Follow the 2017 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Omloop van Borsele live

It’s the last full Spring Classics weekend, and it goes out with a bang!  There’s the first ever women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the climax of the first ever women’s Ardennes Week, but before that, the EPZ Omloop van Borsele: a cobbley sprinters’ Classic, with an ITT for the elite women, and a three-stage Junior women’s race, the last round of the UCI’s Nations Cup.

Of course, Liège is the biggest race, but sadly we can’t expect a livestream.  We can hope for highlights to be shown in the men’s race coverage, and a Periscope view of the finishline, but I’ll tell you how we can follow the race live… But first, Borsele.

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Podcast 2017 Episode 13 – It Was SO Attacky!

We’re in the middle of the Ardennes week which means there’s heaps of racing and heaps of climbs around. This week Sarah and Dan talk through how Amstel Gold and Fleche Wallonne both unfolded (they were amazing!), and what this might mean for Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday. There’s also time to catch up on some of the main results from the recent Track World Championships, and to find out a bit more about Lizzie Deignan’s new book “Steadfast” which is out now. Of course there’s plenty more in the podcast and even more in the post! (1:12:03 MIN / 65.98 MB)

You can sign up for automatic downloads via the iTunes store here or via our RSS feed here.

This week’s collection of women’s cycling links and news

This week’s racing

Click to see the videos, photos and media from the 2017 Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne.

Tour of the Gila

Full results of Stage 1, race report and photo gallery

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2017 Track World Championships

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Videos, photos, media and more from the 2017 Flèche Wallonne

Mid-way through the first ever women’s Ardennes Week, and the penultimate Spring Classic round of the UCI’s Women’s WorldTour, it was Flèche Wallonne, aka Waalse Pijl.  In the cycling world, the men’s race is a bit of a byword for predictable racing, but when it comes to women’s cycling, the peloton don’t let that script play out easily, and despite the reduction in climbs, they hit this one hard….

…which made it all the more disappointing that we couldn’t see anything of the race, which is always baffling, because with fixed cameras covering every inch of the final climb, the Mur de Huy, it’s the easiest race to show the finale of, out of the whole calendar, and around 5 years ago, it was standard to get the women’s finish live during the men’s coverage.  But, between host broadcaster RTBF and the race organisers, the ASO (the biggest race organisers in the world, mind you), it feels like there’s a general disinterest in showing the race.  It’s always a bizarre choice, as yet again, it was an incredible race.

So what can we see? I’ve got video highlights, photo galleries, race results and more in this post, and I’ll edit in anything else I see.  If you want to share anything you’ve seen, please do let me know in the comments or on twitter.

Apparently there was a bit of coverage before the men’s race, on the Australian SBS Cycling Central men’s Flèche Wallonne replay, and they also have a clip of the women’s race, which you can watch if you’re in Aus, or have a VPN.  Then, there are highlights on RTBF (restricted to Belgium), and highlights and post-race winner’s interview on NOS.nl (restricted to the Netherlands).  Then, there are UCI highlights, Wiggle High5‘s team video, and a fan’s-eye view of the race

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Follow the 2017 women’s Flèche Wallonne live

Wednesday 19th April 2017

2017 has been an incredible year for live women’s cycling, with more racing to watch than ever before.  In the first five rounds of the 2017 Women’s WorldTour, we have had around an hour of video from Strade Bianche and Ronde van Vlaanderen, around 40 minutes from Amstel Gold, and the most from the Ronde van Drenthe and Trofeo Alfredo Binda.  On top of this, we’ve had the entire Healthy Ageing Tour stage race and Omloop van het Hageland day race streamed fully live, which is even more impressive as they’ve both very small race organisations.  And it seems like finally, after years of fan frustration, we’ll also get to see more of the Flèche Wallonne than every before.

Now, before you get too excited, it doesn’t look like the race will be streamed live, as the timings don’t match exactly, but we can hope.  SBS Cycling Central say their Flèche coverage will start with 50 minutes of the women, so I’m crossing my fingers that at least we will see the final sprint up the Mur de Huy, one of those perfectly Classics icons that transforms from an ordinary (albeit very steep) street in a small town into something out of legend.  It’s not just the gradient, it’s that it’s narrow, and full of twisting corners – and lined with ecstatic fans leaning over the barriers to cheer their hearts out.   Karl Lima took me to the race with his team Hitec Products took me to the race in 2013, and it’s one of the best races you can experience live, anywhere in the world.

So how do we watch?

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Videos, media and more from the 2017 women’s Amstel Gold Race

It’s the first women’s Amstel Gold Race since 2004 – and the start of the first ever women’s Ardennes Week.  121km, with 17 climbs, including four times up the Cauberg, the last just over a kilometre from the finish.  Everything suggested it was going to be a fantastic race, and the peloton didn’t disappoint.

If you missed the race, or want to re-live it, I’ve collected videos, photos, race reports, results and more.  As always, I’ll edit more things in as I see them, and I’d love it if you could send things my way, via the comments below, or on twitter.

Let’s start with videos.  Highlights and post-win reactions on NOS.nl (please watch, if you can, so they get the stats).  More highlights, and the first podium ceremony, on Sporza. And for Australians (or those with a VPN set to Aus…) here’s the full 43 minute coverage from SBS Cycling Central.

The UCI highlights, final 13km (French commentary, and weirdly a splash image from… the 2008 World Championships) and full 45 minutes coverage with no commentary.

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Why is the 2017 such an unusual year for women’s road cycling? Part 2 – more unique circumstances

I’m currently writing a mini-series about why 2017 is such an unusual year for women’s road cycling, and why it’s the first year of a new chapter for the sport – whether that turns out to be be positive or negative.  Yesterday I talked about how the 2017 Classics season is really different to 2016 and the previous years.  And I also talked about how calendar has changed, including the increase in race distances, and in Classics races, and how we’ve gone from just four World Cup Classics in eight weeks, two years ago, to eight in eight weeks.

But while the 2017 Classics have been less…. attacking… than in previous years, with surprise wins by sprinters, and a lack of early attacks in some of the races we’d expect to see more early action, it’s not as simple as saying it’s because of the longer races, and more full calendar (though I’m sure that is making a difference), because there are a few more unique circumstances that are impacting on 2017, and I want to talk about some of those.

The weather

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The women’s road cycling calendar: why is 2017 such an unusual year?

2017 has been a fascinating year already for women’s cycling, and we’re only in April.  We’re about to head into Ardennes Week, which signals the end of the Spring Classics, and already the season has been completely different to previous years.

It really feels like this is the first year of a new chapter for the sport, where the women’s Classics have fallen in line with the men’s, and the old patterns – where one or two riders could dominate the entire Classics season – are over.  I’m going to talk about why the changes have happened, and have a bit of context, because while there is a lot to celebrate, it raises a lot of questions about the future of women’s cycling, and how races and teams will adapt to the new Spring.

So what has happened so far?

After the racing year opened in Australia, the season had some major changes, with the loss of two pre-European-season stage races, the Ladies Tour of Qatar and the Vuelta a San Luis in Argentina.  Qatar, especially, had been the first chance to see a lot of the new-season versions of teams, and a chance for staff and riders to spot any issues and iron them out, and for fans to make guesses about how the Classics could pan out.  Without them, the first time we saw a lot of teams was Omloop het Nieuwsblad at the end of February.

The first thing to say about how the season has gone it to compare to last year.  These are the 2017 winners, and I’m going to get a bit geeky for a moment

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