2020...2021 Olympic Women's Road Race, Tokyo, 137 KM

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I think this comes down to the stage of development the women's sport is at, feeling the need to prove itself as a serious sport, something people should spend their time and money on, especially in the face of doubters like those on this thread. If Manchester United's men lost to Halifax in a cup final that would be amazing, if the same happened for the women the sport would be a laughing stock.

I agree though that for people who don't follow cycling - most of the audience today, this is a great story. For those who follow men's cycling, maybe not so much.
If ManU lost to Halifax, and the first thing Harry Maguire said to the press after walking off the pitch was “I thought we won, I couldn’t see the scoreboard,” the English FA would be the laughing stock of the sporting world. (And so would Maguire, tbf).
 
before you start placing comically large balloon arrows pointing where to look to know the race situation, it would be worthwile examining if this wasnt caused simply by bad blood in Dutch team, or maybe not even bad blood just riding for yourself - in mens race even tho you can criticize Belgium tactics, you cannot question their commitment towards one rider
I don't know if there's bad blood so to speak (although if Vos honestly did know and withheld this information, as AVV and AVDB clearly didn't, then this does speak to there being some), but certainly there's the issue that with AVV being 38 with unfinished business after her accident in Rio, and AVDB retiring with the Olympics being the planned swansong as well as being the defending champion, there's certainly some potential for things to get contentious if either are asked to work for the other. Demi Vollering is several years younger than the rest of the team and will have more future opportunities barring something unexpected, and I think it's interesting that she hasn't opined on the situation or, if she has, little attention has been paid to it, seeing as she was clearly the one designated by the team to be the workhorse.
quite baffled why Vos thinks 'I refused to help my team win gold' is a better defence than saying 'I didn't know either'
Vos' interview was several minutes after AVV/AVDB did theirs, so a bit more of the dust had settled by that time. I wondered if she was perhaps trying to protect some of the people in the car a bit, especially since she'll probably continue to work with them. Otherwise, it makes her look selfish and vindictive, which isn't an impression I've usually got of Marianne. Then again, I never got the impression of Annemiek of being ungracious and bitter earlier in her career, especially considering she certainly could have harboured a lot of resentment about the previous Olympics, but she completely went off on one, trashing Kiesenhofer implicitly and throwing organisers and team under the bus.
 
Wasn’t there one of these above the finish line at ~20km to go?
I don't know (I didn't notice it).

I do know they have these things at cyclocross in Belgium (one of the series of races that makes a competition is based on time bonuses, so whoever comes past the time recording first, gets the amount of seconds on the second rider etc.).

So it shouldn't be difficult / expensive to install and it would be enough as a reference to know at least how far the front of the race is away. You could even take the transponder information, and have times + names of riders on a big screen.
I can understand that riders complain if there was a lack of neutral communication (from the moto for example) about time gaps, but while it could be improved, ultimately I think it's still up to the riders to at least have an idea about the number of riders still on the road, and if they have no clue, they should evaluate (as a team) if it's worth sending someone back to the team car, or if it's worth investing in more soigneurs along the roadside, for example.
 
The good thing about no radios is that you have to keep track of these things yourself and that you have to keep everyone who has passed you at some point in check. In the end that means riding after that person if you're not totally sure about the gap. I wouldn't want more infos for the riders, I think it's great without them.
The main problem is probably that these riders are not used to riding that way.
I wish we could have races without radios and constant information all the time, but of course that's just illusionary in these times; usually they would have spectators at the road telling them and the more popular riders might even have an advantage.

If you are used to this kind of racing you make sure you get that info, it's reliable, and you pass it on. If you feel you don't get those important infos or they aren't fully reliable, you race until you see the person in front. Of course that still doesn't help if nobody in your team can count.
 
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Jul 30, 2016
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I believe people here underestimates the negative impact this has on woman cycling. My daughter races as one of the only young girls in the club and as already barely a side attraction at race days. I have spent so much energy attracting sponsors and trying to get the same attention as the juniors receive, mainly talking about the mental aspect of cycling and how it's very comparable to tennis, badminton and handball. Sports with barely any sexism in Denmark. This is the biggest scene, it's not a single stage in the giro.

All the articles focus on the inability to communicate and count to 3. They are making the single most important race in 5 years sound like a under 9 city circuit fun race.

Nobody would mind a breakaway being too strong, but the few professionals in the world not even racing is a horrible story.
 
In the end, Kiesenhofer won this race, and deservedly so. She didn't luck out. She had the guts to go with the break and persist, and then also had the legs to launch solo with a big part of the course still ahead. That's how the race was won. Now, how the race was lost may or may not be a separate issue. Maybe giving the break a 10-minute gap was sufficient to spell doom for the GC favorites regardless of what the reduced group of leaders may have tried to do later, with 40 or so kilometers left. With the group's particular composition of egos and hopefuls, and the reduced size of national teams compared to world tour teams in professional races, there may have been no realistic way to bring the gap to Kiesenhofer back, even if everyone knew she was out there on her own today. Sure, if all the Dutch riders knew Kiesenhofer was up the road and were willing to sacrifice their own chances for a single Dutch rider (say, van Vleuten), they could have taken turns pulling the lead group and blowing themselves up enough (maybe) to bring Kiesenhofer back. Or, if the leading national squads were all willing to work together to reel in Anna K., they probably/maybe could have brought her back. But how realistic is that? I don't know. I'm not sure that, with 40 K to go, the gap to Anna would have been brought back even if everyone in the lead group knew she was up the road. I think maybe the whole group of leading GC favorites got "Van Vleutened" by Anna K. . . . even van Vleuten.
 
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I believe people here underestimates the negative impact this has on woman cycling. My daughter races as one of the only young girls in the club and as already barely a side attraction at race days. I have spent so much energy attracting sponsors and trying to get the same attention as the juniors receive, mainly talking about the mental aspect of cycling and how it's very comparable to tennis, badminton and handball. Sports with barely any sexism in Denmark. This is the biggest scene, it's not a single stage in the giro.

All the articles focus on the inability to communicate and count to 3. They are making the single most important race in 5 years sound like a under 9 city circuit fun race.

Nobody would mind a breakaway being too strong, but the few professionals in the world not even racing is a horrible story.
It is quite embarrassing for a few people, not only for the riders but also for the people in the car and others who should have prepared the team and led out plans -and also for the organizers.

Anyway, embarrassing things happen in a lot of men's races, too, so why would they not happen in women's races?
 
In the end, Kiesenhofer won this race, and deservedly so. She didn't luck out. She had the guts to go with the break and persist, and then launch solo with a big part of the course still ahead. That's how the race was won. Now, how the race was lost may or may not be a separate issue. Maybe giving the break a 10-minute gap was sufficient to spell doom for the GC favorites regardless of what the reduced group of leaders may have tried to do later, with 40 or so kilometers left. With the group's particular composition of egos and hopefuls, and the reduced size of national teams compared to world tour teams in professional races, there may have been no realistic way to bring the gap to Kiesenhofer back, even if everyone knew she was out there on her own today. Sure, if all the Dutch riders knew Kiesenhofer was up the road and were willing to sacrifice their own chances for a single Dutch rider (say, van Vleuten), they could have taken turns pulling the lead group and blowing themselves up enough (maybe) to bring Kiesenhofer back. Or, if the leading national squads were all willing to work together to reel in Anna K., they probably/maybe could have brought her back. But how realistic is that? I don't know. I'm not sure that, with 40 K to go, the gap to Anna would have been brought back even if everyone in the lead group knew she was up the road. I think maybe the whole group of leading GC favorites got "Van Vleutened" . . . even van Vleuten.
I don't know when exactly I tuned in, but the gap was about 6 1/2 minutes or so, and I thought it really needed to go down soon, but the peloton didn't bother, there were a few minor attacks, then looking at each other... for a long time. Then the gap went down, slowly, and I was like - uh, why don't they ever do something about it? Did they mess it up and it's too late already? Is it just that I know nothing about women's cycling and the calculations have to be made differently? (Probably true in part.)
Anyway, the peloton didn't bother for a long time. And the mechanics of this are not too different from the men's race. There are a few big favourites, in this case most of them on one team - "damn, if we want to have a chance for even a medal, we need to make them work". But the Dutch had four more or less leaders and weren't willing to sacrifice one of them until very late.

Kiesenhofer was really, really strong. But her win, like Carapaz's, wouldn't have been possible if there had been a joint and decided effort to bring her back, time gaps and everything not even mattering in that regard.
 
I don't know when exactly I tuned in, but the gap was about 6 1/2 minutes or so, and I thought it really needed to go down soon, but the peloton didn't bother, there were a few minor attacks, then looking at each other... for a long time. Then the gap went down, slowly, and I was like - uh, why don't they ever do something about it? Did they mess it up and it's too late already? Is it just that I know nothing about women's cycling and the calculations have to be made differently? (Probably true in part.)
Anyway, the peloton didn't bother for a long time. And the mechanics of this are not too different from the men's race. There are a few big favourites, in this case most of them on one team - "damn, if we want to have a chance for even a medal, we need to make them work". But the Dutch had four more or less leaders and weren't willing to sacrifice one of them until very late.

Kiesenhofer was really, really strong. But her win, like Carapaz's, wouldn't have been possible if there had been a joint and decided effort to bring her back, time gaps and everything not even mattering in that regard.
This is exactly how I felt watching the race. I was completely baffled as to why they let the break just dangle out there. But there was one difference from the men's race - there wasn't a monster climb where the peloton could easily take back 5 minutes on a tiring break.

It does seem that there was some kind of communications breakdown if a significant number of riders, including AVV didn't know Kiesenhofer was up there. If AVV was the only one, then sure, it's all on her.

But now the whole world is reading articles like this that make it seem like AVV was just a goofball when I think the situation was more complicated. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/25/sports/olympics/cycling-olympics-anamiek-van-vleuten.html
 
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If ManU lost to Halifax, and the first thing Harry Maguire said to the press after walking off the pitch was “I thought we won, I couldn’t see the scoreboard,” the English FA would be the laughing stock of the sporting world. (And so would Maguire, tbf).
Pretty sure that has actually happened in hurling before but at least that is officially an amateur mistake in an amateur sport
 
I don't blame other riders for not riding for the Dutch team at all. It was up to them to control it, and they didn't.

If anything, it was pointless to bring both Vos and Vollering for a potential sprint finish if you're gonna try to solo with Van Vleuten or Van der Breggen anyway.
To be fair Vollering is less one dimensional than Vos (these day at least)
Pretty sure that has actually happened in hurling before but at least that is officially an amateur mistake in an amateur sport
It happens in boxing all the time ;)
 
I sense the Olympic spirit to be a little lacking.

I was happy for the underdog victory but a bit sad about the circumstances.

I'd like to thank the absurdly stacked Dutch team and their Warnockesque crying in the press for making me completely forget about any of that nonsense. Big props to the Austrian, a lot of note fumbling and hasty PCS visits going on at the end there.
 
The Dutch were clearly victims of their own (pre-race) success, as well as the arrogance problem that others have noted. When I tuned in, the break was 6-7 minutes up the road and peloton was expecting -- demanding, even -- that the team in orange take it up. This they failed to do in any meaningful way. No one else wanted to drag the Dutch to the finish, just as no one wanted drag Wout to the gold medal the day before.

Then AvV attacks and tries to bridge the gap. Not sure who the commentators were on the feed here in Canada, but, like the peloton, they assumed the Dutch woman would magically bridge a 6-minute gap. They predicted gold for her, with 50km to go. and they kept at it, even as the clock showed that she made almost no headway after trimming 1 minute or so. As the kms ticked down and the gap stayed the same, the writing was already on the wall for anyone willing to see.

IOW, there is plenty of blame to go around. It's a pity that a gutsy, "hard woman" ride by the actual winner has been obscured by this backstory. She had the pedigree, if not the media profile or the recent race results, and she rolled the dice and followed it up. I say, well done and great racing on her part.
 
To be fair Vollering is less one dimensional than Vos (these day at least)


It happens in boxing all the time ;)
The thing is, I don't know if it was loyalty to their charges, disquiet within the team or what, but they never wanted to commit anybody other than Demi to the chase, Demi isn't really a time trialist, certainly not compared to AVV and Anna VDB, and she's certainly not a "pull six minutes back on her own" time trialist. That's just not playing to her strengths, but with what happened in Rio I can't imagine the thought even crossed the mind of the DSes to have Annemiek and Anna ride to control the break for Demi, even if Anna's been willing to do that for SD Worx. Sure, it might have been smarter in retrospect to have brought van Dijk or Brand or Pieters as a workhorse instead, but the four women they took currently rank 1, 2, 4 and 6 on CQ, and 1, 2, 3 and 5 on the WWT. The lowest ranked on CQ is Vos, and the lowest ranked on the WWT is van der Breggen (no, really). Vollering currently leads the WWT, and with her wins in Liège and at La Course has won the last two high profile one-dayers on a similar kind of finishing profile. The most logical name to leave out would have been Vos on that basis, but even then she's the obvious best weapon in a sprint and she's only, you know, Marianne Vos. Then you have the problem that you're going to have competing goals because the only one of those that even the guys in the car thought was expendable was Demi, and that's probably more only because of the others having seniority over her. Other teams that don't have the same strength in depth could afford to take a rider or two who knew they were only there to be helpers but making it to the Olympics would be honour enough - but with the Dutch having such weapons in their arsenal, it's not like many other teams were going to commit to help the chase, especially given one of the key candidates to do so - the Poles - managed to circumvent that requirement by having Plichta in the break.
 

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