Now that the season’s started, you might be wondering how to follow the international women’s bike races. The bad news is there isn’t much shown on live tv – but I’m being all glass-half-full, and have some ways that really help me enjoy the races, and follow the action as it happens.
My first stop is twitter, and there are four people I follow religiously. Richie Steege is the Boels-Dolmans mechanic, and in between looking after his riders, he tweets race updates from the team car, keeping us updated on the race action. He’s fantastic, and I always say Boels should pay him double, he’s a super-star! Karl Lima is another star – the manager of Hitec Products, he has great information too. Bart Hazen is a photographer and the social media manager for Wiggle Honda, and often updates us from the roadside – and CJ Farquharson has been photographing the peloton for years, and runs the womenscycling.net site, which is always my first point of call for finding out what happened after races.
UPDATE! This year the UCI have just introduced their @UCIWomenCycling twitter, which is run by José Been, and so far seems to be just covering the World Cups from a team car, but it might turn into more. And this year, Sem Versteeg, the Rabo-Liv mechanic, has started tweeting from the Rabo car – and as we know, they’re almost always at the front of the race…
There are various other people who update less regularly, and I’ve put all of these accounts into a twitter list, which updates automatically during the races. This changes a lot, because I add accounts that tweet races (eg the race account etc) and anyone I find updating from that particular race. I try to only have people at or getting unique information from the race, so it stays as simple as possible, and you don’t have to have a twitter account to use it (though you may need to refresh it yourself)
If you want to find out what happened after the race, I’ve got another list, of cyclists and teams, where you can see their reactions, and they tend to tweet photos and blogs and such too.
Watching races streamed live, or on tv
When I know races are live, I put up a post, and which you can find in the Live Cycling section of the site. I take a broad approach to what “live” can mean – so I’ll include “live-ish”races where we might just get the finish-line shown live, like Flèche Wallonne or Ronde van Vlaanderen – and races which have tickers with live updates, and then tv in the evenings of each stage, like the Energiewacht Tour in April and the Giro Rosa in July. The next races that I think will have live or delayed streaming are the first two rounds of the Road World Cup, the Ronde van Drenthe, on 13th March, and the Trofeo Binda on 30th March – I’ll update you nearer the time.
When races have live, or delayed videos, we have livethreads to talk about the races on Podium Café, and everyone is welcome there (the threads get very fast, but the Z key, which takes people to the next unread comment, is amazing) There’s a Live Race section, or have a look in the Women’s Cycling section. We’re super-friendly, so please do join in!
Videos after the race
Last year, the UCI commissioned a short video each round of the Road World Cup that came out on the evening or day after the race, and a 30-minute video of 2 races at a time, a month or so after the second race. This year it’s a small clip 24 hours after the race, and a 20 minute video within a week – keep an eye on the UCI youtube.
And as you’ve probably noticed, I collect videos I find. Now the season’s underway, Dan and I will be running our women’s cycling podcast weekly and even if you don’t listen to it, we include a ton of links in each post, especially including race videos. I also try to remember to tag any posts including videos with video.
I don’t just put these collections here, I also put posts on Podium Café which are more news updates, often what happened in a race, or in a weekend, for example Qatar and the Omloop weekend. Probably the easiest way to find these is to go through the women’s cycling portal.
Finding out about races
If you want to find out about the women’s cycling calendar, you can go through the calendar on the UCI website (you may have to look for women in the drop-down menu), which links to the race websites. But I much prefer the CyclingFever calendar, as each race page has the race site, but also things like course profiles and links to startlists, and you can look back at previous years’ race information, results, videos and more. There’s also a calendar on CQ Ranking.
For race previews, I love VeloFocus – in English, with lots of stats and maps. If you’re after previews in Spanish, check out Cobbles & Hills and El Pelotón. Gwéna covers all the French races in superb detail, and the lovely VeloNova have some previews in French too. And if you want a forum, VeloRooms have threads for women’s races as well as men’s.
ORICA-AIS have been putting together really strong previews of races, with thoughts from riders etc, so they have a lot of unique information – for example, Jessie Maclean talking about Le Samyn – keep an eye on their news page.
This year I’m not writing race previews, but what I’m hoping to do is interview different riders and ask them to preview the big races (for example, Kirsten Wild before Qatar, and Tiffany Cromwell before Omloop het Nieuwblad). Again, they’ll be on Podium Café – and we put links to each of the upcoming races in our podcast posts.
If I’ve forgotten anything, let me know in the comments. You can always ask me any questions at all, here, by tweeting me @_pigeons_ or emailing prowomenscycling [at] gmail [dot] com. I love women’s cycling, so if there’s anything I can do to make it easier to follow, that makes me happy – and I love to chat, so don’t feel shy!