The women’s cycling peloton are super-talented, but also so friendly and generous with their time off the bike as well. Early in the week, I was lucky enough to get some Q&As with D’hoore, Elena Cecchini, Vale Scandolara, Amanda Spratt & Jessie Walker about the Richmond 2015 road race, and now I’m back with part 2, with Classics star Elisa Longo Borghini, TT and cobbles-lover Ellen van Dijk, and the u23 European Champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma.
ELB starts as one of the favourites, and this young Italian already has a bronze medal from the 2012 Worlds. She won this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, so the cobbles won’t trouble her!
What’s it like in Richmond?
Richmond has been really welcoming to us cyclists. People have been really kind with us and it happened quite a lot that some of the car drivers came next to us while riding for wishing good luck!
What’s the road race course like?
The most successful rider at the Road Cycling World Championships in modern times has to be Marianne Vos, who started her Worlds with a win in the Juniors, and went on to win three elite gold medals and five silvers, not to mention her two Olympic golds on road and track, her two golds from Track World Champs, and her seven Cyclocross golds – and she’s still only 28!
This year, for the first time in her career, she’s not at Worlds, as she’s still recovering from the injuries and illness that derailed her 2015 road season, but the thing about Vos is she loves cycling, and has been following from home. I caught up with her to talk about the racing so far, what she thinks about the road course and who could win, her advice for juniors racing Worlds for the first time, the announcement about the brand new Women’s World Tour for 2016, and much more.
You can listen to this one, or read the transcript below…
Listen to Marianne talk here (right click, save as to download)
How are you, Marianne?
I’m good. I’m not at the Worlds this time, but I’ll be watching closely
Is it strange not being there after being there every year since you were a junior.
It’s quite strange seeing it on television, and following it on social media, seeing my team mates and the women and guys from my country racing in America, and seeing the atmosphere there. Of course it hurts a little bit, but on the other hand, I’m happy to be able to follow it from the side, and I’ll be back to be there next time.
The cyclocross season has officially begun, so it’s time for my now-traditional interview with the wonderful Helen Wyman. We talk about the first Cyclocross World Cup of 2015/6, Cross Vegas, the first big cyclocross drama of the season, the interpretation of the UCI feeding rules at Ellison Park CX, and her collaboration with Velocio.cc to create a gorgeous cycling kit. But we don’t stop there – there’s her role on the UCI CX Commission, the new u23 women’s Worlds category the impact the changes in the last few years have had on the sport, and tons more. I could always talk to Helen for hours, so this is a long one!
Listen to the podcast here (right-click, save-as to download) (50.5MB, 52:35mins)
To find out more about Helen, check out her website and her page on the Kona team website, follow her twitter and like her facebook page. And check out her cycling kit collaboration with Velocio.cc – look out the the new items, including men’s kit, that are still to come, as well as the existing women’s kit.
As well as Cross Vegas, Helen will be racing USA ‘cross the Midnight Ride in Lancaster MA on 24th September and the Grand Prix of Gloucester (MA) weekend on 26th & 27th September – if you’d like to go to her cyclocross workshops at the Midnight Ride, on 22nd and 23rd September, here’s where you can sign up.
You can find the details of the other three big cyclocross series via these links: the World Cup, the Superprestige and the bpost bank trofee (still the 2014/15 site, but likely updated soon) and the full UCI CX Calender is on their site. There’s more about the new U23 women’s category at Worlds on the UCI site too, and if you want to watch and follow this year’s women’s CX in Europe and the USA , here’s my 2014/5 guide, which I’ll update nearer the Euro season start.
If you want to check out my previous interviews with Helen, they’re here:
- my last written interview with her from January 2015,on Podium Café, before Worlds
- Podium Café interview about how she helped get equal prize money for women at the 2014 Koppenbergcross
- Podcasts with her in October 2014 on her work towards equality, the differences in European and USA CX, and much more – Part 1 and Part 2
- Her preview of the 2014 Cyclocross World Championships for Podium Café,
- Dan and I interviewed her on our women’s cycling podcast in November 2013 and in December 2012
- Podium Café interviews from start of October 2011, on her USA trip, then later that month when she won the Koppenbergcross for the first time 2011– and you can see the “crayon” drawings she did for the Café here and here.
- My first ever interview with her, on Podium Café in October 2010,
I’m funded to do these interviews by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much! If anyone would like to join them, for as little as $1 a month, click here.
Elena Cecchini became one of the latest young Italian rider to join a more international team this year, joining Lotto-Soudal, and proceeding to animate the races throughout the Spring Classics, then winning a stage at the prestigious Festival Elsy Jacobs. Last year she’d won the Italian National Road Championships, one of the very hardest of the road champs, and in June she became one of a very select set of riders to win twice in a row, which she followed by racing the Giro Rosa for the first time, and coming home with two podium places, and four stitches in her chin. I talked to her about all this and more, including the secrets of her season, and her advice to future first-time riders, and much more. She’s a really interesting rider, with a lot to say, so settle in, and either listen to her talk, or read the transcript below.
Listen to Elena talk here (right click, save as to download)
You’ve just come back from finishing the Giro – how do you feel?
It’s quite nice when you finish a hard race, and you know that it’s all about recovery, so I’m just enjoying some rest days at home. I was missing my family so much, and my cat, and my grandmother and grandfather, so today I did a small training on my bike, just to restart, because next week I will race the BeNe Ladies Tour, and I have to be in form. It’s really strange to go slowly, because we had really fast and furious stages at the Giro, so it’s nice to be home and just wake up in the morning and have nothing to do!
And it was your first ever Giro!
The 2015 women’s Grand Tour, the Giro Rosa, is done and dusted for another year, but how are the riders looking back on it? I asked two of the young riders all about their experiences – Kasia Niewiadoma, who came home from her second Giro with the Best Young Rider’s jersey, 5th place on the General Classification, and the knowledge she’d helped her Rabo-Liv team mate Anna van der Breggen win the maglia rosa – all at just 20 years old; and another 20-year-old, Jessie Walker, who went from having a surprise late call-up to race for Servetto-Footon, to being the top British finisher. They were kind enough to answer some questions about their experiences in the race…
Congratulations on being the Best Young Rider & 5th place overall – how does it feel?
Thank you so much. It’s a really nice feeling, but I think I am more happy about our Anna who won the GS! She was amazingly strong and every day she showed it, so I think there was no other girl who deserves this victory as much as she did :-) The past 10 days were not only about racing for us, but about making a special atmosphere that I really appreciate in our team – just a lot of support and fellow-feeling. My 5th place made my family superbly happy – so for me that’s the biggest reward.
This was your second Giro – apart from the jersey, how was it different to last year?