The Women's Road Racing Thread 2016

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Agreed. I'm pretty irate about the whole thing. They moved to April to try to safeguard a field after the UCI promoted the North American races to WT close to their slot, then found a nice spot that increased exposure for the race, sitting as preparation for Flèche and allowing them to use the proximity to the men's Itzulia to promote the race, and they got increased coverage as well, and then suddenly kaboom, it could be killed. They probably can't swap it around either, I thought maybe going a week after Liège, but then that would clash with the GP Elsy Jacobs which is also well established, first week of May would be the best we could hope for on that front but then that extends the hilly racing season to three weeks and all-rounder riders who've peaked through Classics season may well then not ride. If they do run in April it could well be that they get absolutely 0 previous winners show up - Johansson's retired, Vos and Niewiadoma ride for a Dutch team so AGR would be more important and they don't have the numbers to split the team and do two races simultaneously (not to mention that both have won on the Cauberg in high profile races before), which only leaves us with PFP and Lichtenberg as active riders, both of whom would probably be among their teams' best options in the Ardennes so wouldn't be dispatched to Spain...

van den Veen thinks that the UCI are only announcing La Course as a one day race now, so that ASO can announce the multi-day race when the Tour presentation is done.

This had better be a proper damned mountainous stage race, Prudhomme.

Also Bronzini DNS in Doha, she's sick. Takes one of the bigger victory candidates out of the running.
 
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GuyIncognito said:
Libertine Seguros said:
This had better be a proper damned mountainous stage race, Prudhomme.
Good luck with that.
I know. And that's the most frustrating thing. We're killing off and mutilating long-running standalone races for tag-on races.

And even if it is a legit GT-esque race in scope, it would be awesome, but it won't be the Emakumeen Bira. It won't have the history to it.

What I'd really rather they have done is use the Champs Elysees day as day one, and then have ASO buy out the Route de France which runs just after Le Tour, and do it as a one week, 8 stage mini-GT the week AFTER the Tour, piggybacking the audience crossover from the end of the men's race. Otherwise we're going to have the stage race version of La Course, then a week's gap, then the Route de France (which is still on the calendar so at least one stage race with mountains is escaping the cull) with some of its stages in similar areas, or worse, the race has to move from some of its favoured areas as those towns are hosting ASO's race instead.

The other thing is that maybe if there was a way to blend those Basque races together. The issue is that Amorebieta is the day after the Itzulia finishes which prevents a bit of flexibility. If they could run both Amorebieta and the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria on the same day (since both use the same climbs and pass through one another's towns, this could be a logistical challenge but is at least possible) they could perhaps reinstate the split stage to the Emakumeen Bira and hold it as a five stage, four day race from Tuesday to Friday as it was a few years ago rather than the five day format with a prologue in Iurreta from recent years, allowing riders then a day off to travel and rest before Amstel Gold on Sunday. The other option would be to hold Durango-Durango on the Monday, and have Amorebieta host the Klasika Primavera on Tuesday along with the first stage of Bira using similar roads, like the amazing final stage in 2015 around Markina which followed the route of the men's País Vasco stage.

The other option would be to subsume the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria into the Emakumeen Bira as a stage, like happened to the Subida al Naranco in the Vuelta a Asturias. I would prefer this not to happen after having seen how Asturias has shrunk, but it could be part of the five stages in four days as the organizers are the same. The only other thing maybe they could do would be put the race after San Sebastián, as the crossover between the women likely to target Bira and the women likely to target RideLondon, the only WWT race in that slot, is pretty limited. It might then be splitting its field with the Route de France though, unless that has to move later to avoid conflict with La Course if the latter becomes a stage race.
 
Bronzini sick and not starting. Had to change my ew punt to Lepisto...

Also a patriotic pound ew on Hannah Barnes, although no doubt she'll be made to kill herself for Lizzie, and a couple of quid ew on Dideriksen. Small win bet on Wild..
 
Peter van der Veen on Amstel Gold and the new WWT calendar.

An excellent read which concurs with many of my concerns about the direction of development. He also points out that along with the Emakumeen Bira, the same fate has befallen Dwars door de Westhoek; the Omloop van Borsele (and its attached non-UCI but nevertheless prestigious Borsele ITT, one of the few European standalone TT events of any great length for women) will need to move to Saturday to make room for LBL, and the Omloop van de IJsseldelta and Ronde van Gelderland are both Dutch races that need to move midweek to make space for AGR as well. Some of the key quotes:

"Suddenly [when Boels became a sponsor] Van Vliet said a women’s AGR is possible and all issues have been solved. Personally this gives me reason to doubts to how long this race will be on the calendar when Boels quits their sponsoring."

"If AGR disappears in a few years it will have done more damage than good for the sport"

The key section in my opinion is this:
"What the sport needs is a extensive calendar, and not a WWT-only calendar where women ride in advance of the men’s race to warm the crowd. There is a limit to the number of WWT races we can have at this moment. Calling for every big men’s race to have a women’s race too is not helping in my opinion. The strength of women’s cycling is also measured in the capabilities of having their own Classic races. I personally would call it a weakness if every women’s race is just a copy of the men’s race. Secondlym in the end some the current new WWT races will be moved to a lower level and because these new races are only interested in economic value they might not want to do that and just quit."

I have lobbied at times for women's versions of some men's race, but there is an element of "be careful what you wish for" about that, definitely. The women's World Tour does not have the depth of the men's; in the men's calendar it's ok if races clash, squads have 25 riders or so, you can rotate them. That's simply not possible for the women; Cervélo-Bigla managed this season with just 9 riders, only 8 at one point, after Small moved to Cylance in July and before they hired Ciara Horne in late August. They can't send the B-squad to Bira or Gelderland. Instantly elevating women's versions of men's races to the WWT at the expense of threatening the existence of races that have shown they can exist without the coverage - like Bira or Thüringen - is not a great way to go about it, because as is pointed out, if these races are not established they could just as easily fall by the wayside as soon as their level is not that great, or the sponsor with an interest in women's cycling pulls out, or the local star's success dries up. And then we will need the established and traditional races to pick up the pieces, so we don't want to kill them off. Gent-Wevelgem shows the way you SHOULD go about things. They brought in the women's race as a fairly low level race and established it with a decent field to the point where it proved its sustainability and could be elevated. And of course the other point van der Veen makes which is excellent is that, at the majority of these coterminous races, the women's race is basically used as a warm-up. Hell, at Flèche Wallonne, one of the most prestigious of all women's races, ASO (there's those champions of women's cycling once again...) don't even switch the fricking cameras on. At least RCS and Flanders Classics are trying. Only at a couple of events are the women's races the main event, and those are ones like the Ronde van Drenthe where the women's race is an established classic and the men's race a relatively minor 1.1 race.

For a long time I've argued that coterminous events is a way to go to help improve the audience and the esteem in which women's cycling is held. I still think that, but it has to be introduced the right way for it to work, and crowbaring the events in short-term like this is not that way, in my opinion. I still think it's a fair end game, but like with Gent-Wevelgem which I think is a very good example of how this should work, patience is required to develop it to the point where the women's races are organically developed parts of the event. As things stand, I would expect Flèche remains the most important women's Ardennes race, because it's got history which the others still need to develop, which is why the threat they pose to races that do have that history is an issue. Plouay does things well I think, has the two races on separate days so they are each a main event in their own right to a day's programming.
 
Have to say I didn't think of Diederiksen as a possible winner a single time all day
Also surprised Deignan sprinted. I was expecting Barnes.

Still, neither was as big a surprise as seeing Lepistö smile. That's a rare, rare sight.
 
Awww, I like Lotta, I was really happy for her.

I also think Hannah would have been the best option for Great Britain, but at the same time, we're used to the myopic view of all-in-for-the-star from British Cycling, Lizzie is the defending champion and has a decent turn of pace of her own so if she was feeling good yesterday she probably had the position to justifiably pull rank. I know Dideriksen has a pretty useful turn of pace but I thought she'd need a more technical finish than that to beat the elite sprinting field judging from her showings earlier in the season.

Now here's a new question for you: Boels-Dolmans now look even more dominant than they did previously, and even more stacked for 2017, but how does this affect their race planning? For much of the season Amalie has been a domestique, her talent making her a rider of choice at most of the big races but her youth and the level of talent stacked in that one team meaning she's low on the totem pole and therefore used as a helper, in much the same way as Thalita de Jong has been by Rabo-Liv. Now, however, as the reigning World Champion surely she has the right to demand some races where she can take a more prominent role in the team's priorities? Not to mention that while they have several riders with a good turn of pace and who can win in a sprint, the one thing Boels lacks is a bonanza sprinter, having beaten the elite sprinting field in Doha, should they now be using the likes of Blaaki and Lizzie to help lead out Amalie in the sprint in some races?
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
Awww, I like Lotta, I was really happy for her.
I think everyone was. I was just poking fun at her very finnish stone face.


Libertine Seguros said:
Now here's a new question for you: Boels-Dolmans now look even more dominant than they did previously, and even more stacked for 2017, but how does this affect their race planning? For much of the season Amalie has been a domestique, her talent making her a rider of choice at most of the big races but her youth and the level of talent stacked in that one team meaning she's low on the totem pole and therefore used as a helper, in much the same way as Thalita de Jong has been by Rabo-Liv. Now, however, as the reigning World Champion surely she has the right to demand some races where she can take a more prominent role in the team's priorities? Not to mention that while they have several riders with a good turn of pace and who can win in a sprint, the one thing Boels lacks is a bonanza sprinter, having beaten the elite sprinting field in Doha, should they now be using the likes of Blaaki and Lizzie to help lead out Amalie in the sprint in some races?

The one indian left has just become a chief, in other words.

I don't see a way they can possibly make it work. Especially with personalities like Stevens and van Dijk no longer there to temper the mood. I see it blowing up by midseason, which can only be good for the racing.
 
Two major disappointments ( from the women's side ) at the World's - Woman's RR avoided the desert which would have lead to a better race - Britain failing to send Junior teams to the Worlds which is unfathomable.
 
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Nobody does unfathomable like British Cycling.

Having said that, I think Barnes H may not be at top sprinting form right now, and lizzie was thereabouts. So possibly fair enough. Hannah's best results this year have been TTs, maybe still lacking some top end in this comeback season.

I should also mention Abby-Mae Parkinson, who I rudely singled out as less deserving of a place than Lucy Garner. She got back after a slow wheel change and worked a bit, fair play. Still think Garner should have been there though, on results and experience.
 


Today's Nieuwsblad

It all went wrong on the long Pearl Boulevard. Jolien D'Hoore stood just too far on the last U-turn and to start her sprint comfortably. Lotte Kopecky tried to bring her back to the front but in the meantime the Dutch sprint train for Kirsten Wild was already at full speed, just like the Australian one. Jolien refused to point the finger to teammates even though Valerie Demey thought that Belgium lacked a wagon

They did a great job. I only have to blame myself.
Said the very disappointed top sprinter.

The leading lady of Belgian cycling was supported by four riders to chase breakaways and Lotte Kopecky as lead out in the finale. Kopecky did everything to help Belgium with D'Hoore but blew out in the final 2k.

I was in about 20th place. I reckoned I could take the wheels of the German girls but in the end I had to do it all by myself whereby I started my sprint before it really began.
Jolien started and finished the sprint in 10th place. She gave a punch on her bars out of disappointment and frustration.

Shame, I should have started the early started sprint in 3rd or 4th place. Today was all about Kirsten Wild's wheel. Dideriksen had it. Amalie is still a surprising World champion for me but at the same time not reall. Hats off, she's a very strong Dane. She als raced the omnium in Rio where she was 5th ut I et wouldn't have expected her in rainbow
Jolien is expected in Paris for the Euro track Championships next Wednesday. The author of the article is talking about a memorable season with Olympic bronze and that Madrid farce but Jolien adds, unfortunately no World title. "That was still one of the two main objectives of the year." She was very hard against herself, says the journalist.
 
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I think the Australians and Dutch have more reason for disappointment, but not Jolien's best day. And Tommeke didn't come in either, but the men will fare better in Bergen, Innsbruck and Yorkshire than the women I think.
 
Kirsten Wild did nothing wrong, was just edged on the day. Earlier in the race she had the minor crash and then I think she subsequently dropped back again for a mechanical/puncture. Maybe in the conditions the work to chase back on a couple of times just took a fraction off her sprint.
 
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Andy262 said:
Kirsten Wild did nothing wrong, was just edged on the day. Earlier in the race she had the minor crash and then I think she subsequently dropped back again for a mechanical/puncture. Maybe in the conditions the work to chase back on a couple of times just took a fraction off her sprint.
She went too early.
On one hand her leadout left her in the wind too early, but it's understandable as they were all likely exhausted from the heat and from covering moves earlier on.

She as much as said that she went too early, but it seems to me that the alternative was to bog down and have to start the sprint from a slower speed, which would've been even worse, especially for her particular characteristics

It's impossible to have a well drilled leadout without a lot of practice and these riders aren't even usually teammates. There's no one to blame, it just happens. Sprints are chaotic and luck is a big factor.
 
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Re: Re:

GuyIncognito said:
Andy262 said:
Kirsten Wild did nothing wrong, was just edged on the day. Earlier in the race she had the minor crash and then I think she subsequently dropped back again for a mechanical/puncture. Maybe in the conditions the work to chase back on a couple of times just took a fraction off her sprint.
She went too early.
On one hand her leadout left her in the wind too early, but it's understandable as they were all likely exhausted from the heat and from covering moves earlier on.

She as much as said that she went too early, but it seems to me that the alternative was to bog down and have to start the sprint from a slower speed, which would've been even worse, especially for her particular characteristics

It's impossible to have a well drilled leadout without a lot of practice and these riders aren't even usually teammates. There's no one to blame, it just happens. Sprints are chaotic and luck is a big factor.
I agree with that. I say the Dutch will be disappointed because they were favourites and had the quality to win that race in other ways too, but I don’t think they made a particular mess of it… although their constant attacks earlier on look a bit pointless in hindsight.
 
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I think I preferred the Champs, at least that was a proper criterium. Still, within the context of ASO providing a token day out – and massive coverage – for women’s cycling, it’s nice that some different riders will be represented at the front.

What’s going on with Thuringen now? Confused.
 
After the expectation that at least a short stage race was planned after the Thüringen news, it's a bit of a slap in the face which, in conjunction with the Tour route, is pretty frustrating. The fact that it is harmful to a long-established women's race also helps of course perpetuates the position that Van der Veen commented on, that for the time being at least the women's races are essentially something to warm up the crowd before the main event of the men's event later on, the same as Amstel Gold threatens the existence of one of the oldest stage races on the calendar (ASO perhaps can't help the fact that the UCI neglected to tell the organizers of these historic races of the calendar problems until they'd spent a lot of their funding on arranging the races, of course). Thüringen have been told they have to move two days of their race at least, I think, they were planning to start on the Saturday after the Giro finished on the Sunday before, which would run them until the Friday, with the Izoard stage - and consequently La Course - being on the Thursday. Obviously they probably need to move more because riders aren't going to want to go direct from Thüringen, a highly prestigious but NOT World Tour race, without a single break, and take on what may be the toughest single climbing day of the year (pending Giro route).

However, I'm going to try to be a bit more glass half full, having been so down on the sport of late, and I will say that this does go SOME way to redress the balance of the WWT, which has been very short on races for climbers; even most of the stage races, the Giro aside, have favoured the same kind of riders favoured by the one-day races, so an all out climbing war of a race is something I can get behind. I just wish they could have done a bit more given the way it's affected the calendar... although perhaps now it leaves room for the Emakumeen Bira to start at the weekend after La Course, hey? Run between La Course and the Clásica San Sebastián... that could work, you know...
 
Hopefully Thüringen can run the Tirreno-Adriatico Wednesday - Tuesday route, but the amount of big names willing to do Giro - Thüringen - La Course will undoubtedly be few. They aren't helped by one of the biggest names who tends not to race the Giro - Emma Johansson - retiring, although they'll still have the likes of Brennauer. Cecchini is defending champ and would have little reason to do La Course finishing on Izoard so would probably still go to Thüringen, but if they can't move the dates around to match that, they could be in trouble.

Also, I look forward to some team signing Kiesenhofer as a pinch-hitter after her Mont Ventoux win this year, albeit against a less strong field than we can expect at La Course. Also, would it have killed them to let the women descend back into Briançon and finish on the wall in the city? That would be a much more interesting race, although I guess the descent road is probably going to be crammed with the race gear heading up for the men's finish. Why we couldn't have had this five years ago with Pooley and Abbott in their primes...although in fairness it might have just been worth nobody else starting in a one day race finishing on an HC mountain in those days, and just leave the two to fight it out amongst themselves...
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Hopefully Thüringen can run the Tirreno-Adriatico Wednesday - Tuesday route, but the amount of big names willing to do Giro - Thüringen - La Course will undoubtedly be few. They aren't helped by one of the biggest names who tends not to race the Giro - Emma Johansson - retiring, although they'll still have the likes of Brennauer. Cecchini is defending champ and would have little reason to do La Course finishing on Izoard so would probably still go to Thüringen, but if they can't move the dates around to match that, they could be in trouble.

Also, I look forward to some team signing Kiesenhofer as a pinch-hitter after her Mont Ventoux win this year, albeit against a less strong field than we can expect at La Course. Also, would it have killed them to let the women descend back into Briançon and finish on the wall in the city? That would be a much more interesting race, although I guess the descent road is probably going to be crammed with the race gear heading up for the men's finish. Why we couldn't have had this five years ago with Pooley and Abbott in their primes...although in fairness it might have just been worth nobody else starting in a one day race finishing on an HC mountain in those days, and just leave the two to fight it out amongst themselves...
They're being used to warm up the MTF crowd, can't expect ASO to put any actual effort into planning a decent route. They could care less about the actual race or the result. It's a massive backwards step as far as I'm concerned.
 
Re: Re:

King Boonen said:
Libertine Seguros said:
Hopefully Thüringen can run the Tirreno-Adriatico Wednesday - Tuesday route, but the amount of big names willing to do Giro - Thüringen - La Course will undoubtedly be few. They aren't helped by one of the biggest names who tends not to race the Giro - Emma Johansson - retiring, although they'll still have the likes of Brennauer. Cecchini is defending champ and would have little reason to do La Course finishing on Izoard so would probably still go to Thüringen, but if they can't move the dates around to match that, they could be in trouble.

Also, I look forward to some team signing Kiesenhofer as a pinch-hitter after her Mont Ventoux win this year, albeit against a less strong field than we can expect at La Course. Also, would it have killed them to let the women descend back into Briançon and finish on the wall in the city? That would be a much more interesting race, although I guess the descent road is probably going to be crammed with the race gear heading up for the men's finish. Why we couldn't have had this five years ago with Pooley and Abbott in their primes...although in fairness it might have just been worth nobody else starting in a one day race finishing on an HC mountain in those days, and just leave the two to fight it out amongst themselves...
They're being used to warm up the MTF crowd, can't expect ASO to put any actual effort into planning a decent route. They could care less about the actual race or the result. It's a massive backwards step as far as I'm concerned.
about the downhill to Briancon and the wall into the town.

you know the Tour usually avoids, if they can, the national roads.
closing the traffic on the downhill (used by the men´s buses and the public) would be hard.
they are using the N94 from Briancon to Guillestre, the men start earlier, and the main road will remain closed for a long time. it takes a big effort also for the gendarmes.
they are trying this new uphill version, on a great climb.
let´s see how it goes
 

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