The Women's Road Racing Thread 2016

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Hey, I among others had hoped for some more mountainous races to be added to the WWT, and although at a very disappointing length (66km!!! Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio has already given a cautiously-worded complaint about the lack of distance and the single-day nature) nobody can deny that finishing atop the Col d'Izoard makes this a mountainous race and one that really favours the climbers. And I among others had hoped for some more high profile men's races to pick up the baton and let the women race.

I just think the way they've gone about it is absolutely terrible. After all, I assume this has been planned for some time, would it have killed the UCI to serve notice to the organizers of the Thüringen Rundfahrt more than two days before the 2017 calendar was announced? Same with Amstel Gold. Gent-Wevelgem was started as a 1.2 race and built up until the women's race had built up enough interest; if the UCI were intending to make Amstel Gold a WT race from the get-go, could they not have reasonably given the Emakumeen Bira some advance warning, rather than telling them "there's some free space in the calendar in February, you should go there"? And if it hasn't been planned for some time and the UCI really were given next to no notice by ASO, then it's a contemptible and worrying decision by ASO because they could destroy a 30-year-old stage race for a last minute whim. There are many issues I have with ASO, but in this instance I don't think that's the case.

The issue is not the new races or even the new character (although given that the women's race is still a one-day race, it's a bit more of an irritation for us what is happening with Thüringen because we're not actually gaining anything, whereas when they were told to move because of an 'expanded' La Course, everybody thought (myself included) this meant a stage race) of the existing race, but the way the races that did stand on their own when the big events weren't interested in the women are being mistreated. You would have thought that it would make more sense for the UCI, if commitment to developing women's cycling really is their goal, to want to work with these race organizers to find a slot in the calendar that will work for both, to enable the races that bring riders through to continue to work and bring riders through to then thrive in the Women's World Tour. And let's face it, there are not that many decent length stage races out there, and Thüringen with 8 stages in 7 days is one of the longest. And there are not that many mountainous stage races out there, and the Emakumeen Bira with 5 days in the Basque Country is one of the most mountainous. The Giro remains the stage race par excellence, and guess what: it's long, and it's mountainous. Wouldn't it be good to help develop depth in the péloton if riders could tailor their calendars based around their skillsets?

I would like the Izoard La Course to be longer, sure, but it's not the Izoard La Course in and of itself that bothers me. It's that it's still a one-day race, but that the UCI didn't care if it destroyed a 30-year-old traditional and popular race which is one of the longest and hardest stage races on the calendar to do so; they've already spent a lot of money on organizing the stage towns, courses, road closures etc. on dates that they suddenly have to change with no help from the sport's governing body.

Women's cycling is not yet ready for a situation whereby two top level races can go on simultaneously and all the top teams are there. It forces some difficult decisions, such as Orica-AIS and Cervélo-Bigla skipping the Giro last year (even after AMP was 4th in 2015). Once the teams have developed to the size where this can be done, then fine, fill your boots, but at the moment we should be cautious about running before we can walk.
 
I have several problems with it. The interference with much more established races, the length and the one day nature are certainly included but I have a very big problem with it being moved from the show-piece, weekend Champs Elysees crit to a Thursday morning, short club run (albeit with a great climb). I understand that the riders want more variety, I fully support that, but to me the Champs Elysees gives womens road racing both the stage and the coverage it needs. It's hard enough to follow womens racing, I admit I'm very bad at doing it (but in my defence I actually watch very little mens racing these days too), but La Course in Paris gave the kind of exposure that womens racing needed to both the more hardcore cycling fans and the casual observer who will tune in for the final stage to see Paris.

What has happened now is that the race has been relegated to a second thought. As Pastronef points out, the mens race will already be underway, on possibly a pivotal stage. If something interesting happens they going to dump the coverage of the womens race and go straight back to the mens race. They are being used to warm up the crowds on Izoard, that's it. I think it's incredibly insulting to the riders personally.

And to cap it all off they could have actually made a pretty decent event by running 4 stages in parallel with the mens race. They would have had a mountain stage. A possible breakaway, possible sprint stage (according to letour.com blurb, no profile) a TT and the final crit. They could have either run a GC or a points system for different things. They could even have come up with a decent route into Paris and made it an actual race stage rather than the usual procession/crit.

Maybe I'm off-base but I just see it as a massive step back over what was already done. At best it's a sideways step but I think that's being really generous.
 
A small article about the European title by Jolien D'Hoore and Lotte Kopecky at the Madison. Okay it's track cycling but they are both roadies. If you think it belongs to the track section, feel free to move the post.



What a Luxury! Never Have Belgium Won So Many Medals at the Euro Championship (1 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze)

Track coach Peter Pieters:

What we did here was unhoped-for. Jolien D'Hoore confirms her status. Lotte Kopecky is making huge progress. Nicky De Grendele surprised in the most pleasant sense. In the sprint, it could have been better.
Last year in Grenchen, Belgian track cycling is in bags and ashes and now it's euphoria.

An article about Jolien's loss at the Point Race in the Belang van Limburg, last Saturday:

She looked very sad and disappointed on the picture. That's Jolien she doesn't like defeats, medals are only good at the Olympics.



The author says: "Had the Pole Katarzyna Pawlowska pushed her front wheel a bit and she was European champion, not Kirsten Wild"

I knew I had to win the final sprint and then it would all depend on the points Kirsten would have grabbed.
However beforehand she had explained that the Point Race was just a warm-up for the Madison.

There we go for more. It's nice to take silver as warm-up but at the end of the day we always go for win. I wasn't 100%. I wanted to pick up points very quickly without wasting too much energy. In Qatar the condition was good and I confirm it today. Losing by one point is bitter but it's the race. It's nothing more than a consolation prize. Lotte and I go full of confidence for the Madison. The chance is high that the Dutchies will be the fiercest opponents.
 
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I missed the Madison, annoyingly.

Kopecky (and Vekemans) bode well for the Belgian women in future national teams. Never quite understood why the Belgian women seem so far behind the Dutch… at least compared to the men, where it’s the other way around.
 
I'm a newbie at Women's cycling but it seems to me that there are a few other nations whose women riders perform a lot better than men's rider. I'm thinking particularly of Quebec with Karoll-Ann Canuel, Joelle Numainville or Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin. Compared to David Veilleux, François Parisien or Hugo Houle, the women are doing quite well.

Anyway, it's the right moment for an article about Lotte Kopecky (from GvA):



From FC Schelle Forward to Female Greg

Gold in the Madison and Bronze in the Omnium. Since the Euro championship, the Jolien D’Hoore’s dominance over Belgian women’s cycling is over.

Lotte Kopecky is a 20 year old gutsy rider of Niel. In 16 days you have in Niel the Jaarmarktcross but there’s more to the town than just a parade of cyclocrossers (it’s also the town of Paul Herijgers and where Wout Van Aert was raised ;)). With Lotte Kopecky there’s a new standard-bearer of women’s track cycling. It was actually at the cyclocross of Niel that she made her first steps into cycling.

Yet my parents didn’t see it fit. Again a new sport: gymnastics, basketball, equestrian, tennis, ski, football…
She’s tried all of them but each time stopped a short quickly afterwards.

I was the forward of FC Schelle for 6 years but when I crossed for the first time in my brothers’ footsteps, I really was sold. I enjoyed cross and was good at it but since the track was an Olympic event, I had to drop cross.
From the “aspirant” category on [~14 years of age, I think?]I went to the Ghent track a few times. That’s where she learned to know Jolien D’Hoore. Lotte was the girl who’d rather stay in her corner but was taken by the 6 year older Jolien under her wing.
At that time she was already very good. I was super shy. She taught me a lot. I’ve always admired her.
That period is gone now. Now that Jolien is going to focus more and more on the road, Kopecky has to be the new standard-bearer of the Belgium’s woman track racing. In Tokyo she will race the Omnium in order to do better than Jolien’s bronze medal. After all she was already third in Paris.
On pure speed, Jolien is faster. I must rely on endurance and my ITT. If I need to compare myself to a road rider, than it has to be with Greg Van Avermaet. No top sprinter but very fast after a hard race.
[The comparison surprises me because she’s a better time-trialist in women’s cycling than Greg is in men’s cycling. What they have in common though is the football past]

Her Czech name comes from her great-grandfather, a migrant who came to Belgium for love. Lotte shares her live with 17-year-older Ken Ilegems, a mechanic. His father Etienne was 6 time Belgian champion in the amateur ranks and the latter’s brother Roger was Olympic champion Point Race in L.A. 1984. The last Belgian Olympic Gold medal before Van Avermaet but his post-cycling life was sad [this is a comment by me].

Ken is also an elite w/o contract rider but he rarely has a ride with her because he cannot follow her anymore. When they reconed the Nats, they had a sprint but he could only follow her for 100m, that’s it.

A few days later it was the biggest disappointment of her season, the 2nd place at the nats.
I really cried afterwards. I then outsprinted Jolien but someone was even faster.
Next Sunday Lotte Kopecky, Jolien D’Hoore, the BMX rider Elke Vanhoof are expected at the Eddy Merckx Cycling Centre in Ghent for the Women’s Cycling Fan Day.



Article from De Morgen today

Already Dreaming of 2020 Tokyo

In Rio, Jolien was decided:
I’m leaving the omnium for what it is. It’s now Lotte Kopecky’s turn. Lotte is still very young but what a strong bear.
This bear got the bronze medal in the omnium last weekend at the Euro track championship behind Archibald and Wild in a new style omnium, raced in one day. An experience for Tokyo 2020.
More accessible for a broader rider genre, not just the pure sprinter types. Even more suited to Lotte, more oriented towards endurance. Kopecky is a multitalent and has strength to sell. She doesn’t have Jolien’s top speed (yet) but she’s got huge athletic capacities whereby at age 21 she is faster than D’Hoore in ITT’s.
(says Jos Smets the national director)

Jolien is sure that Lotte’s intrinsic lack of sprint is just a matter of time:
She’s working on it. Within a few years she’ll be ready to harvest.
Yet Jolien keeps training on the track, partly thanks to Lotte Kopecky. They won the 1st ever Madison Euro championship and it’s meant to be on the Tokyo Olympics agenda in 2020.

According to Jos Smets, the request came from Australia and the UK was directly in the car. Belgium and other countries reacted enthusiastically. The decision comes in Autumn 2017.

Jolien is already enthusiastic and Lotte got taste for it. High basic speed coupled with huge endurance capacity: D’Hoore-Kopecky is the ideal Madison duo.
 
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Kopecky is a talent for sure… I liked that “sterke beer” quote from Jolien. Possibly a wise decision to move on from the omnium Olympic goal because: Laura Trott. :p ;)

At the risk of talking track too much, second for GB development girls Emily Kay (21) and Emily Nelson (19) was also pretty good. Not sure I want to talk about British Cycling too much right now though :(

Selected round-up of transfer news:

On the GB front, two young riders depart Servetto-Footon with mixed experiences. Abby-Mae Parkinson has signed for Drops, which seems like a good move to continue development. Drops have already added UCI level experience in Susanna Zorzi (from Lotto Soudal) and experience Austrian Martina Ritter.

On the other hand, Jessie Walker leaves disillusioned with her time in Italy and will take a year out of cycling.

Kelly Catlin, part of the US team pursuit squad that took silver in Rio, joins Rally Cycling for 2017.

Ale-Cipollini have signed Belgian Anisha Vekemans (who rode entertainingly in the Rio RR) and Soraya Paladin from Top Girls FB.

I may attempt a proper transfer overview when things are more settled and rumours confirmed etc.
 
Interesting that the Paladin girls are splitting up. I think Soraya is the stronger rider of the two, and so it makes sense to move into the most outward-thinking Italian team, as it means more chance that she'll get to discover which direction she wants to develop (she's 23 so still room for improvement as well as with the better-funded setup of the Alé team). Certainly I think she sees herself as a climber, she even has a tattoo that reads "when the road rises you can't hide", and certainly the podium of the Trentino GC points to that being her skill (just check this stage with the MTF at Pracul, where although she couldn't stay with Niewiadoma, she was with an elite group at the finish including two riders who made the top 10 of the Giro - though admittedly the group only caught Lichtenberg who had been away right near the end), although weirdly she wasn't able to impose herself much on the Tour de l'Ardèche with its longer climbs and strangely her best results at the Giro Rosa came in sprints, and at Ardèche it was in the rolling to undulating stages she was at her best.

She's an interesting pick-up and she has great upside because even if it doesn't all work out for her she can be a very useful all-round helper, but I think the biggest issue for her is figuring out who she is as a cyclist.
 
I remember that phrase "sterke beer" ("strong bear")when it was published in the Rio time. That's when I started respecting Jolien very much. Normally I don't like sprinters but I love her personality more than her road racing style. She doesn't have Lotte's talent but adds up with huge willpower, she's really dogge and besides she doesn't seem to see any problems in taking a young talent under her wing and share her experience. I think that's really classy of her. :)

Jolien will have as fierce opponents as Laura Trott on the road, though but the nice thing is that the chance for an Olympic Madison event made her recall her decision to leave the track and the prospect of teaming up with Lotte is giving her ambition. :)



Gazet van Antwerpen made a review of the Golden Year of Belgian cycling at least in men’s cycling but they also dedicated a small part of it to Belgian women cycling.

Women in Progress

In men’s shadows the Belgian female riders are busy doing a giant leap forward. In cross we have the European Champion and 3rd at the Worlds. Jolien D’Hoore won a lot of road races beside the Bronze medal on the Rio track such as the Flanders Diamond Tour, the BeNe Ladies Tour and the Madrid Challenge.
D’Hoore is no longer all alone on the road. Lotte Kopecky was 9th in “The Race” and 10th at the Beghelli GP at age 20. As youngest participant at the in-line road race at the Olympics she showed audacity racing half the race alone in the attack. And with Nicky Degrendele, Jessie Daems and Anisha Vekemans, the pool is much broader than in previous year.
 
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GuyIncognito said:
Jonhard said:
On the other hand, Jessie Walker leaves disillusioned with her time in Italy and will take a year out of cycling.
She mentions some pretty insane moments.
Left me a bit speechless. How can a DS be such an idiot?

http://www.jessie-walker.com/2016/10/20/tough-decisions/
It's all a bit sad. There may be two sides to that story I suppose... if true, some of the treatment of riders sounds ridiculous, especially when they get nothing out of it.
 
Only just realised that Ann-Sophie Duyck won the Chrono des Herbiers, last week.

She covered the 21km in 28’55.

Article from the Krant van West-Vlaanderen, yesterday (it’s a weekly published on Friday, that’s why they are late to party ;))

Despite the disappointing performance in Rio, Ann-Sophie who’s moved from Izegem to Hulste has had an excellent season behind the back in which she won the ITT nats, the kermess in Berlare (with a 2’40” lead) and UCI ITT’s in Gracia-Orlova, Czech Republic and Ljubljana, plus a 6th place at the Euro ITT Championship and the 8th at the ITT Worlds.

Kyrienka won the men’s event. They are both on the picture.
 
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A few more bits of transfer news:

Claire Rose joins Visit Dallas DNA from the folding Podium Ambition. Interesting move after a strong domestic season in Britain… she’s a powerful rider, second in the TT nationals this year. I thought she might get a ride in Europe this year but obviously USA appealed – perhaps doing California with Podium Ambition gave her a taste.

Ann-Sophie Duyck, mention by Echoes above, goes to Drops from Topsport Vlaanderen… a high class TTer with a good palmares, seems like a serious addition. They are moving on up for 2017.

Sara Olsson, late of HItec and Matrix, moves from Inpa- Bianchi to the grievously named Jos Feron Lady Force in NL. Hoping that stepping down to a good club side will allow her to rekindle some of her enthusiasm and promise.
 
I'm not sure what's going on with INPA because there are things that hint towards the team ending and yet none of the riders seem to be too fussed about their futures which suggests to me they're continuing at least in some form.

The other news of the day is regards BMS-BIRN who are hooking up with Bjarne Riis' new project. The Danish team have been a good second tier team this season but in losing Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who was responsible for most of their strongest results, to Cervélo seemed to be a body blow. However, they have managed to keep hold of some of the promising riders such as Camilla Møllebro Pedersen and Christina Siggaard as well as adding some important experience and international talent with veteran American Carmen Small, who jumps to her fourth team in two years, and Swede Sara Penton who had some decent results in the Benelux calendar with Lares last season. Cylance also renewed several talents, with Tetrick already known about but over the last two days also confirming Doebel-Hickok, Barbieri, Zaveta and Ratto will stay on.
 
Yes, WM3 as an energy company as well, and 5 years is a great commitment. Vos did say that the plan was to be in it for the long game so while they may have needed a 'down' year the aim was to be built back up to one of the péloton's best in 2018. With a long-term commitment like that it allows a lot more viability for contracts as well, being able to offer multiple years is a great selling point in the often uncertain world of women's cycling. And crucially, it commits the sponsor for a year beyond the end of the Olympic cycle so that even if they pull out at the end of their contract the team is able to regroup from the Olympics, which is always a major issue for the funding for the women.

The Alé-Cipollini team launch was also pretty dramatic; while the team were very active in the transfer market there are some very solid riders now being left without contracts. Most notably, Dalia Muccioli who has had a disappointing year and not really kicked on from her surprise national championship a couple of years ago, Marta Tagliaferro who has rather been ousted from the sprint options with Chloe Hosking brought on giving them both Hosking and Bastianelli as strong sprinters for varying terrains, and the flaky, mercurial Francesca Cauz. They also lose Annalisa Cucinotta, but she's already confirmed her destination, she will be suiting up for Lensworld next year, who have taken Kuota as their secondary sponsor.

Also of interest is the move for the Quebecois team SAS-Macogep to step up to the UCI level next season and base themselves in France. They've taken on a number of French riders, led by Christel Ferrier-Bruneau who returns from retirement aged 37. They've also added in some young prospects, most notably Soline Lamboley.

Finally, CX/road crossover Kaitlin Antonneau moves from Kristin Armstrong's Twenty16 squad to the more internationally-minded Cylance outfit. As one of the more promising US riders and knowing that typically the American riders tend to come to Europe only after completing studies and tend to see their results peak later as a consequence, this could be an ideal development point for her as the team doesn't really have an obvious leader and its strongest riders are combative, so she should get a decent level of freedom.
 
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Jonhard said:
At the risk of talking track too much, second for GB development girls Emily Kay (21) and Emily Nelson (19) was also pretty good. Not sure I want to talk about British Cycling too much right now though :(
Emily Kay outomniumed Lotte Kopecky in Glasgow. Lotte won the elimination race but lost the point race for just one point and the GC. Perhaps you've seen it. I haven't.

From Het Laatste Nieuws today: http://img4.hostingpics.net/pics/143355MATHIEUVANDERPOELHLN20161107.png
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
Yes, WM3 as an energy company as well, and 5 years is a great commitment. Vos did say that the plan was to be in it for the long game so while they may have needed a 'down' year the aim was to be built back up to one of the péloton's best in 2018. With a long-term commitment like that it allows a lot more viability for contracts as well, being able to offer multiple years is a great selling point in the often uncertain world of women's cycling. And crucially, it commits the sponsor for a year beyond the end of the Olympic cycle so that even if they pull out at the end of their contract the team is able to regroup from the Olympics, which is always a major issue for the funding for the women.

The Alé-Cipollini team launch was also pretty dramatic; while the team were very active in the transfer market there are some very solid riders now being left without contracts. Most notably, Dalia Muccioli who has had a disappointing year and not really kicked on from her surprise national championship a couple of years ago, Marta Tagliaferro who has rather been ousted from the sprint options with Chloe Hosking brought on giving them both Hosking and Bastianelli as strong sprinters for varying terrains, and the flaky, mercurial Francesca Cauz. They also lose Annalisa Cucinotta, but she's already confirmed her destination, she will be suiting up for Lensworld next year, who have taken Kuota as their secondary sponsor.

Also of interest is the move for the Quebecois team SAS-Macogep to step up to the UCI level next season and base themselves in France. They've taken on a number of French riders, led by Christel Ferrier-Bruneau who returns from retirement aged 37. They've also added in some young prospects, most notably Soline Lamboley.

Finally, CX/road crossover Kaitlin Antonneau moves from Kristin Armstrong's Twenty16 squad to the more internationally-minded Cylance outfit. As one of the more promising US riders and knowing that typically the American riders tend to come to Europe only after completing studies and tend to see their results peak later as a consequence, this could be an ideal development point for her as the team doesn't really have an obvious leader and its strongest riders are combative, so she should get a decent level of freedom.
Cauz has been training with Fassa for months now, not sure if that means anything
 
I don't know. I thought at first it was just her going back to training with her old friends since she'd come from the Top Girls Fassa Bortolo team, but with her no longer having a space at Alé and her star having waned after a combination of disappointing form and personal setbacks it might be best for her to return to a situation she's comfortable with. Especially with La Course this coming year being possibly the best chance she'll ever have to win a World Tour race given her lopsided skillset.
 
Jolien D'Hoore will be honoured for her Olympic Bronze medal during the Six-Days of Ghent on the Saturday. :) That is the 19th of November.

An omnium will be held on that occasion, in which Jolien won't take part but Lotte Kopecky will.

Source for once comes from the Francophone press: today's L'Avenir.

 
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Echoes said:
Jonhard said:
At the risk of talking track too much, second for GB development girls Emily Kay (21) and Emily Nelson (19) was also pretty good. Not sure I want to talk about British Cycling too much right now though :(
Emily Kay outomniumed Lotte Kopecky in Glasgow. Lotte won the elimination race but lost the point race for just one point and the GC. Perhaps you've seen it. I haven't.

From Het Laatste Nieuws today: http://img4.hostingpics.net/pics/143355MATHIEUVANDERPOELHLN20161107.png
Missed the omnium, but I was delighted to see Welsh girl Manon Lloyd win the the madison with broken wristed Katie Archibald. The handslings were pitiful! It'll be harder for the GB youngsters in the other rounds I think, being at home helps a lot.

Looking forward to Ghent.

Back on the tarmac, I am wondering if we'll see any 160km races next year after the rule change? Tour of Britain maybe, they pushed the distance limits this year. Driven by a limited selection of ways to make it hard I suppose.
 
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Wiggle High 5 news:

As rumoured, Emilia Fahlin, Julie Leth and Claudia Lichtenberg join for 2017. Claudia says it’s her last year. Seems like a well-judged trio of additions: Fahlin and Leth are rounded, powerful team members and Lichtenberg gives them a GC and hilly classics option along with ELB.

Also joining are Amy Cure (23) and Grace Garner (19). Amy rode for Lotto Soudal but not that much lately, being focussed on track team pursuit for ‘Straya (like Annette Edmondson, who’s staying at Wiggle). The Aussie TP girls didn’t have a good Rio after a nasty training crash, but they probably did have the wattage to challenge.

Grace Garner joins her sister Lucy and is also a sprinter, although perhaps a more durable one. One of the top GB road prospects along with Alice Barnes, imo.

The WH5 roster is back up to 15 with that lot. In other news, Emma J will stay around with a (non-riding) mentoring role for another year.
 
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GuyIncognito said:
Blasted cyclingnews made me jump out of my chair claiming that Emma will ride in 2017

bleh
The WH5 website puts it as "developing her post-riding career". I think the wheels have been hung up for good, sadly.
 
It was always an established part of her contract when she signed, it was a multiple year contract but with the understanding that she was going to retire after one, so there are presumably some roles in the DS/management/strategy areas she's taking on.

Overall, the Wiggle launch left me feeling highly depressed. I'm happy that I like the composition of the squad and feel that the fears that they were losing a lot of big names and 2017 would be a one-sided Boels beatdown after Rabo/Fortitude/WM3 also lost a number of names. I'm happy that they have at least two genuine weapons in every hilly race and Elisa isn't going to find herself isolated as I feared when they were losing riders and the mooted big acquisition, PFP, went to Canyon instead. I was happy that we'll see Lichtenberg riding on a team where she is likely to have teammates make the selection in the toughest races rather than fending alone against multiple riders from the biggest teams. But most of all, I was just upset that Claudia is retiring after next season.
 
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Norwegian Susanne Andersen, who won bronze at the womens junior road race in Qatar, reveals that her accident after the time trial was caused by a police car intentionally hitting her. Women are not allowed to show bare skin in Qatar, and she wearing bib shorts was a provocing act for the police. The swedish embassy advised her not to press charges if she wanted to leave the country after the championships.

https://translate.google.no/translate?sl=no&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&u=http://www.procycling.no/andersen-pakjort-politimann/&edit-text=&act=url
 

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