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The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

A place to discuss all things related to current professional road races. Here, you can also touch on the latest news relating to professional road racing. A doping discussion free forum.

Moderators: Irondan, Eshnar, Red Rick, Valv.Piti, Tonton, Pricey_sky, King Boonen

19 Apr 2017 17:11

Flavia 10o!! Awesome!!
User avatar Jungle Cycle
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19 Apr 2017 19:15

As ever, the biggest problem that women's cycling faces is that when they put the show on, the cameras don't roll. The women may have a full Ardennes week now, but as I said on the last page, La Flèche Wallonne is the most important of them, being a well-established race and the top puncheur's event of the whole year in terms of prestige, at least in years when we don't have a World Championships in that vein. It's pretty disappointing, no, actually, it's really, really disappointing that when you compare to how Flanders Classics have gone about making their races work, covering de Ronde, developing races like Gent-Wevelgem from the ground up and so on, the same organization responsible for the biggest bike race in the world are completely incapable of doing something as simple as using the fixed cameras they already have on the Mur de Huy to let us see something of what's going on, I mean it's not like the men were going hell for leather at one another making decisive moves when the women were circling Huy, now, is it? My mind is cast back to July last year, when we got absolute insanity over four mountain passes in the Giro Rosa, with the best young rider going solo from 70km out, the race leader and 2nd place in a breakaway two climbs from home, a rider in the top 5 collapsing completely to lose 17 minutes, and a heroic rescue ride from the eventual winner after being dropped on the final climb, summed up in a 15 minute highlight package, while we got uninterrupted coverage of over 3 hours of a Tour stage in which the break was pegged at around four minutes, and nothing of note happened until the last 1500m. It's hard for people to discover how exciting women's cycling can be when they don't get to see the exciting races.

Anyway, La Flèche Wallonne. You'd be forgiven for getting déjà vu looking at the podium, for, of course, at least in the initial podium ceremonies at the weekend, the exact same three riders, in the same positions, lined up. But this wasn't a formulaic sprint up the Mur like the men's race, however. This was something far more befitting of the race's elevated prestige within the women's calendar compared to the men's where it is more or less accepted as an annual Subida a Huy hillclimb at this point (although Tim Wellens may try to disagree, I think he's the only one since Wegmann to try and make something else of it). Ardennes week has rather seen the Boels-Dolmans team look more like the juggernaut that it was last season, being so strong that they could even afford to carry Megan Guarnier as almost a passenger as she rides herself back into form after injury. The increased professionalism in the bunch is starting to create familiar race formats (for example, over the last couple of years there have been more stages seeing early day-long breakaways controlled by the bunch, and fewer of those common women's cycling formats where the bunch rides together at a fast pace, constantly pulling back attacks until one dangerous enough and with enough numbers to go breaks the group) but there's still enough disparity - and the reduced team sizes obviously helps - to enable races like today to work on a parcours that, in men's cycling, is pretty much a guaranteed final kilometre sprint.

Just like last year, it was not actually the Mur de Huy that was decisive for the women, but the preceding Côte de Cherave. Last year the group broke down to three or four bunches, this year there was just one group formed at the head of the field, but the group was about as elite as it comes - the big uphill attack that broke the elastic was by (who else?) Kasia Niewiadoma, who was marked by two-time defending champion Anna van der Breggen who had been testing the legs of the group before that, and Anna's teammate Lizzie Deignan, fresh from the podium of Amstel Gold and clearly showing the best climbing legs we've seen from her in three years. For those counting, then, that's the Olympic champion and defending champion, a former World champion, and a 2x European U23 champion. With Boels then having two against one, they were able to do the traditional number on Kasia and took the one-two in absolutely the way they should have, since they had the benefit of both numbers and experience on their adversary, even if Niewiadoma is objectively one of the best grimpeuses in the péloton; first Deignan pushed away from the Pole and made her chase on the downhill and the first part of the flat, with descending being one of the Briton's strongest suits (after all, it's how she won the Trofeo Binda last year, escaping from people who are absolutely no mugs downhill and not allowing Neff, a world class mountain biker, any leeway ahead); after that, van der Breggen repeated the same trick that worked so well at the weekend, escaping on the flat and taking advantage of the numbers game to arrive at the base of the final climb alone; an advantage she held all the way to the line. Even more so, with Deignan rightly not chasing her teammate, Niewiadoma's best chance for the podium was to push on alone on the Mur and hope she could drop Lizzie, after all the former World Champion has only once made the podium here, with her climbing remit having normally been best suited to shorter climbs when this steep; however, having had a quiet Northern Classics season, clearly she's on the best form for the hills we've seen her in in some time (maybe she fancies a tilt at the Giro with the underwhelming route this year?) and, not having had to take the wind beforehand either, she was able to stick like glue to the Polish champion's back wheel before dropping her just like Strade Bianche 2016 near the summit to secure the 1-2. Niewiadoma did get third place for her efforts, and even better she doesn't have to share the podium this time, having a clear advantage over van Vleuten of eighteen seconds rather than millionths of a second like at the Cauberg. With Vos still only showing in fits and bursts and not looking like the machine she did a few years ago, Kasia seems to be fighting alone a lot of the time; it's not like the WM3 roster is weak, but compared to the all-star juggernaut of Boels she is being isolated quite often - similar to in de Ronde where others could pull up with riders in the chasing group.

As mentioned, Annemiek van Vleuten kept up the déjà vu by winning the climb from the splintered group behind, ahead of Shara Gillow, which is an excellent performance and the best result for the FDJ team this season (one place better than she managed at Strade Bianche) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. Particularly interesting is Coryn Rivera's 7th-place finish on a summit you would think highly unfriendly for her. I mean, yes, she's small and was very much a sprinter in the 'pocket rocket' sense than the 'André Greipel-esque tank' sense in her days on the US domestic calendar, but she's mostly this season been earning her chances to sprint by chasing on after staying close at hand when dropped on the big climbs - just as happened on the Cauberg. It was obvious she would fight hard to get some points here to protect her lead in the WWT, but I didn't expect her to go as well as she did. The rest of the top 10 was made up of experienced riders with good hilly credentials - Ensing is 30 while both Garfoot and Oliveira are 36 and with a wealth of experience in dealing with the Mur. Canyon had a very disappointing day - their two hopes for victory, PFP and Amialiusik, finishing 28th and 29th their best finishers, while the much smaller BTC City-Ljubljana team managed 3 in the top 20 for example - and Wiggle mightn't have expected Audrey Cordon to be their best finisher, ahead of Claudia Lichtenberg, though both managed to get into the top 15.
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19 Apr 2017 22:01

I just saw Rivera got 7th. Surprising. I think she'll turn out to be a much more versatile rider than most people thought.
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22 Apr 2017 10:27

What do you guys think of "La Course by le Tour"? It will feature a stage to Izoard the first day and then on the second day a pursuit race in Marseille. It will be the same course as the itt of the men.

http://www.la-croix.com/Sport/Tour-France-nouvelle-course-poursuite-pour-dames-2017-04-21-1300841488
Max Rockatansky
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22 Apr 2017 10:53

I think it's a nice idea, executed abysmally.

Firstly, I have plenty of problems with the original La Course, the 66km summit finish one-day race that somehow necessitates trying to kill Thüringen, one of the most prestigious and traditional week races on the calendar.

Then, I have a problem with the logistics. They are only "inviting" the top 20 finishers from Izoard, but from Briançon to Marseille isn't a short distance, and for some teams to potentially be doing that for one rider to do a 22km course is potentially detrimental.

Furthermore, they didn't announce it until now, so it's not on the WWT calendar. Should teams really be putting themselves that far out of the way etc. for a race that doesn't pay any points? It essentially then becomes a game of 'not annoying ASO'. And the fact they didn't announce it until now means that there's a good chance that, knowing the Tour was coming to town for several months, getting hotels and the like sorted in the area could be a real hassle. And riders who want to target late season stage races - such as Thüringen for example - may have already arranged their season's plans so not have the scope to take in the pursuit event because of the late announcement, given the move of La Course to a weekday frees up a weekend for racing on the calendar - what does ASO do if this includes the winner on Izoard?

Setting the pursuit as a standalone event also simply won't do. It either needs to be part of a stage race, or the points are only given after the pursuit. It's always been a point of contention even in the sports where the pursuit is a long-ingrained part of the scenery - in biathlon, for example, there's always some consternation about the fact the sprint pays World and Olympic medals, then also sets the grid for the pursuit, giving an automatic chance to double up on the medal count - but here it's almost ridiculous, because the late notification of the event means they can't really shoe-horn it into the WWT, and that only the top 20 get to go means there isn't the scope for the 'charge from deep in the field' type of race that is the precise raison d'être of this event in XC/biathlon/Nordic Combined, so essentially it's just an exhibition race, and no different to the post-Tour crits except for the format, and that's a sad misuse of what could be a really good addition to the sport.

Another issue is that I saw the comment on Twitter that this was intended as a response to the Hammer Series garbage - if so, then it's effectively treating the women - who ASO already give a raw deal by prioritising their crappy crit race over letting them have proper races, and doing such a terrible job of providing coverage for by not switching the cameras on for Flèche Wallonne (seriously, the timing of the announcement couldn't have been worse, given a lot of women's cycling aficionados are presently quite frustrated with ASO for this very reason) - as lab rats, testing out a new format for use with the more lucrative men's races in effect. The problem is, ASO's treatment of the women right now is pretty shoddy even by the standards we're used to (compare them to, say, RCS or Flanders Classics), but because of their importance within the sport, the UCI will usually have to bend over backwards to accommodate their whims, even when those whims are detrimental to the established women's calendar and much more supportive events, and then try to sell it as progress, so that ASO can pat itself on the back for giving the women a chance to showcase their sport in an exciting new format. It's good PR with the casual fan, perhaps, but it's very bad PR for that section of the fanbase that already follows women's cycling.

Do I think it's an interesting format? Sure - I've included two or three of these in my Race Design Thread parcours, for example. I've thought it was something cycling could have made use of for some time and in all honesty I'm interested to see how it pans out. However, given the way this has been put together and announced, do I think they've done a very good job in how they've gone about using it? Absolutely not. If they are using this as a precursor, however, to expanding La Course properly, then this could be a good thing - I just think we need some reassurance on that front. If it becomes, say, a four day race aping the final stages of the Tour, with a mountain stage, a transitional stage, a pursuit race on the TT course (regardless of length - I think a longer TT would yield a better pursuit race, especially as the women don't often get to race TTs longer than 20-25k anyway) and then the Champs Elysées, but most crucially announcing this before the teams have set their calendars, it could work.
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23 Apr 2017 09:34

Right, women's Liège-Bastogne-Liège today.

Firstly, the Omloop van Borsele and its associated TT took place over the last two days; they are however another victim of the development of the women's versions of major Classics as their field has been decimated by the presence of a much stronger Ardennes campaign, and have requested a change of dates for 2018. The last few editions of the TT have been won by Ellen van Dijk until Lisa Brennauer this year, who beat van Dijk and Chantal Blaak; this year Hayley Simmonds of Team WNT beat the Parkhotel Valkenburg duo of Nathalie van Gogh and Hanna Solovey. In the Omloop van Borsele one day race itself, Team WM3 finally broke their duck of race victories, with Riejanne Markus besting Eugenia Bujak of BTC City-Ljubljana in a two-up sprint - not the result I'd have predicted between the two of them! The duo came in just under a minute shy of the 50-strong péloton with Markus' teammate and all-round obvious legend Marianne Vos beating Boels' Jip van den Bos (here riding as a guest for a regional team) and 18-year-old Norwegian prospect Susanne Andersen.

Leading into LBL, there's a bit less to go on; it's not a historic event we can look at the past results of, like Flèche, and it's not a finish we are used to seeing in secondary races like Amstel Gold, so it's a bit more of a crapshoot. All we really have is rider strength and current form, and considering both Ardennes classics so far have ended with the exact same podium, that has to feature strongly in predictions. What we've learned so far is that van der Breggen is the strongest rider and prefers not to race a sprint up the final climb, Boels are comfortably the strongest team and are likely to put the majority of their team in the selection, Niewiadoma is just about the strongest and most combative climber but is likely to be too isolated late on, Deignan is in the best climbing form we've seen from her in a long time, and if the climbers don't make the most of it Coryn Rivera is not likely to be as far back as they would prefer.

The climbs of LBL are sometimes a bit longer than those of the other Ardennes which means Lizzie may not be as obvious a favourite, but she has won Binda before and is clearly on excellent form for these hilly races, and with Boels' strength in depth she will be afforded the chance to preserve energy for a finale, and if it does go to the finale, the Ans climb suits her best out of the late ones and could well give her the chance to round off her campaign with a win. Longo Borghini is back for Wiggle; with 8 weeks holding 8 WT races, could that break meaning she doesn't have Flèche Wallonne in her legs be beneficial today, or is she not truly over her sickness? How close is Guarnier to returning to full fitness, as Boels' dominance has meant they've been able to carry her almost as a passenger to let her ease back to shape. With the gaps between climbs, although she's suffered on the steepest stuff this week, Annemiek van Vleuten can't be counted out either, while Canyon will surely be out for revenge after a very disappointing race on Wednesday and Moolman-Pasio has a strong sprint from a group of climbers too.

Realistically, we're going in partially blind here; we know the kind of riders that are on form and that the course favours, but with this being a brand new race and the women not normally taking on these climbs, it will be intriguing to see how it unfolds.

So, the breakaway duo of Aude Biannic (FDJ) and Jeanne Korevaar (WM3) gained a good couple of minutes, but when the hammer was put down on the Côte de la Vecquée, they were brought back. A good sustained climb of that length isn't all too common in women's cycling, especially at this time of the year, and with positioning also being vital the climb has trimmed the péloton to around 40. Tiffany Cromwell is trying to solo from here.

Cromwell caught on La Redoute, and the group splits in two. van Vleuten first over the summit. About a minute between the two groups approaching La Roche-aux-Faucons, with Roxane Knetemann around 15" up on the first of the two groups. Boels, as expected, have numbers in the front group and are driving the pace to ensure the second one doesn't catch back on. Not yet clear if any major contenders have missed the split.

On Roche-aux-Faucons, it was time for the all-important moves, and... yup, it was Kasia Niewiadoma who initiated the big move that broke the field, because the road went uphill and therefore she is commanded by an insatiable desire for attacking cycling. She briefly had a gap but van der Breggen rode across to her with Elisa Longo Borghini, Lizzie Deignan and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, and so there's now a quintet of the strongest hilly classics riders at the front. The problem is, I clearly see a repeat of the last two races in the making, as Boels have the advantage of numbers, and the best time triallist and the best sprinter in the group. A lot will hinge on whether they try the same trick again and if so, whether having the extra pair of legs in the group compared to Amstel Gold with Ash will be a factor, as Kasia has done a LOT of work over the last few days chasing and attacking and ELB missed Flèche Wallonne sick and wasn't at her best in Amstel. There's 12 riders chasing, but the elite group has improved its lead to 40".

Orica pulling hard to give Annemiek a chance to get across, while at the same time the cohesion in the front group is going down approaching St-Nicolas, mainly as Kasia, Elisa and Ash want Boels to do the work rather than wipe them out for a 1-2 like in the previous races. 20" gap at the base of St-Nic. And because ASO love women's cycling, they're showing show-jumping on the big screens at the finish.

Now on St-Nicolas, Kasia attacks again! ELB dropped, as is Lizzie but Deignan has a bit more in the tank and is able to recollect herself to rejoin the lead trio. We now know that to stand any chance, either Niewiadoma or Moolman-Pasio must distance Deignan as she has the legs. They need to go hard early in Ans, as she's not responding to the attacks with explosivity, but is able to recover and match them... which means, of course... it's the perfect time for Anna van der Breggen to go, just like she did in Valkenburg, and just like she did in Huy - as everybody's steeling themselves for the final climb, she makes use of the flat beforehand because of the advantage Boels have in numbers. It's smart riding, it's sensible riding, and it's won her two races against the same opposition this week, why wouldn't it work again? And indeed, Lizzie sits up and asks the others to go to the front (as she damn well should), and the elastic snaps, Anna has 17"...

OK, Ash and Kasia are spent, and Anna will win. Worse for them yet, the chasers split up on St-Nicolas and Shara Gillow and a couple of others have joined ELB in the chase and they've made contact with the following trio before the final ramps... and... yea, here we go again. 2nd place for Lizzie winning the sprint. And guess what? Kasia was the strongest on the climb into Ans too and takes her third 3rd place of the week!

Really, the Boels domination has been due to superb tactical acumen (you don't need to have different tactics, if you're strong enough that the same tactic is almost impossible to defend against, and each time Anna has timed it just right) and the fact that the weaker climber of the two (although for Ardennes-sized hills Lizzie is perfectly strong of course) then had the opportunity to ride the coattails of the strongest ones on opposing teams in the run-in, and the fact she's got a sprint which is easily dominant over the likes of Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma who don't have a sprint means they can't afford to not go too deep trying to distance her. Kasia almost did it today, getting a good gap on St-Nicolas, but Lizzie rode smart and strong and was able to slowly reel the front trio back in, much like she did to Kasia in Strade Bianche last year.

It's somewhat disappointing to see the same podium in all three Ardennes races, but it does clearly state who the strongest riders were. If anything Niewiadoma could be considered arguably the strongest rider of the week but the fact she's spent so much of the important parts of the race isolated from her team while Boels had a lot of numbers and that she has been the one that has initiated the decisive selections in all three races has meant that she's down on remaining energy towards the end of the race when Anna's attacked; going on the flat is not best suited to her, but because of Anna's great TT skills and the desire to not give Lizzie a free ride has meant by the time they get to the bottom of the final climb Anna's gap has been decisive. And much as I dislike her and make no secret of it, Deignan's form this week has been the best climbing form we've seen from her in years, and she does deserve some reward for that given that her northern Classics campaign was uncharacteristically quiet.

This one has, in the chase group, led to a much more climber-centric top 10 than at Amstel Gold, and the more sustained nature of the climbs has helped traditional climber types like Lichtenberg up near the front (considering she has probably the outright worst sprint in the péloton now that Mara has retired and Anna VDB has improved that side of her game).

1 Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) NED 3'42'17
2 Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) GBR +17"
3 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) POL +19"
4 Eleonora van Dijk (Team Sunweb) NED +31"
5 Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-AIS) NED +st
6 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla) RSA +st
7 Shara Gillow (FDJ-Futuroscope '86) AUS +st
8 Olga Zabelinskaya (BePink-Cogeas) RUS +st
9 Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High 5) ITA +34"
10 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla) DEN +41"

Seems that Coryn was a way down, and confirmed that with her 5th place today Annemiek van Vleuten assumes the lead of the WWT overall. Ludwig expands on her lead in the U23 category, which she now has a pretty commanding lead in, although there's a few flatter events coming up she's unlikely to be too strong in. Because it's done on year group rather than outright age, Niewiadoma is ineligible despite that the 2017 WWT will end before her 23rd birthday - however that's probably for the better for the competition.

Janneke Ensing was just outside the top 10 after having a mechanical in the sprint for 4th. The next group was led across the road by Megan Guarnier, her best result of the week and the first sign she's getting back to what should be her level - also in that group after a long injury layoff is Sabrina Stultiens, along with Claudia Lichtenberg and Leah Kirchmann.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
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Re:

23 Apr 2017 19:46

Libertine Seguros wrote:It's somewhat disappointing to see the same podium in all three Ardennes races, but it does clearly state who the strongest riders were. If anything Niewiadoma could be considered arguably the strongest rider of the week


Well, you can arguably consider anything, obviously in reality Anna van der Breggen was.
sjafafa
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23 Apr 2017 20:02

I thought the race wasn't televised?
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23 Apr 2017 20:04

sjafafa wrote:
Libertine Seguros wrote:It's somewhat disappointing to see the same podium in all three Ardennes races, but it does clearly state who the strongest riders were. If anything Niewiadoma could be considered arguably the strongest rider of the week


Well, you can arguably consider anything, obviously in reality Anna van der Breggen was.

Literally speaking obviously yes, but strongest form and strongest results don't always follow (just ask Peter Sagan). The fact Boels had the numbers advantage throughout the week in every group selection obviously has to be considered because it affects what weapons are available, and brute strength alone doesn't win you many big one-day races when the other strong riders hold so many more cards. It's clearly patently obvious who the strongest riders were when we're breaking it down to the top 3-5 or so, but when two of the strongest three are on the same team, that team still has an advantage. And really I don't consider it a stretch to say that they had the advantage of better protection because Boels were sticking 5 or even all 6 riders in the groups when the first selections were made, with strong domestiques like Canuel available deep into the race whereas Kasia has been left all too often isolated at the front, sometimes without anybody in the chase to rely on either to bluff. Opponents know that if her team want a good result Kasia has to attack and contribute to her group, and they can use that to their advantage. Anna didn't make the original break in Amstel, but because Lizzie was up the road, she didn't have to contribute to the chase so got to the front by marking Annemiek's counter, by the time she went all out herself, the riders who'd been in the first move (including Lizzie) had done a lot more time with their noses in the wind, which played a significant role in the chase. Anna was clearly the strongest in Flèche, again having 2/3 in the group helped but she was still strongest on Huy anyway. But today was again a harder call to make because the fact Boels had the strongest sprinter in the group meant the others were incentivized to make the attacks because they couldn't let the group come to the line as a quartet/quintet, whereas Anna could call that bluff because of Lizzie. However, at the same time, Anna managed to successfully mark every attack and wasn't dropped; a problem is that I've noticed several times now that, perhaps because she has no sprint, perhaps because she's been isolated from her teammates a lot so has a vested interest in not letting chase groups join the move, but Niewiadoma does a lot of work in the groups she's in when she might be better off bluffing a bit more.

That's not to denigrate Anna's and Lizzie's achievements, because they've had the strength to carry it home with a tactic where by the end of the week riders knew exactly what was coming but were still powerless to prevent it, and the Boels team in terms of top-down rider strength, form and tactical acumen has been faultless all week. And I did say it was arguable.
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Re:

23 Apr 2017 22:12

jaylew wrote:I thought the race wasn't televised?


It never was. It never happened.
sjafafa
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23 Apr 2017 23:02

Niewiadoma really, really needs a teammate who can make the selection. Without a decent sprint and without a sidekick who is a viable threat she is just getting worked over again and again.
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Re:

24 Apr 2017 08:56

Libertine Seguros wrote:Riejanne Markus besting Eugenia Bujak of BTC City-Ljubljana in a two-up sprint - not the result I'd have predicted between the two of them!


Tell me about it.
From what I gathered on twitter, it seems Bujak did all the pulling while Markus just sat on, which would explain it.

Good to see not just Guarnier, but Kirchmann finally finding legs.

Meanwhile, still can't find any news on the big teams not announced for the Giro. It's just so odd.
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Re:

25 Apr 2017 08:39

Libertine Seguros wrote:As ever, the biggest problem that women's cycling faces is that when they put the show on, the cameras don't roll. The women may have a full Ardennes week now, but as I said on the last page, La Flèche Wallonne is the most important of them, being a well-established race and the top puncheur's event of the whole year in terms of prestige, at least in years when we don't have a World Championships in that vein. It's pretty disappointing, no, actually, it's really, really disappointing that when you compare to how Flanders Classics have gone about making their races work, covering de Ronde, developing races like Gent-Wevelgem from the ground up and so on, the same organization responsible for the biggest bike race in the world are completely incapable of doing something as simple as using the fixed cameras they already have on the Mur de Huy to let us see something of what's going on, I mean it's not like the men were going hell for leather at one another making decisive moves when the women were circling Huy, now, is it? My mind is cast back to July last year, when we got absolute insanity over four mountain passes in the Giro Rosa, with the best young rider going solo from 70km out, the race leader and 2nd place in a breakaway two climbs from home, a rider in the top 5 collapsing completely to lose 17 minutes, and a heroic rescue ride from the eventual winner after being dropped on the final climb, summed up in a 15 minute highlight package, while we got uninterrupted coverage of over 3 hours of a Tour stage in which the break was pegged at around four minutes, and nothing of note happened until the last 1500m. It's hard for people to discover how exciting women's cycling can be when they don't get to see the exciting races.

Anyway, La Flèche Wallonne. You'd be forgiven for getting déjà vu looking at the podium, for, of course, at least in the initial podium ceremonies at the weekend, the exact same three riders, in the same positions, lined up. But this wasn't a formulaic sprint up the Mur like the men's race, however. This was something far more befitting of the race's elevated prestige within the women's calendar compared to the men's where it is more or less accepted as an annual Subida a Huy hillclimb at this point (although Tim Wellens may try to disagree, I think he's the only one since Wegmann to try and make something else of it). Ardennes week has rather seen the Boels-Dolmans team look more like the juggernaut that it was last season, being so strong that they could even afford to carry Megan Guarnier as almost a passenger as she rides herself back into form after injury. The increased professionalism in the bunch is starting to create familiar race formats (for example, over the last couple of years there have been more stages seeing early day-long breakaways controlled by the bunch, and fewer of those common women's cycling formats where the bunch rides together at a fast pace, constantly pulling back attacks until one dangerous enough and with enough numbers to go breaks the group) but there's still enough disparity - and the reduced team sizes obviously helps - to enable races like today to work on a parcours that, in men's cycling, is pretty much a guaranteed final kilometre sprint.

Just like last year, it was not actually the Mur de Huy that was decisive for the women, but the preceding Côte de Cherave. Last year the group broke down to three or four bunches, this year there was just one group formed at the head of the field, but the group was about as elite as it comes - the big uphill attack that broke the elastic was by (who else?) Kasia Niewiadoma, who was marked by two-time defending champion Anna van der Breggen who had been testing the legs of the group before that, and Anna's teammate Lizzie Deignan, fresh from the podium of Amstel Gold and clearly showing the best climbing legs we've seen from her in three years. For those counting, then, that's the Olympic champion and defending champion, a former World champion, and a 2x European U23 champion. With Boels then having two against one, they were able to do the traditional number on Kasia and took the one-two in absolutely the way they should have, since they had the benefit of both numbers and experience on their adversary, even if Niewiadoma is objectively one of the best grimpeuses in the péloton; first Deignan pushed away from the Pole and made her chase on the downhill and the first part of the flat, with descending being one of the Briton's strongest suits (after all, it's how she won the Trofeo Binda last year, escaping from people who are absolutely no mugs downhill and not allowing Neff, a world class mountain biker, any leeway ahead); after that, van der Breggen repeated the same trick that worked so well at the weekend, escaping on the flat and taking advantage of the numbers game to arrive at the base of the final climb alone; an advantage she held all the way to the line. Even more so, with Deignan rightly not chasing her teammate, Niewiadoma's best chance for the podium was to push on alone on the Mur and hope she could drop Lizzie, after all the former World Champion has only once made the podium here, with her climbing remit having normally been best suited to shorter climbs when this steep; however, having had a quiet Northern Classics season, clearly she's on the best form for the hills we've seen her in in some time (maybe she fancies a tilt at the Giro with the underwhelming route this year?) and, not having had to take the wind beforehand either, she was able to stick like glue to the Polish champion's back wheel before dropping her just like Strade Bianche 2016 near the summit to secure the 1-2. Niewiadoma did get third place for her efforts, and even better she doesn't have to share the podium this time, having a clear advantage over van Vleuten of eighteen seconds rather than millionths of a second like at the Cauberg. With Vos still only showing in fits and bursts and not looking like the machine she did a few years ago, Kasia seems to be fighting alone a lot of the time; it's not like the WM3 roster is weak, but compared to the all-star juggernaut of Boels she is being isolated quite often - similar to in de Ronde where others could pull up with riders in the chasing group.

As mentioned, Annemiek van Vleuten kept up the déjà vu by winning the climb from the splintered group behind, ahead of Shara Gillow, which is an excellent performance and the best result for the FDJ team this season (one place better than she managed at Strade Bianche) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. Particularly interesting is Coryn Rivera's 7th-place finish on a summit you would think highly unfriendly for her. I mean, yes, she's small and was very much a sprinter in the 'pocket rocket' sense than the 'André Greipel-esque tank' sense in her days on the US domestic calendar, but she's mostly this season been earning her chances to sprint by chasing on after staying close at hand when dropped on the big climbs - just as happened on the Cauberg. It was obvious she would fight hard to get some points here to protect her lead in the WWT, but I didn't expect her to go as well as she did. The rest of the top 10 was made up of experienced riders with good hilly credentials - Ensing is 30 while both Garfoot and Oliveira are 36 and with a wealth of experience in dealing with the Mur. Canyon had a very disappointing day - their two hopes for victory, PFP and Amialiusik, finishing 28th and 29th their best finishers, while the much smaller BTC City-Ljubljana team managed 3 in the top 20 for example - and Wiggle mightn't have expected Audrey Cordon to be their best finisher, ahead of Claudia Lichtenberg, though both managed to get into the top 15.


Great write ups as always LS. Are you watching these races on a live online stream? And on this do you receive footage of all of the last three hours of racing?

Television coverage is critical, as you point out. Convenience plays a big part in people's lives, and even though I'm a pretty big fan of men's cycling, I've never bothered to watch any race on a live stream (I often enjoy reading the running commentaries via posts on the forum though). Fortunately we have live coverage of the majority of the main races on free to air television in Australia. We've had every stage of the TDF and Giro for a while now, and usually the last 8 stages of La Vuelta, plus receiving coverage of Paris-Nice and the monuments now.

Putting women's races on television as stand alone events is understandably some way off (risks won't be taken on something that is unlucky to attract big advertising $), but coverage should certainly show more of the women when there is action happening in their races whilst the men are just going through the motions, with 50-150 kms to go. The thing is, is that there are many men who ONLY have interest in the men's race, whilst the women....well there aren't really all that many female viewers of sport. That is what women in sport are up against from the get go; the smaller number of women who do watch sport often prefer watching men anyway. The point is made by some about the men being physically stronger, but really I think that in many sports (including cycling) this shouldn't detract from the spectacle, for it's all relative really. If Kasia Niewiadoma suddenly stamps on the pedals at 30 km/h on a 7% pitch and gets a ten second gap, that shouldn't look any less impressive than if Phillip Gilbert does the same, but at 35 km/h. Having said that, I haven't bothered to take any real interest in women's cycling (at least at this point in time), so I am not helping matters.

A couple of questions. How much of a say do the women have in the distances and overall parcours of their events? In situations like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the women's road race always appears to be a paltry distance as compared to the men: why is this? Endurance wise there is no reason why the women cannot race over 250kms just as the men, and in this way it feels like the sport is still living in the dark ages, like athletics was before the '83 World Championships and '84 Olympics (when the women finally got to run the marathon). I think that in women's tennis for example, that it is the players themselves (and the WTA) who continuously refuse to play best of 5 sets in grand slams (and I believe that they should; if scheduling time is too tight in week 1 then at least do this for the quarter finals onwards). This has also probably only helped the dominance of Serena Williams even more, though that is another subject.

What is the biggest race on the female cycling calendar? Is it the Giro? And how many days in this raced over?
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Re:

25 Apr 2017 08:47

[quote="Libertine Seguros"]
On Roche-aux-Faucons, it was time for the all-important moves, and... yup, it was Kasia Niewiadoma who initiated the big move that broke the field, because the road went uphill and therefore she is commanded by an insatiable desire for attacking cycling. She briefly had a gap but van der Breggen rode across to her with Elisa Longo Borghini, Lizzie Deignan and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, and so there's now a quintet of the strongest hilly classics riders at the front. The problem is, I clearly see a repeat of the last two races in the making, as Boels have the advantage of numbers, and the best time triallist and the best sprinter in the group. A lot will hinge on whether they try the same trick again and if so, whether having the extra pair of legs in the group compared to Amstel Gold with Ash will be a factor, as Kasia has done a LOT of work over the last few days chasing and attacking and ELB missed Flèche Wallonne sick and wasn't at her best in Amstel. There's 12 riders chasing, but the elite group has improved its lead to 40".

Orica pulling hard to give Annemiek a chance to get across, while at the same time the cohesion in the front group is going down approaching St-Nicolas, mainly as Kasia, Elisa and Ash want Boels to do the work rather than wipe them out for a 1-2 like in the previous races. 20" gap at the base of St-Nic. And because ASO love women's cycling, they're showing show-jumping on the big screens at the finish.

This Pole sounds like marriage material! And despite her nationality, more Vino like than Majka :D

Show-jumping.....and as if there isn't enough horses in sport on television as it is!

So LS, you actually go and watch many of these races live then? There is no online stream?
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25 Apr 2017 09:20

Good action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rspggVclanA

Anna doing a Philippe; incredible!
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25 Apr 2017 19:22

I'll try and answer as best I can - I watch the races where possible, but obviously this isn't always the case. Flèche and Liège, unfortunately, were two such cases where no live coverage was available. Some race organizers are better than others at providing coverage - obviously the level of coverage depends on whether there are host broadcasters, budgets etc., but at other times a lot just comes down to will. Flanders Classics, in general, are very good, providing alternative live streams online for the women, while ASO aren't as helpful I'm afraid. Even the Women's Tour of Britain, which produces the absolute best package shows of everybody, hour-long highlights broadcasts with full commentary, pre- and post-race interviews and featurettes to allow fans to get to know members of the péloton, doesn't have live broadcasting, although some races have online coverage in a variety of forms (for example Vårgårda has full live coverage of the small laps in the second half of the race but not the large circuit in the first) and others have good live coverage (major championships races, Plouay, de Ronde, Tour of Norway, last year we got the final stage live from Emakumeen Bira - all of which just makes it more frustrating they don't turn the cameras on at Flèche). A lot of the time 'following live' amounts to judicious use of the F5 key, live tickers and various social media; there are a number of people within the pro péloton and race organizing groups that will get live information as-it-happens to the fans, meaning you can get a fuller understanding of how the race progresses than just an official race account. Following that way can be immensely frustrating, but also adds to the tension when you can readily see in your mind's eye what's happening and what will happen but not see it until hours later when the highlights appear online... it is a major frustration, therefore, that you can see full coverage of the women being presented a pan-flat pseudo-crit like RideLondon or the Champs Elysées version of La Course, but this is all the available coverage of what was one of the most epic stages of our times just from following online, coming the day after the Mortirolo and the day before the TT, with Niewiadoma trying to ride the stage solo from the first climb of the day, Abbott (in the maglia rosa) and Stevens (who lost it the previous day) riding across to her on the penultimate climb, a frantic chase ahead of the final climb and then fireworks on that ascent. I'm not going to bag on RAI, though - even if they have reduced the highlights from around 40-45 mins a few years ago back down to 20 mins, they have at the same time moved them onto a channel with a larger audience share, so it's swings and roundabouts.

A strange phenomenon in the point that you make about the comparison to the men being stronger is that for some reason this direct comparison of the strength of the men and women seems to happen much more often with regards road cycling than it does with regards to cyclocross, track cycling and mountain biking, where the women compete on generally the same courses, which gives a much better chance to directly compare them. I find this strange, but at the same time it does play a part in what is a real conundrum for women's cycling fans - is it better to have a calendar which apes the men's, or to protect the races that have tradition in the women's calendar? It's much easier for a new fan to recognize "she won Liège-Bastogne-Liège" as an achievement than "she won the Trofeo Binda" which is a highly prestigious women's race without a men's equivalent - but if the women don't have those standalone events, will that perpetuate their perception as being a warm-up act for the men on the biggest stages? That is a long-standing quandary, and we must be careful for what we wish for.

The lengths and distances of races have been limited by the UCI for some time, although they do seem at the moment to be receptive to longer and tougher events; until recently the maximum average stage distance in a stage race was 100km, which has now increased to 120km (for reference, the equivalent men's limit is 180km). Most major one-day races tended to be around the 130km mark, although we're seeing a few creeping up towards 150km. This is a significant improvement - if you look back in the days of Beryl Burton and Anna Konkina, the World Championships Road Race was only about 60km! I suspect as the professionalism of the péloton improves this will continue to tend upwards slightly (one of the problems has been that the lack of money in women's cycling has restricted the depth of the péloton as few can afford to dedicate themselves full-time to the sport, leading to those few that can inevitably bogarting much of the prize money), but probably never reach same distances overall as the men. In terms of the number of race days, organizing and funding long-form women's stage races has been problematic a lot of the time and indeed the 10-day Giro Rosa is the one surviving Grand Tour that the women have and its prestige is seen as such accordingly; it seems to have reached a comfortable distance that it can maintain. Like the Peace Race it has fluctuated in length - its shortest being 8 days in 1993, longest being 16 stages in 14 days in 2000 - but seems to have settled on the 10-day format in recent years.

What recent years have shown us, however, is that give the women a parcours that is conducive to racing, and they'll produce good racing. We then just have to hope we get to see it.
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Re:

26 Apr 2017 03:39

Libertine Seguros wrote:I'll try and answer as best I can - I watch the races where possible, but obviously this isn't always the case. Flèche and Liège, unfortunately, were two such cases where no live coverage was available. Some race organizers are better than others at providing coverage - obviously the level of coverage depends on whether there are host broadcasters, budgets etc., but at other times a lot just comes down to will. Flanders Classics, in general, are very good, providing alternative live streams online for the women, while ASO aren't as helpful I'm afraid. Even the Women's Tour of Britain, which produces the absolute best package shows of everybody, hour-long highlights broadcasts with full commentary, pre- and post-race interviews and featurettes to allow fans to get to know members of the péloton, doesn't have live broadcasting, although some races have online coverage in a variety of forms (for example Vårgårda has full live coverage of the small laps in the second half of the race but not the large circuit in the first) and others have good live coverage (major championships races, Plouay, de Ronde, Tour of Norway, last year we got the final stage live from Emakumeen Bira - all of which just makes it more frustrating they don't turn the cameras on at Flèche). A lot of the time 'following live' amounts to judicious use of the F5 key, live tickers and various social media; there are a number of people within the pro péloton and race organizing groups that will get live information as-it-happens to the fans, meaning you can get a fuller understanding of how the race progresses than just an official race account. Following that way can be immensely frustrating, but also adds to the tension when you can readily see in your mind's eye what's happening and what will happen but not see it until hours later when the highlights appear online... it is a major frustration, therefore, that you can see full coverage of the women being presented a pan-flat pseudo-crit like RideLondon or the Champs Elysées version of La Course, but this is all the available coverage of what was one of the most epic stages of our times just from following online, coming the day after the Mortirolo and the day before the TT, with Niewiadoma trying to ride the stage solo from the first climb of the day, Abbott (in the maglia rosa) and Stevens (who lost it the previous day) riding across to her on the penultimate climb, a frantic chase ahead of the final climb and then fireworks on that ascent. I'm not going to bag on RAI, though - even if they have reduced the highlights from around 40-45 mins a few years ago back down to 20 mins, they have at the same time moved them onto a channel with a larger audience share, so it's swings and roundabouts.

A strange phenomenon in the point that you make about the comparison to the men being stronger is that for some reason this direct comparison of the strength of the men and women seems to happen much more often with regards road cycling than it does with regards to cyclocross, track cycling and mountain biking, where the women compete on generally the same courses, which gives a much better chance to directly compare them. I find this strange, but at the same time it does play a part in what is a real conundrum for women's cycling fans - is it better to have a calendar which apes the men's, or to protect the races that have tradition in the women's calendar? It's much easier for a new fan to recognize "she won Liège-Bastogne-Liège" as an achievement than "she won the Trofeo Binda" which is a highly prestigious women's race without a men's equivalent - but if the women don't have those standalone events, will that perpetuate their perception as being a warm-up act for the men on the biggest stages? That is a long-standing quandary, and we must be careful for what we wish for.

The lengths and distances of races have been limited by the UCI for some time, although they do seem at the moment to be receptive to longer and tougher events; until recently the maximum average stage distance in a stage race was 100km, which has now increased to 120km (for reference, the equivalent men's limit is 180km). Most major one-day races tended to be around the 130km mark, although we're seeing a few creeping up towards 150km. This is a significant improvement - if you look back in the days of Beryl Burton and Anna Konkina, the World Championships Road Race was only about 60km! I suspect as the professionalism of the péloton improves this will continue to tend upwards slightly (one of the problems has been that the lack of money in women's cycling has restricted the depth of the péloton as few can afford to dedicate themselves full-time to the sport, leading to those few that can inevitably bogarting much of the prize money), but probably never reach same distances overall as the men. In terms of the number of race days, organizing and funding long-form women's stage races has been problematic a lot of the time and indeed the 10-day Giro Rosa is the one surviving Grand Tour that the women have and its prestige is seen as such accordingly; it seems to have reached a comfortable distance that it can maintain. Like the Peace Race it has fluctuated in length - its shortest being 8 days in 1993, longest being 16 stages in 14 days in 2000 - but seems to have settled on the 10-day format in recent years.

What recent years have shown us, however, is that give the women a parcours that is conducive to racing, and they'll produce good racing. We then just have to hope we get to see it.


Thanks for the reply mate. I will be sure to check out the highlights of that Giro stage at some stage (you had me at "Niewiadoma trying to ride the stage solo from the first climb of the day" :D ). I think that much of my discussion (at least at this point since I'm not yet a fan) is probably better suited to a general forum rather than a racing one, but anyway, I'll continue with some hypothesis.

The lack of professionalism/$ in the sport is one factor to the lack of depth in the peloton, but I think it's more than that. Let's say that as a rough estimate, that 10% of European boys dream of becoming professional road cyclists. Or at least 10% that are interested in sport. The other 90% of the talent pool is swept up by football, basketball, athletics, tennis, etc.

But how many girls dream of becoming professional road cyclists? The percentage is surely far less than the boy's (generally speaking boy's are more competitive when it comes to sports than girls, there is a clear difference in the sexes here, not that there are not highly competitive girls and women in sports at all). Let's say that 1% of European girls have some dream of this, approximately 10% of the number of boys who dream the same.

You are hence cutting out 99% of the female talent pool as opposed to 90%. So if we took the current men's peloton, which has about 400 riders on the world tour; what would happen if we suddenly took just a random sample of 40 of those riders? Well, the world tour teams would then have to search the talent pool from the lesser profile professional races, and with even less talent to select from there, be then forced to fill out their rosters with the best available talent from the amateur ranks.

What would then happen when Henao and Wellens attacked with 20 or 30 kms to go in LBL?

The race would be blown apart. Hypothetically we are taking away the best few teammates of the current team leaders, so many (more) of their teammates would not even be in the peloton at the point of this attack, and 90% of the riders who are left will have no energy left to respond.

This is my observation of how the female peloton differs. The best few riders are as good as the male riders (in respect to how good and strong they could possibly be in relation to the varying natural strength of males and females), but the depth isn't there, hence the racing can often be more interesting.

The men's peloton perhaps also had some similarities in bygone eras, when the Merx's of the world would regularly attack 40 plus kms from the finish, and make such a move stick. The men's peloton has of course become much deeper, partly due to $ as well as becoming far more worldwide (there weren't too many Columbians, Brits, Aussies and Americans in the TDF in the '60's....it was mostly just a European sport). So yes, the women's peloton can get deeper if more $ are poured into it, but I still think that it is a little limited in comparison to the men's simply on the basis of sporting desire; this which is more prevalent in boy's then it is girl's. And there are other factors.

I am sure that the girl's who do wish to cycle competitively face - on average - much more of a rough cobblestonned road in regards to being supported and understood with this dream. So I am talking about families with old fashioned views/ideals here. This is changing more and more though, which is great. But for a family with a boy and a girl, when the boy goes out to race his bike, there may very well be at least one family member that questions the girl when she asks if she can race too, that "Shouldn't you be playing hopscotch?"

In addition to all of that, all of us desire to be physically attractive, to some degree. Now a male who crosses the line covered in mud after riding Paris-Roubaix....he might be considered tough and rugged, words that are considered sexy when related to males....not so much when related to females.

This would also be an underlying factor in a sport like tennis being able to attract a larger percentage of the talent pool when it comes to women, for there is almost a little fashion element to it. Guys like me who follow women's tennis will often laugh off the promotion of that, but this could also be a factor in more girls wanting to take up tennis rather than cycling (plus the $ of course), the perception that they can still look pretty whilst playing.

Anyway, this is a rushed post as I'm at work, and there is much more to say and consider on this subject.
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26 Apr 2017 06:07

Fair drop off in girls junior cycling in Oz after J17.
"Apparently" because the girls are more inclined to focus on school years 11 & 12.
Because the cycling 'career' just isn't the option for them as it might be for the boys - even if most of the boys are dreaming

Interestingly a mate of mine involved with football & cricket was saying that women's sport is seen as a growth area because of the unpredictability compared to the men which has become so professional/defensive/predictable. He wasn't talking of cycling but it certainly applies here .
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Re:

27 Apr 2017 03:27

Libertine Seguros wrote:I'll try and answer as best I can - I watch the races where possible, but obviously this isn't always the case. Flèche and Liège, unfortunately, were two such cases where no live coverage was available. Some race organizers are better than others at providing coverage - obviously the level of coverage depends on whether there are host broadcasters, budgets etc., but at other times a lot just comes down to will. Flanders Classics, in general, are very good, providing alternative live streams online for the women, while ASO aren't as helpful I'm afraid. Even the Women's Tour of Britain, which produces the absolute best package shows of everybody, hour-long highlights broadcasts with full commentary, pre- and post-race interviews and featurettes to allow fans to get to know members of the péloton, doesn't have live broadcasting, although some races have online coverage in a variety of forms (for example Vårgårda has full live coverage of the small laps in the second half of the race but not the large circuit in the first) and others have good live coverage (major championships races, Plouay, de Ronde, Tour of Norway, last year we got the final stage live from Emakumeen Bira - all of which just makes it more frustrating they don't turn the cameras on at Flèche). A lot of the time 'following live' amounts to judicious use of the F5 key, live tickers and various social media; there are a number of people within the pro péloton and race organizing groups that will get live information as-it-happens to the fans, meaning you can get a fuller understanding of how the race progresses than just an official race account. Following that way can be immensely frustrating, but also adds to the tension when you can readily see in your mind's eye what's happening and what will happen but not see it until hours later when the highlights appear online... it is a major frustration, therefore, that you can see full coverage of the women being presented a pan-flat pseudo-crit like RideLondon or the Champs Elysées version of La Course, but this is all the available coverage of what was one of the most epic stages of our times just from following online, coming the day after the Mortirolo and the day before the TT, with Niewiadoma trying to ride the stage solo from the first climb of the day, Abbott (in the maglia rosa) and Stevens (who lost it the previous day) riding across to her on the penultimate climb, a frantic chase ahead of the final climb and then fireworks on that ascent. I'm not going to bag on RAI, though - even if they have reduced the highlights from around 40-45 mins a few years ago back down to 20 mins, they have at the same time moved them onto a channel with a larger audience share, so it's swings and roundabouts.

A strange phenomenon in the point that you make about the comparison to the men being stronger is that for some reason this direct comparison of the strength of the men and women seems to happen much more often with regards road cycling than it does with regards to cyclocross, track cycling and mountain biking, where the women compete on generally the same courses, which gives a much better chance to directly compare them. I find this strange, but at the same time it does play a part in what is a real conundrum for women's cycling fans - is it better to have a calendar which apes the men's, or to protect the races that have tradition in the women's calendar? It's much easier for a new fan to recognize "she won Liège-Bastogne-Liège" as an achievement than "she won the Trofeo Binda" which is a highly prestigious women's race without a men's equivalent - but if the women don't have those standalone events, will that perpetuate their perception as being a warm-up act for the men on the biggest stages? That is a long-standing quandary, and we must be careful for what we wish for.

The lengths and distances of races have been limited by the UCI for some time, although they do seem at the moment to be receptive to longer and tougher events; until recently the maximum average stage distance in a stage race was 100km, which has now increased to 120km (for reference, the equivalent men's limit is 180km). Most major one-day races tended to be around the 130km mark, although we're seeing a few creeping up towards 150km. This is a significant improvement - if you look back in the days of Beryl Burton and Anna Konkina, the World Championships Road Race was only about 60km! I suspect as the professionalism of the péloton improves this will continue to tend upwards slightly (one of the problems has been that the lack of money in women's cycling has restricted the depth of the péloton as few can afford to dedicate themselves full-time to the sport, leading to those few that can inevitably bogarting much of the prize money), but probably never reach same distances overall as the men. In terms of the number of race days, organizing and funding long-form women's stage races has been problematic a lot of the time and indeed the 10-day Giro Rosa is the one surviving Grand Tour that the women have and its prestige is seen as such accordingly; it seems to have reached a comfortable distance that it can maintain. Like the Peace Race it has fluctuated in length - its shortest being 8 days in 1993, longest being 16 stages in 14 days in 2000 - but seems to have settled on the 10-day format in recent years.

What recent years have shown us, however, is that give the women a parcours that is conducive to racing, and they'll produce good racing. We then just have to hope we get to see it.


Another subject matter could be, just where are the podium boys? :D

I know all about live tickers as I take an interest in women's soccer in Germany. It is a 12 team league, so there are 6 matches a week. Only one of these is shown via a live stream. The other 5 games just give minor details (even more minor in football I would imagine then in cycling as there is often not much specifically happening) of shots on goal, goals scored, free kicks, yellow cards, etc. All of the games do get shown post match in a highlight package of a few minutes each, so that's something.

Women's football in Australia is similar, with one game a week shown live on television. I would doubt that it rates particularly well, and is shown on the Government station, rather than a privately owned, money driven one.

Women's sport really only receives a similar level of live streaming to the men in tennis, and when it comes to sports events during the Olympic Games. At least in Australia we receive about as much female sport as men during those two weeks; I cannot speak for the rest of the world where it is perhaps different. The main gripe with broadcasting during the Olympics is the decision to show biased coverage in relation to Australians themselves. Whilst one would expect them to show more Aussies than other overseas broadcasters, coverage shouldn't show an Australian in a heat/preliminary match at the expense of non Australians in a final, nor replay something for the tenth time, at the expense of showing only 10% of another final.

I swear that if you watched all the replays of the 100 metres, that it would go for longer than the coverage given to the 10,000 metres :p

Regarding the strength comparison of men and women in the endurance side of things with road cycling, maybe an issue is also a general time allocation one. So if the men's stage starts at 11am and finishers at 5pm, maybe the women's race has to be shorter to accommodate that? Given the fact that the areas post finish line that are occupied by the female teams, then have to be cleared out for the men's teams, and that the women race slower, so that a 6 hour race for the men might be a 7 hour race for the women; maybe this makes it logistically too difficult to give the women the same distance to race over?

The perception about the women being a "warm up act" for the men is an interesting one, when they have the same event. I think that for them to have the same events (mostly) will be more beneficial than not, given the potential crossover audience from those there to watch the men's race. I think that tennis is always the best example to revert to in women's sport, and these days I don't think that most people view the women's event as a warm up or lesser event to the men's, even though the grand slam for the women's final still always proceeds the men's. I think that a lot of people enjoy watching women's tennis, but not enough to attend an event without the men (if you look at the crowds for a lot of stand alone WTA events - apart from the WTA Finals in Singapore - they are very low, with empty seats everywhere). It's doubtful that many potential fans will attend a stand alone women's cycling road race, but interest might be achieved by men's fans who happen to accidentally catch some of the interesting women's race during the Ardennes week, should they happen to also rip their eyes away from the intoxicating action taking place in the show-jumping of course.

As for the current calendar in general, a 10 day Giro event sounds pretty good, as despite not being as long as the men's (because of course women couldn't possibly survive a three week event :rolleyes: ), it would cover an area that is arguably lacking in the men's calendar, a week and a half race. Well, imo a two week race would be better, but 10 days is still pretty decent.

If they are putting a decent amount of ITT kms in then they'd be doing something else better than the men too!
User avatar gregrowlerson
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Re:

27 Apr 2017 03:35

swuzzlebubble wrote:Fair drop off in girls junior cycling in Oz after J17.
"Apparently" because the girls are more inclined to focus on school years 11 & 12.
Because the cycling 'career' just isn't the option for them as it might be for the boys - even if most of the boys are dreaming

Interestingly a mate of mine involved with football & cricket was saying that women's sport is seen as a growth area because of the unpredictability compared to the men which has become so professional/defensive/predictable. He wasn't talking of cycling but it certainly applies here .


The drop off in late teenage years is also due to natural human attractions. If you think about horrible American movie stereotypes, they still apply to some degree of for example, the hot-shot male basketballer or grid-iron player, being cheered on (and screamed at) by his girlfriend (plus other girls). You don't get this same effect on the boy's when they watch the girl's play (well, unless you are Eugene Bouchard let's say).

This may also partly explain why a larger percentage of gay women play sport, though I am possibly going even more off tangent here.

Yeah, in Australia women's sport is growing. Both cricket (20/20) and Aussie Rules (football) now have their own leagues. Admittedly still very minor events compared to the men's (and no way will women's football ever make it to the proportions of the men's here), but it's a start. It is more unpredictable, though I don't know if that helps the spectacle in other sports. In cycling it probably does.
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