Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

July 7, 2016

In today’s CT Daily News Digest: Van Avermaet does the double! BMC rider takes Tour de France stage win, yellow jersey; Giro Rosa Round-up: Wiggle-High5 continues Italian success with stage win and pink for Mara Abbott; Jan Hirt wins Austria queen stage, takes over lead; Andrei Nechita wins Sibiu Cycling Tour prologue; Operación Puerto samples in UCI, WADA custody; WADA extends Meldonium grace period through September; The return of Marcel Kittel: ‘I know how hard the way back to this moment was’; Trans Am reflections: Race lead, blue feet, altitude sickness and a gender paradigm shift; Bahrain team on hold until 2018?; Sunweb possibly joining Giant as new title sponsor; Oleg Tinkoff: “If Sagan wins two stages, I stay in cycling”; Tour de France, stage 4 on-board highlights; Celebrating Kittel’s stage win; Peter Sagan: “Life is like a movie”; What does it take to ride in a breakaway at Le Tour?

Trans Am reflections: Race lead, blue feet, altitude sickness and a gender paradigm shift

by Simone Giuliani

What’s it like then to race more than 7,000 kilometres unsupported in one unrelenting stretch? And what did it feel like to be one of the women behind this paradigm shift? We talked to Hammond, the first women to ever lead the Trans Am, to find out.

Here is an excerpt from the feature:

In Wyoming, the altitude sickness started to kick in. Even watching over the Internet from afar, it was clear to her friends and fans that the bubbly smiling Hammond was gone. To make things worse the timing of her menstrual cycle was also working against her. So much else was hurting that the normal discomfort didn’t even rate a thought, though the heightened emotions it can bring combined with the altitude sickness, sleep deprivation and the huge and growing lists of pains meant way too much time was spent riding in tears.

And when she pushed on into the even higher terrain of Colorado, where she was riding at close to 3,500 metres, the altitude sickness became completely debilitating.

“All the years that I’ve been riding and loving climbing I didn’t ever think that I was ever going to have an issue like that,” said Hammond, who lives in Australia where even the highest mountain reaches just a little over 2,000 metres.

Her whole body swelled, her clumsy fingers meant undoing food and doing up zips become a battle and changing a tyre was a tiresome 45-minute process. The breathing difficulties just got worse and worse. The Hammond that I’d been riding with less than two weeks prior that had seemed to effortlessly powered up slopes with a gradients of over 20% – while I had to resign myself to a walk – was now forced to get off and push her bike up gradients of just 6%. That was the turning point in the race for Hammond, it was now beyond being a fight for position and had become a battle of body and mind to just keep rolling.

Click through to read more at CyclingTips.