FIVE women’s World Cup races this week – how to watch Méribel and Vårgårda 2014
It’s a huge week of women’s cycling, with the final round of the MTB World Cup in Méribel, France, and two Road World Cups in Vårgårda, Sweden – and I’m here to tell you how you can watch all but one of them live.
Méribel MTB World Cup, 21st-24th August
Lots of fun in Méribel – while Jolanda Neff has sewn up the Cross-Country series, leading with 1,050 points ahead of nearest rival, Catharine Pendrel on 790 (the winner of each race gets 250 points, so Neff has won without showing up), and Kathrin Stirnemann has won the Eliminator just as comprehensively (leading the rankings after Windham with 225 points, ahead of Alexandra Engen and Jenny Rissveds, both on 160, with 60 points for the winner), there are a lot of riders who’ll want this last chance for pre-Worlds glory. And over in the Downhill, things are very different.
Manon Carpenter leads, with 1,180 points after Windham, but Emmeline Ragot has 1,110, and World Champ Rachel Atherton 1,060 – and with the points going from 250 to the winner, to 200, 165, 140 and 137 for 5th, so Manon is going to have to really go for the win if she wants to keep the series – but how good would it feel for Frenchwoman Ragot to win the race and the series on home soil, and Atherton, whose season has been plagued by sickness, always wants to win! And it’s one hell of a course to decide the Cup on – checkout Claudio Caluori’s Méribel downhill course bikecam preview.
- Women’s and men’s Eliminator, Friday 22nd August, 17:50 European CEST (4:50pm UK BST; 11:50am USA EST; 8:50am USA PST; 1:50am Australia AEST)
- Women’s and men’s Downhill, Saturday 23rd, 14:15 CEST (1:15pm BST; 8:15am EST; 5:15am PST; 10:15pm AEST)
- Women’s Cross Country, Sunday 24th, 12:45 CEST (11:45am BST; 6:45am EST; 3:45am PST; 8:45pm AEST)
As always, if you miss the live racing, you can watch the replay on those same links. And there’ll be loads of fun things online, because MTB media is amazing! Start with the race website and twitter, and then head to Red Bull Bike for stacks of great video coverage, and their liveblog. Then there’s Dirt Magazine‘s daily DH coverage (here’s their preview) and Pinkbike‘s photo essays… I’m missing the World Cup already!
Crescent Open de Suède Vårgårda, 22nd and 24th August 2014
I love the Vårgårda weekend, it’s one of my favourite cycling times of the year. Here’s my preview, with how it’s been won before, over on Podium Café, packed full of my favourite videos.
Team Time Trial, 22nd August
This one is the only World Cup of the weekend that won’t be live, but there are still plenty of ways to follow it. It’s the only women’s TTT that’s comparable to the World Championships, and ever since the Cervélo Test Team folded, the question is can anyone beat Specialized-lululemon? The team has won for the last three years, but ORICA-AIS and Boels-Dolmans will really want to break that run… and Marianne Vos started the season saying she wants to win the Cyclocross, TTT and Road Race World Champs this year – this’ll give us an idea to see if Rabo-Liv can achieve that. Check out their recent training
It’s the same 42.5km course as usual, and all the details are here and on the Velofocus preview. Basically, it’s out from Vårgårda to Herrljunga, dealing with big winds, then the 11km loop with a hill that’s the lap used in the road race lap, with some technical corners – definitely challenging.
The race starts at 17:30 Euro CEST (4:30pm UK BST; 1:30am USA EST; 9:30am USA PST and 1:30am Aus AEST) and the teams go off at 3 minute intervals. Here’s a super-easy-to-read timing sheet on Velorooms. Last year Spec-lulu did it in 53:59, so expect results to start coming in an hour after it starts. No live tv, but there’s a great website, Vårgårda.nu that has tons of reporting on the races and there are live updates on cyclesport.se – and as always, you can follow other live-updating twitter accounts with my twit-list. And there’ll be a UCI highlights video on their youtube within about 24 hours.
Crescent Vårgårda Road Race, 24th August
It’s the familiar course, that hilly lap, and we’ve seen this race end in all kinds of ways in the past, from bunch sprint to solo break and lots of other ways – and if you’d like to know how it played out every year since it started (with TONS of video), here’s my preview on Podium Café. This year it’ll be shown live, all the way through, which is fantastic, as last year it was one of my favourite races to watch – here’s my race report on Podium Café, and the UCI highlights video:
It’s 12 laps of the 11km course, 132km in total, and all the course details are here and on Velofocus’ preview – and the most accurate startlist so far is on Cycling Fever. But here’s what I know you’re really looking for – it’ll be streamed live on the UCI Youtube , commentated by Rochelle Gilmore and José Been, from 10:45 Euro CEST (9:45am UK BST; 4:45am USA EST; 1:45am USA PST; 6:45pm Australia AEST) and I’ll embed the stream link once it goes up. It’ll also be broadcast live on Swedish tv station SVT, and again, live updates on Vårgårda.nu and via my twitter-list. I’ll be watching it avidly, so if you have any questions, talk to me on twitter, where I’m @_pigeons_ – I’ll be the one with a huge grin on my face, loving how much live women’s racing we get to watch this year!