Why is the Giro Rosa on at the same time as the Tour de France – and should it move?

Every year during the Giro Rosa, I have conversations with people who either say that they find it hard to follow the women’s Giro, or who suggest that it would get more coverage if they were on at a different time.  I love talking about women’s cycling, but it can be hard to have long conversations on twitter etc, so I wanted to put my thoughts in one place.

First of all, the Giro is the longest women’s race on the calendar.  Women’s races are limited to 7 days without explicit permission from the UCI, and while there used to be three women’s ‘Grand Tours’ of ten days – the Giro, the Tour de l’Aude and the Grand Boucle (sort of the women’s Tour de France, but not run by the ASO), we lost the other two in the 2000s, when a lot of women’s races disappeared.  So the Giro is important as a long race, with room for a range of different riders to shine (stages for sprinters, Classics types, ITTer, pure climbers etc) in the same race, and it has a long history, with all the excitement and energy that comes from racing in Italy.  It always attracts most of the best riders and biggest teams in the world, and just like the men’s Grand Tours, stage wins here are as as much a major goal for riders as the GC is.

As a side issue, this year is both the first year of the UCI’s Women’s World Tour, which the race is a natural part of – and there has been less TV coverage on Italian station RAI than we’ve become used to, and less media from the race organisation – but those are separate issues I’ll get into another time.

So why is the Giro on at the same time as the TdF?

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Watch the 2016 Cairns MTB World Cups live

I love that American-style voiceover, it feels so incongruous!

But wow, the Cairns 2016 MTB World Cup will be an amazing weekend of racing, and as always, we get to watch the exhilarating racing in the Australian jungle, full of rain, mud, spiders, snakes and stinging trees live, and get a whole load of incredible media.  It’s SO easy to fall in love with MTB, so if you’ve never watched any, start now!  Click the links to go directly to the streams, with clever countdown ticker to the start – and if you miss the races live, they’ll be archived there as well.

  • Downhill finals, Saturday 22nd April, 2:30pm Aussie AEST (5:30am UK BST; 06:30 Euro CEST; half past midnight Friday night USA EDT)
  • Women’s Cross Country, Sunday 23rd April, 11am AEST (2am BST, 03:00 CEST; 9pm Saturday EDT)
  • Men’s Cross Country, 23rd April, 2pm AEST (5am BST, 06:00 CEST, midnight Saturday EDT)

Now, this being MTB, there’s already been a TON of fantastic media, from the race practice days and qualifications…

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WATCH & follow the 2016 Para-cycling Track World Championships LIVE

17th-20th March 2016

Sometimes I really struggle whether to go with a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” approach to talking about cycling – especially when it comes to Para-cycling.  In the plus column, hooray, there’s a Track World Championships, which hasn’t always been the given you’d imagine in would be (and this one’s even in an indoor velodrome, which wasn’t always the case).  And the racing is always incredible, the riders fantastic, and my very favourite discipline is tandem sprint, WOW the bike skills on display there!

But it’s always disappointing there’s still no  Tissot Timing, live timing and results, unlike all the other UCI disciplines  UPDATE!  Although there will be results added to RSS Timing, where you can also sign up to have results emailed to you.  And we haven’t heard if there’ll be highlights clips from the races on the UCI YouTube,  afterlast year there was UCI livestreaming of 1 day at Apeldoorn Track Worlds

UPDATE!  It’s definitely MORE than half-full this year!  This year there looks like some live TV coverage on RAI Sport 2 every day! The RAI TV schedules tend to change a lot, so it’s worth double checking every day (scroll down the TV guide to RAI Sport 2, and look for Ciclismo su Pista: Camp. Mondiali Paralimpici 2016), but as of Tuesday Friday, the coverage looks like this:

  • Thurs 17th March, 18:45 – 20:10 Euro CET (from 5:45pm UK GMT; 1:45pm USA EDT; 4:45am Aus AEDT Fri)
  • Friday 18th March, 20:00-21:30 CET (from 7pm GMT; 3pm EDT, 6am Sat AEDT)  UPDATE!  On Friday it now says 23:00 CET (from 10pm GMT; 6pm EDT, 9am Sat AEDT)
  • Saturday 19th March, UCI says it’ll be LIVE between 15:00-16:00 CET (2-3pm GMT, 10-11am EST, 1-2am AEDT); but RAI journos are saying only highlights 22:00-23:10 CET (from 9pm GMT; 5pm EDT; 8am Sun AEDT) – so we’ll have to wait & see!  Try both?
  • Sunday 20th March, 16:30-17:45 CET (from 3:30pm GMT, 11:30pm EDT; 2:30am AEDT)

Check out which races will be shown when through the competition programme (tandem sprints are on Sunday).  This is very exciting!  The RAI Sport 2 livestream is here, though you may need a VPN set to Italy to see it, and there looks like there’s an alternative stream here. (If these disappear from the schedule, please don’t hate me – and if that does happen, check RAI Sport 1 before getting worried!)

There’s also a team out there for BBC Sport, so look out for clips featuring riders on the BBC Disability Sport pages, and also from Channel 4 Paralympics, who have features up on their site already, as well as the usual excellent videos from Cycling Australia.  If you find more places featuring the Champs, please do share, & I’ll edit them in.

We can follow the rest of the competition, including the afternoon sessions on twitter, and look out for video clips and highlights, like this one from the Dutch Federation, of their team training:

The racing will be fantastic, and it’s especially important in a Paralympic year, so it’ll give us an idea of how our favourite riders and teams are going.  And there are always brilliant photos, tweets and blogs from riders, so let’s celebrate them all!

How to follow live

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The 2016 Women’s World Tour – media scorecard 1

This is going to be part of an ongoing series, looking at the media about the Women’s Road Cycling World Tour.  I’ll talk about the actual racing in other posts, and especially in the weekly women’s cycling podcasts, but I want to spend some time looking at how the series lives up to the promises the UCI have made about it.  And now the dust has settled on the first round of the series, the Strade Bianche, I want to look at how the World Tour compares to the Road World Cup.

Let’s start with what was promised.  The World Tour is a brand new initiative for 2016, an evolution of the women’s Road World Cup, going from 10 day races in 2015, to 17 races with 35 racing days this year.  It’s been much hyped this year, for example, in last week’s press release about the series, we had quotes from UCI President Brian Cookson:  “It will provide the perfect platform not just to grow women’s cycling around the world, but also to boost the profile of women’s cycling“, and Vice-President Tracey Gaudry: “Teams, riders and event organisers are all on-board, and fans will now be able to see the best female cyclists all around the world.”  It promises:

“All 17 events of the 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour will benefit from TV coverage, either from live broadcast, live streaming or same day highlights packages.

In addition, the UCI will partner exclusively with IMG to ensure extra-exposure for the UCI Women’s WorldTour through the InCycle magazine show, which has generated a global audience of 18.68 million from 1,358 hours of broadcast coverage in 2015. Throughout the season, 12 shows of 26 minutes will each feature a sequence dedicated to the UCI Women’s WorldTour. This exclusive content will be accessible via http://www.incycle.tv and http://tv.uci.ch (without geo restrictions) and through the +35 broadcasters the magazine is distributed to on all continents.”

The trouble is, what we’ve seen from the first round, and what seems to be coming up for future races doesn’t match these promises.

Less coverage from the World Tour than for the World Cups

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2016 Track World Championships – videos, media & more from Day 1 and Day 2

We’ve had two action-packed days of the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships, with so much incredible racing – and we’ve still got 3 to come!  Here’s some of the videos and photos, with results and more.  I’ll be putting up more of these throughout the competition. I’ll start with the full coverage from Day 1 and Day 2, and then move on to the individual women’s races.  Of course, if you want more from the men’s races, the same sources have lots of things for you!

Day 1

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Why I love Virtual DS games

After a wonderful-busy 6 weeks of road cycling, we’ve got space to pause, before the Spring Classics start with a bang on 27th February.  It’s a good time to look back on the racing we’ve had so far… and to plan your Virtual Directeur Sportif team for the season!

If you’ve never played DS or other fantasy cycling games, there are a lot of them about, and two particularly good ones for the women’s road racing, at Podium Café (FSA VDS) (including a game for the men’s side too) and Chicabike. I’ll tell you more about them below, but I want to take a moment to sing the praises of playing them in general.

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Vote for (and buy!) your favourite 2016 team kit – the World Tour

It’s a bit of a tradition for me to run through the 2016 women’s kits at the start of the season, and with more women’s racing due to be on tv or streamed this year than ever before, it’s a great chance to get our eye in.   Now we’ve had the Argentinian and Aussie January racing and the Ladies Tour of Qatar, and a set of team presentations (with more team videos than ever) we’ve had the chance to see most of them in action…. so it’s time to vote for the one you like best!

I’m starting with kits from the teams that are racing the 2016 Women’s World Tour – but if you want to nominate other women’s road team kits, tell me in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll put up a “best of the rest” vote – you can see some of them in this great Velorooms thread.  And if you want to buy any of these kits, I’ve got links in the post too.  The previous kit posts are on Podium Café – for 2014 and 2015.

All photos are from the team websites, unless otherwise stated – click through them for the sources and credits.

UPDATE!  The poll is now closed – check out the results at the bottom of the thread.  But you can still vote for the smaller teams in the “Best of the Rest” poll.

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Alé Cipollini

It looks like, from the team presentation photos, and of course when Malgorzata Jasinska won the GP San Luis, and Marta Tagliaferro won Stage 2 of the Tour Femenino San Luis, that the kit is the same #YellowFluorange kit as last year, with added sponsor names, making them the easiest team to spot on a bike.  And as someone who likes either cool minimalism, or “WOW, I need sunglasses!”, that makes me very happy! If you like it too, you can buy versions of the jersey and jackets without all the team branding on the Alé website – it’s the “bubbles” design, for example, the women’s 2014 short sleeve and current winter jersey and jacket, and men’s winter jersey and jacket.

Team photo from the Tour Femenino de San Luis facebook album

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