#WeWantRVVLive – telling the world how much we want to see the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen

Update!  Since we all started tweeting #WeWantRVVlive, there’s been a development, and it’s good news!

Now, it’s not perfect – this stream is for subscribers to Belgian TV/telecoms/internet company Proximus only… so far!  But maybe that will change too, if eg a company like Eurosport buys the rights, and we can always ask them!

Is it because of the hashtag campaign?  Very hard to tell.  We know even a few weeks ago, the Ronde van Vlaanderen organisers and Sporza were telling journalists and fans that no, there wouldn’t be a stream, because of budget issues.  So it could have been a coincidence, and they’d found the cash and this just brought the announcement forward, or it could have been a response to the campaign.

But you know what?  It doesn’t matter!  There is literally no downside to women’s cycling fans coming together and showing that hell yes, we want to see the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen live, and that there is a ton of demand for all women’s cycling races.

It sometimes doesn’t feel like much, to write a tweet, or a facebook message, or send an email – but together, our efforts combine, and we can change the sport!

So, please do tweet to the Ronde van Vlaanderen organisers, Sporza and Proximus, and thank them for putting on the stream, or contact them on facebook, instagram, or through whatever channels you prefer (find the links on their websites: the RvV, Sporza and Proximus – you may need to scroll right down) – and please do ask your local TV broadcaster if they’ll consider buying it too.  Use the #WeWantRVVLive hashtag, and #RvVwomen while you do it, and share and like other people’s social media, and who knows, maybe we’ll have more good news!

Now, for the original story…

***

Today, proud Flandrian, Wiggle High5 cyclist, Olympic bronze medalist and superstar of the road – and Ronde van Vaanderen favourite – Jolien D’hoore tweeted this:

“We race the same day as the pros. A live broadcast is also always welcome.”

She’s referring to this (or via google translate) – journalist Ruben Van Gucht is being filmed as he rides the entire 2017 men’ Ronde van Vlaanderen route, two days before the race, and it will be shown live on Belgian TV station Canvas.  It sounds like a nice show – “slow TV”, showing off the area and the history.  However, it’s frustrating to see there’s a budget for this, and no TV budget to show the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen live.

Yes, I know that the costs are different – but Canvas are talking about a 12-hour broadcast, with feeds from a helicopter, motorbike camera(s) and Van Gucht’s on-bike camera, as opposed to the max 4 hours the women’s race will run for.   Of course these are different programmes, with different audiences, and I want to stress that I’m not criticising this programme – it just throws the lack of coverage of the women’s race into sharp contrast.

It’s particularly hard that last year, the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen was streamed in full on a web broadcast, but this year, apparently host broadcaster Sporza don’t have the budget for it.  It’s always hard when we have something and it’s taken away, especially since technical issues meant the international feed, on Proximus, was never shown, so fans were tantalised and disappointed.

The Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders, is one of the most important cycling Classics on the calendar for women as well as men, and a lot of cycling fans, one of the most important races of the year.  And if you ask riders, it’s one of the top goals for (I’d say) the majority of the peloton – one they dream about winning, alongside Olympic and World Championships gold, because it’s so tough and beautiful, and so incredibly famous in the mythology of bike racing.  It’s a gorgeous race that always has a worthy winner, and there’s demand to see it from committed women’s cycling fans and people new to the sport, because of course people want to see more racing on this spectacular course.

So Velorooms have started a hashtag, #WeWantRVVLive for us to tell the race organisers that there’s a real audience to see the race.

Update!  Velorooms say it wasn’t them – it was the Lares-Waowdeals team who started the hashtag campaign – Velorooms just publicised it.  Thanks Lares!

***

D’hoore is awesome, and followed up her  initial tweet clarifying that she’s not criticising the journalist, or Sporza, and she appreciates all they do for women’s cycling.  And I want to stress that too.  Sporza have some fantastic journalists, who really support women’s racing, and we’ve seen for the last two years how they’ve shown as much women’s cyclocross as they possibly can, for example.  So if you’re worried this comes over as an attack, of course you can frame your tweets positively.

Personally, I will be tweeting to @RondevVlaanderen and Sporza’s cycling side, @Sporza_koers – and I’ll be including the hashtags #WeWantRVVLive of course, but also #UCIWWT for the UCI Women’s WorldTour, and #vrouwenRVV, the hashtag D’hoore’s using. But please do tweet – or tell the Ronde van Vlaanderen you want to see the race on their facebook, or email them (politely and positively, as I know you would).  It’s unlikely we can change things for 2017, but it can’t hurt at all to let them know how much we all really, REALLY want to see this amazing race.

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