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  #11  
Old 01-14-13, 22:00
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Swabian Lass Swabian Lass is offline
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Originally Posted by Libertine Seguros View Post
Emma Pooley downgrading to a part-time ride at a Swiss semi-pro team, Nicole Cooke retiring... yea, cycling's doing GREAT in Great Britain.

The women were the riders the Brits could have made a big deal about. No, should have done. Cooke's Olympic gold was a brilliant win in a brilliant race, but the next thing that happened is the powers that be decided, mission accomplished, and bailed on women's cycling leaving her to have floundered for four years, first in doomed self-run projects, then without a trade team, in a few races backed by inexperienced youngsters in a national team, then finally as an afterthought in an Italian team stacked with talent.

I can't blame her for saying enough is enough, and it's a further indictment of the lack of support and assistance the women's races get.
And I believe that she had to go to court four times (four times) to get her wages paid. If that happens to a rider at the top of the port (with a reputation for being feisty and not taking stuff lying down) what hope for the rider lower down the food chain?

Well done to Nicole for speaking out. I'm sorry to see her go, and wish her all the best in whatever she decides to do with the rest of her life.
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  #12  
Old 01-14-13, 22:34
mountainrman mountainrman is offline
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Wiggle Honda is a step in a right direction and I suspect Sky may field a women's team in the near future once the development team is set up at British Cycling. Women's cycling has a long way to go though.
What is it Brad Wiggins said he was funding? That was a women's development team was it?

Last edited by mountainrman; 01-14-13 at 23:36.
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  #13  
Old 01-14-13, 23:09
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Libertine Seguros Libertine Seguros is offline
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Wiggle Honda is a step in a right direction and I suspect Sky may field a women's team in the near future once the development team is set up at British Cycling. Women's cycling has a long way to go though.
But the timing is all wrong. If they'd come in at the same time as the men's team, or a year later, they had a golden opportunity to capitalise with a handful of British women at the very pinnacle of the sport. Now progress may be made, but Pooley and Cooke more than likely won't be there, they'll have to build new stars whereas they had two ready-made British stars they could have built the team around.

Hell, with the Skyter Shipping disaster at the end of 2009, they could easily have taken over a whole, already existing team structure. Even if they didn't, they had the foundation built up with the youngsters supporting Cooke in 2010 that could have been the basis for a decent team in 2011. If Sky do decide to dip their toes in the pool of women's cycling, then Nicole Cooke has every right to be fuming after three years ago, when Brailsford and co were happily pointing out the benefits of their marginal gains approach by taking credit for her Olympic gold medal because she wore a skinsuit on the day (which is a pet hate of mine), whilst simultaneously ignoring her while she begged cap in hand for money to keep her team afloat (talking about Nürnberger here, not Vision-1). In the end the team owner and his son kept the team afloat out of their own pockets for a year, but they couldn't afford to keep the 'name' riders like Cooke and Neben, who were left without rides. British Cycling did help her out in giving her a team of youngsters so she could at least enter a number of major races in a national team, but I can see how that could be seen as no rightful substitute for an organised team like the men were getting, and bearing in mind this was 2010, built on a foundation of far shakier results too.
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  #14  
Old 01-15-13, 00:52
Boardslide Boardslide is offline
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What is it Brad Wiggins said he was funding? That was a women's development team was it?
Brad isn't actually funding a team or anything, however his foundation has said it will provide technical support and advice
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  #15  
Old 01-15-13, 08:21
mountainrman mountainrman is offline
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what a pity to be "forced" to abandon your profession because of the lack of support. Is Nicole perhaps thinking of staying in the sport as a DS or adviser in a near future?
That is the problem - DS of what? The ladies teams barely survive and As of this year there are no ladies grand tours any more furher eroding the sport.. A heap of reasons for that, some to do with the mud that has stuck to the sport because of doping and impact on sponsors - but I think one of the worst is that the TdF itself made legal challenges to prevent the ladies TdF being called "TdF" at a time when it should by instead have been helping promote it and investing in it as part of a duty to developing sport.

I have often wondered why some of the big mens cycling events do not try to bring in a ladies field setting off earlier on the same parcours, much as they do on the London marathon. Since most spectators only ever see a flash of colour as the peloton flies by, it would add to the entertainment. Has it been tried?

I cannot imagine Nicole wanting to prolong the stress of not knowing whether she will get paid - after vision one she probably wants no more to do with team management. You would hope British cycling would give her a development role but I cannot see it happening, when they favour products of their own programs such as Armistead over proven road pros like Cooke and Pooley. "Jobs for the boys" is alive and well.

Whatever she does I wish her every success.

Last edited by mountainrman; 01-15-13 at 08:30.
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  #16  
Old 01-15-13, 19:19
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Libertine Seguros Libertine Seguros is offline
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I have often wondered why some of the big mens cycling events do not try to bring in a ladies field setting off earlier on the same parcours, much as they do on the London marathon. Since most spectators only ever see a flash of colour as the peloton flies by, it would add to the entertainment. Has it been tried?
Gent-Wevelgem started that this year. Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Flèche Wallonne are two of the biggest races on the women's calendar, because of that. The Tour de Romandie used to feature a women's ITT as a standalone event before the Lausanne TT. The Ronde van Drenthe has the same approach. There are more, I think.
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  #17  
Old 01-16-13, 02:27
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It's a shame she's hanging up the cleats and I only wish her the best but (I know I'm going to catch heat for this) women's cycling is not very exciting.

And if it's not exciting people don't watch and when people don't watch sponsors don't want to pay.

That is my opinion and you may disagree but I have never been on the edge of my seat rooting during a women's race.

They are just not as dynamic as men's racing. I feel the same thing about the WNBA but I enjoy watching woman's tennis and golf. Go figure.

I think women's cycling may always struggle. It doesn't have a deep rider or fan base.
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  #18  
Old 01-16-13, 03:05
Tei6chai Tei6chai is offline
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(I know I'm going to catch heat for this) women's cycling is not very exciting. ...

That is my opinion and you may disagree but I have never been on the edge of my seat rooting during a women's race.
A personal opinion, as you say, but I'd say almost the exact opposite.

I've been watching pro cycling for 30+ years, and I find most current women's races (except those where Marianne Vos is in top form) to be far more dynamic and open than typical World Tour races today.

Smaller, irregular teams with no radios seems to mix it up more, from my point of view.
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  #19  
Old 01-16-13, 09:47
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It's a shame she's hanging up the cleats and I only wish her the best but (I know I'm going to catch heat for this) women's cycling is not very exciting.

And if it's not exciting people don't watch and when people don't watch sponsors don't want to pay.

That is my opinion and you may disagree but I have never been on the edge of my seat rooting during a women's race.

They are just not as dynamic as men's racing. I feel the same thing about the WNBA but I enjoy watching woman's tennis and golf. Go figure.

I think women's cycling may always struggle. It doesn't have a deep rider or fan base.
But is it that you've never been on the edge of your seat because you've never had a reason to care for the competitors? After all, we watch hundreds of crappy men's races a year where nothing at all happens until the last 3km, whether they be Unipublic one-hill specials for Purito or Gilbert or pan-flat Cav love-ins. But we watch, because we get emotionally invested in the competitors. If you have no reason to know which moves are potentially important and who the threats are, you have little reason to get excited by most men's races, and the same goes for women - it eventually just becomes some people on bikes in the background.

If we look at recent Worlds and Olympics, we can see that the women put on good races on the courses the men could put good races on, and put on bad races on the courses the men put bad races on. The lack of depth in the field is a major problem, and the lack of races is another. But the entertainment value of the races is not, because if people are given a reason to care about the competitors, they'll watch. Look at the hordes of British fans being won over to the sport by the Sky train and Cavendish. Many of them wouldn't know an exciting bike race if it was personally delivered to their door by Vino, Jacky Durand, Amets Txurruka and the ghost of Frank Vandenbroucke. But they still watch and get excited by what they see, because they care about what happens in it. That's what women's cycling is lacking - a large fanbase that is emotionally invested in the results.

I also note that the events you specify you enjoy amongst women's competition are some of those where the women's side of the game is most developed (all credit to the LPGA and relevant organisations on that), and the women's events are produced more professionally, leading to better sponsors, meaning more people can make a living doing it, increasing the depth of the field. The same goes for events where the women compete at the same events as the men - athletics, tennis, skiing (both Alpine and cross-country), biathlon, swimming. These are some of the sports where women can be the most successful relative to their male counterparts, where women's sport fares best in terms of audience in comparison to their male equivalent, and where the depth of the competition is best. With women's cycling, even the former blue riband event of the year, the Giro Donne, had to make do with some limitations coverage-wise. It wasn't shown live (instead highlights were appended onto Tour de France coverage, though I approved of this as maximising the potential audience), and while we got the pro commentary team and RAI's traditional on-screen graphics that matched the Giro, there were still no helicams. At a few other televised races, primitive on-screen graphics (if we get any at all) and a lack of cameras have made races difficult to follow - the Worlds and Olympics are the only time we get to see the women's races covered in any kind of slick and professional way. Contrast that with the IBU or the FIS, where the women's races are covered in the exact same way as the men's races, lending them an air of legitimate equivalence in the eyes of the viewer.

Now, obviously events such as World Cup biathlon and cross-country skiing can do this with greater ease (short circuits, cameras already there, women's events and men's events all part of the same competition weekend) so are perhaps better equated with track cycling, where women's competitors seem to be held in comparatively higher esteem by the casual fan than on the road. It is telling, though, that some of the most successful women's events are the ones like Plouay, RVV and Flèche, that use at least part of the course of the equivalent men's race, so cameras are already there (even if not always used - but could be if the desire to elevate the standard of coverage of women's cycling was there), the women are part of the same competition event using the same course (to an extent - even in those sports I've just praised for their positive treatment of the women you do get differences in the distances, but mostly I don't have a problem with this; the 35km vs 15km distance race in the Tour de Ski is perhaps the most striking. The distance differences don't compare to the rather arbitrary 10-day maximum and average of 100km a day or whatever the precise distance is that the women are limited to by the UCI).

I have maintained, and will probably continue to maintain, that women's cycling needs a boost. It will continue to meander if it is not given a leg up. Now, if we get our women's events that are crowbared into the men's equivalents, or we get our elevated TV presence for women's cycling, and it still fails miserably, then so be it. At least it was given the chance and failed to grab it. At the moment, saying that it's not worth giving a chance to as the events aren't good (how would we know when we see less than 5% of them?) and there's no audience is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if it isn't given a chance then how does it get an audience? Some highlights of a women's event earlier in the day would go a long way to liven up the first hour or two of coverage on a bunch of crappy Tour de France flat stages, that's for sure.
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  #20  
Old 01-17-13, 02:11
martinvickers martinvickers is offline
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I have maintained, and will probably continue to maintain, that women's cycling needs a boost. It will continue to meander if it is not given a leg up. Now, if we get our women's events that are crowbared into the men's equivalents, or we get our elevated TV presence for women's cycling, and it still fails miserably, then so be it. At least it was given the chance and failed to grab it. At the moment, saying that it's not worth giving a chance to as the events aren't good (how would we know when we see less than 5% of them?) and there's no audience is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if it isn't given a chance then how does it get an audience? Some highlights of a women's event earlier in the day would go a long way to liven up the first hour or two of coverage on a bunch of crappy Tour de France flat stages, that's for sure.
The secret is joint races, I believe. When, during the year, do the women's races seem to matter? At Worlds, olympics, Fleche - where they share the stage with the men - tennis is the obvious comparison - by sharing grand slams, and certain masters with the men, WTA have built a thriving tour, and they work together with ATP to their mutual benefit - it helps that knowledgable crowds know the women provide a different experience, not just a slower version of the men, but entirely different, tactically (unless a Williams is playing).

There is no good reason why the GT's can't have slimmed down women's versions running alongside - hey, set them up so that the final women's day happens during the men's second rest day - tv sorted, 'tradition' set up - it's doable, so why not do it.
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