This week has been frustrating for women’s cycling. There have been three big stories that demonstrate the difficulties the sport is in – but you’d never know that, from looking at the cycling media
Last Sunday was the Tour of ChongMing Island World Cup, where the result was decided not by great racing, but by a human error, when the last corner wasn’t marked, taking the peloton off course in the last kilometres and allowing an opportunistic attacker, Tetyana Riabchenko, to win solo. Reports differ as to exactly what happened (here’s the ORICA-AIS report) everyone describes it as an unfortunate mistake by an otherwise excellent race organiser, and of course the peloton may not have caught Riabchenko – but it’s incredibly frustrating that one of the rounds of the World Cup, one of the most prestigious competitions of the year, ends this way.
Today was meant to be the start of the 6-stage Tour of Languedoc-Roussillon. This should be a UCI 2.2 race, and was billed at the beginning of the return of the Tour de l’Aude, which when it as cancelled in 2011, was one of only three women’s races allowed over a week by the UCI.
The race has a dodgy history. Last year it was cancelled just two weeks before it was due to start, but the organisers have been telling everyone it was due to go ahead this year…. until yesterday, when riders had arrived, or were in the air/on the road, when they were told it was cancelled. Then they were told to stick around because it *might* go ahead, or might be a shortened race…. it’s completely ridiculous. Yes, of course it’s hard to organise races, but it shows no respect at all to the riders and teams not to give them some warning, before they book travel, let alone before they arrive.
This is very important because the women’s teams don’t have enough cash to be wasting money on getting to the bottom of France, only to have to pay to go home again. And it’s key preparation for the only Grand Tour left, the Giro Rosa, and there aren’t other races to swap to. But it’s also important because of what it says about women’s cycling – and how the UCI and cycling media sees it. If you looked on the UCI’s website, or on Cyclingnews,
Velonation or Velonews right now, you’d find nothing about this – it’s not news. This is crazy! There are so many questions raised – like, what are the UCI going to do about the women’s calendar? Why do they give UCI rankings to races like this and the Exergy Tour, that are cancelled after the season starts, when there have been very clear signs that the organisations are in trouble? And yes, why will the news outlets go crazy about Wiggins talking about “riding like a girl” but won’t even mention that women are being prevented from riding?
Saturday Sunday 12th May, it’s the fifth round of the UCI Road World Cup, the Tour of ChongMing Islandin China. This is a race on the long, wide, flat roads of ChongMing Island in the Yangtze river, connected to Shanghai by the beautiful bridge and tunnel, and the race uses both.
It’s very definitely a race for the sprinters. The “mountains” point comes when they ride up the ramp onto the bridge, and the roads have meant while riders have dropped off the back, and there can be echelon-ing, it ends up in a bunch sprint. It is usually very rainy, though, and the wind can make it a very tough race indeed – certainly no easy ride, this one!
The website is mostly in Chinese, and google translate hates that, but there’s some information on the parcours in English in this report of the press conference (google translated into English) – but if you want some more on the race, Melissa Hoskins has a race preview on the ORICA-AIS website of the World Cup and and the Tour of ChongMing Island stage race, which ran 8th-12th May. Because the Island isn’t a large one, the stage race runs on a lot of the same roads. Here’s the video we’ve had of that so far, and much more info below the jump:
Hello sinners! Welcome aboard for a slightly unusual week of podcasting fun and adventure. This week Sarah baits Dan mercilessly with accusations of Queenslandishness, we’ll leave it to you to decide if he doth protest too much. We also do a quick whip around the racing all over the world (there’s quite a bit of it). Dan gets excited about research reports (and possibly owes Daniel Benson an apology). There’s a bunch of other stuff, including a fair bit of laughing and a whole lot of swearing, so grab a beer, settle in and get ready to press play! (1:02:23 MIN / 59.88 MB)
Click here for your aural playing pleasure (or right-click, save-as to download).
Sarah’s compiling links for you right now (aren’t you Sarah?!)! Come back in half an hour or so to have all sorts of things to click!
Sarah edit! OK, that took more than half an hour (sorry!) but here’s what we talked about this week…
Last week’s racing:
Yet another romance title generator edition of your favourite love/dating/romance/racing column! You may remember us from previous editions of excellent advice on how to solve all your romantic woes (or make them irreparably worse) like What’s the Difference? or last week’s especially sweet, tangy episode, The Right Dessert.
It’s once again time for you to solicit the advice of the singlest cycling people you (don’t really) know! The jalapeno-fuelled Heather Nielson and I are once again ready to tell you how it is and how it could be, maybe even how it should be when it comes to getting ahead in racing/love.
Drop your questions or problems in the comments below and we’ll get to work on figuring out whether it really is you or Chris Froome leading Sky for the Tour…