaching their racers how to race,” she said. “Road racing is a team sport but not many people actually practice that or even really know what that means. I hope to change the way local teams race and train by providing coached training rides and team races.”
At the local amateur level, what happens all too often is that an eager group of women decide to join a racing team in the fall prior to the next road season. They will train to build fitness all winter, might receive some bike handling and race tactics 101 from veteran riders, and then line up in March in a field of mostly other beginner women. A handful of riders will likely be stronger than the rest and simply ride away from the field, while everyone else rides for there best individual result. This goes on race after race until the strong riders upgrade to a higher category and too many others simply lose interest and quit racing. You see it year after year: early season races draw good numbers but by the time May or June rolls around, the fields are small. Meanwhile, the stronger riders never learned a thing about pack riding, pace lining or team race tactics, and are in for a bit of a shock when they upgrade to more competitive categories or bigger races.
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