The Women's Road Racing Thread 2021

Page 39 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Monster team. And if Rio is anything to go by, it's the one you'd most expect to be there as a helper who will in fact lead, so seeing as Fuji Speedway has a billiard table smooth surface and no scary dangerous gutters, all signs point to a gold medal for Demi :D
 
Christian Prudhomme has confirmed that the women's Tour de France will take place next year, and that La Course will continue to be held as well. I understand the reasons for not organising it along side the men's race, though I'm not sure it'll be the best way to ensure financial stability, but of course Prudhomme knows more about that than me. Let's at least hope they will give the race a chance to grow, and that they won't cancel it just because the first or second edition don't generate a surplus.


It also seems to have been confirmed that the women's Tour de Suisse wil go ahead as a two day stage race (June 5-6), but there might still be some questions regarding the future funding of it.
 
Well, the Saudis paying up to save the Dakar Rally, ASO's loss-making pet project, clearly has some benefits.

Shame they (predictably) wanted to ensure that the Giro got downgraded before they stepped in so that they wouldn't have any competition for prestige with the much more historic event...
 
How is it ASO's fault that the Giro organisers didn't fulfill the live coverage obligation?
If I remember correctly, they weren't fully warned about the possible consequences of failing to provide TV coverage (according to themselves), so ASO could in theory had put pressure on the UCI to take drastic measures in order to increase the value of their own product. Not that I know anything about it, so Libertine should definitely give us a much better explanation.
 
Last edited:
If I remember correctly, they weren't fully warned about the possible consequences of failing to provide TV coverage (according to themselves), so ASO could in theory had put pressure on the UCI to take drastic measures in order to increase the value of their own product. Not that I know anything about it, so Libertine should definitely give us a much better explanation.
I just figured that if one of the (main) obligations of being a WT is live coverage, and you fail to provide that, then no longer being a WT race would be a logical consequence.
 
Reactions: Samu Cuenca
Last year was a bit of an anomaly though, and I think the Giro organisers probably somewhat complacently thought they could kick the can down the road a year with the pandemic as an excuse, especially considering much of the race was organised at the last minute (and it showed at times too).

However, the overly-close relationship between Lappartient and ASO is pretty easy to spot, and there have long been murmurings about the way La Course had been running roughshod over the calendar and significant races with long histories like the Thüringen Rundfahrt and Emakumeen Bira being shunted around the calendar was about ASO trying to clear some calendar space if they went down the route of turning La Course into a stage race (as was the rumour at the time). It is also quite insulting to see the media back-patting ASO on what a great move this is for progress when they had resisted it at every turn, and when they were literally the last race organiser to provide proper coverage of their Women's World Tour races - races like the Giro and the Women's Tour (of Britain) had full length and reasonably high quality highlights shows, even if they weren't live, while ASO were fighting tooth and nail to avoid showing the women's Flèche Wallonne, one of the highest prestige one-day races on the calendar, lest we miss any of the excitement of the men riding along in formation 90km from home, and only provided any coverage at all, let alone live coverage, last year (before that we had the UCI-produced summaries only) - and then had the temerity to sell their showing those races as a major advancement.

While some of the organisational issues last year were farcical and the lack of live coverage should have been cleared with the UCI beforehand so at least the Giro's organisers knew what the risks were (it was never made clear what the penalties would be, and considering several races were able to kick the can down the road by cancelling their races, the Giro's organisers are also pointing out - not unfairly - that they are thereby being punished for doing what they could to keep their race afloat), it is worth noting that the Giro Rosa is not organised by RCS. It is organised by a much smaller organisation with certain trademarks under licence, hence why they can be called the Giro, maintain the trademarked jerseys, use the same graphics, fonts and so on. You can say what you will about RCS clearly doing even less than ASO, lending advisory service and licencing certain trademarks only, and that is a fair criticism. But you can therefore see why smaller race organisers might have more trouble securing television commitment. Hell, SweetSpot, who organise the Women's Tour, have had trouble getting live coverage to date, and they're a much bigger concern that organises almost all commercial (i.e. non-BC) pro racing in the UK and has long-established relationships with TV stations that have been carrying their races for a decade. But while RCS obviously aren't contributing much, back a couple of decades ago, this is how much ASO supported women's cycling: just like in Italy, when ASO weren't organising their own tour anymore, a privateer group set up a long-form women's stage race... and ASO sued them because the race included the word "Tour" and the proposed leader's jersey was yellow.

ASO have resisted making any forward progress in women's cycling as long as they possibly could (at least once Jeannie Longo was no longer winning everything in sight, which was the main driving force behind them supporting it in the first place). They got a bit excited to ride the PFP gravy train in the early 2010s, but since she started getting injuries and scaling back her road racing miles, they've been working diligently to find the absolute bare minimum they can get away with, and have been studiously sticking to that while the UCI merrily lets them use their might to run roughshod over historic and traditional races - Bira and Thüringen are two of the oldest races on the calendar, and until it was cancelled for the pandemic last year Bira was the longest continuously-running women's stage race (it has now been somewhat subsumed into the new Itzulia Women, partly to do with EITB's demands more or less killing its viability for the volunteer organisational group), and there is plenty of evidence in recent years of, at least in respect of the women's calendar, the UCI catering to ASO's demands and forcing a lot of smaller races that can't boast the same level of negotiating power to jump to their tune. We're seeing an increasing number of the smaller, amateur volunteer organisations who've kept the sport alive being run from it, in favour of bigger money organisers who have the experience and history from the men's races - which is good in some ways, increased professionalism, relationships with TV companies etc., but it does harm the grass roots and result in a calendar heavily biased toward makeweight races and events where the women's race is just seen as a tack-on to the men's. No organiser has been clearer evidence of this than ASO, yet now they're providing live coverage of the Ardennes classics and announcing they're going to organise a race that people have been demanding for a decade and they've been doing everything they can to resist the calls for, they want us to praise them and congratulate them.

"There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there." - Indira Gandhi.

For as long as I've been following women's cycling, the Giro has been the biggest race. In men's cycling, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the most important Ardennes classic. In women's, it's Flèche. It's older and more traditional. The Tour has universal recognition value over the Giro over the Vuelta in men's cycling; in women's cycling, the Giro would have that because it's run almost continuously since the 80s, whereas the Tour has a brief heyday, then an acrimonious split, a spluttering along for a decade of races that lose prestige, progressively shrink and then disappear. So there is something of a feeling that either ASO are only jumping in now because the Giro has been weakened, and they can therefore be the big I-am on the WWT because the Giro has lost that status, or ASO have strongly hinted to Lappartient that it would be very nice if a women's Tour de France could be instantly launched as the biggest race in the sport. I wouldn't be surprised to see a WWT race or two - possibly even La Course - placed to run coterminously with the Giro in 2022 to weaken it further. So as a result, I see this as two steps forward, but a fairly hefty one step back.
 
Less contentiously, the Nafarroan classic doublette got underway, listed as though they are a stage race but in fact independent one-day races, somewhat akin to the Challenge Mallorca, over a nice medium mountain course called Emakumeen Nafarroako Women's Elite Classic. Borrowing pieces of the course from the GP Miguel Indurain and from the earlier GP Pascuas, this was, though across the border into Navarra, typically Basque, with nary a flat kilometre to be found.



The continuing vanquishment of all comers by Annemiek van Vleuten in mountainous races continues, as she triumphed for the home concern, Movistar, who are of course based in Navarra; she outsprinted Demi Vollering on the line in part of the ongoing fight over who gets to lead at the Olympics considering how stupidly good all of the Dutch Olympic team are, with Elisa Longo Borghini trailing in just behind because, you know, Elisa and sprinting. A trio just behind consisted of Mikayla Harvey - her first major result of the year with her new team, in the climbing races she loves best - Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, who we know loves this part of the world for racing, and Marta Cavalli, being the top FDJ rider with Cille stuck in group 3 on the road along with the other major climbers like Santestebán.
 
But again, with the Giro organisers actually comitting to live coverage this year - when they have no obligation to - who's to say they won't be reinstated as a WT race from next year?
Giro overlapping with the men's TdF, Tour right after the men's. Could be a good block of racing.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS