We’re back just in time to discuss all the racing and hour record attempts that have happened since last time we spoke. There’s cyclocross world championships (and controversies), there’s track action (tracktion? – bet nobody’s ever made that pun before) and there’s the beautiful windy deserts of Qatar!
This week it sounds a bit like the sands from Qatar were caught in Sarah’s mic, but we blame that squarely on something in the last skype update. Apologies for the sometimes dodgy audio quality, we did our best! (58:20 MIN / 54.32 MB)
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Things we talked about this week
Don’t miss Sarah’s great interview with Bridie O’Donnell about her Hour World Record. Also in text now!
Here’s the complete roundup of all the highlights from the U23 and Elite Women’s World Cyclocross Championships.
Sarah’s got some thoughts about the controversy surrounding Femke van den Dreissche and the doctored bike.
Don’t forget to vote in the poll for your favourite kit in the 2016 peloton!
Catch up on the Ladies Tour of Qatar with Stage 1 highlights; Stage 2 highlights; and Stage 3 highlights here.
Obviously, one of the biggest stories from the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships was Femke van den Driessche being caught with a motorised bike. Of course she’s denying it (along the lines of “I sold the bike to a friend, who motorised it, and it weirdly got added to my bikes in the pits but it was nothing to do with me” – click the link, or if you understand Dutch, this video, or this video in English), and there’s a great couple of summaries about the case so far on Ella Cycling Tips and inrng, who sets out the rules and possible next steps. I am gutted for all the u23 riders who rode their hearts out in a wonderful, historic race, the first time there’s been more than one category for the women riders. But I’m also gutted, because when teenagers are done for doping or cheating, it always makes me really worry about them.
I should stress, I’m not saying teenagers aren’t culpable for their own actions, but I think about when I was 19, and passionate about achieving things, and made some of those mistakes that are part of growing up. And I’m glad I was brought up to think for myself, and have an education in critical thinking – but I know that’s luck, too. I can totally understand how kids fall under the sway of a charismatic coach or an overbearing parent – and I also can’t help remembering the stories of Genèvieve Jeanson and other riders, whose coaches doping them was just the tip of an awful iceberg. I’m not saying that’s happening here at all, but that’s an extreme example of how sometimes riders who dope can also be victims.
Wow, what a weekend of racing, so much drama – absolutely fantastic racing, that really shouldn’t be overshadowed by the mechanical doping scandal (and the bottom line on that, it’s great it’s getting caught – I’ve got some links about that too, if you scroll down). I’ve got some videos, photos and media for you from the women’s races, starting with the first EVER u23 Cyclocross World Championships…
u23 women’s race
Update! I love this new UCI video, on the impact of the new World Champs – it’s good that they’re celebrating this, and the awesome riders (spoiler, includes the first ever u23 winner’s interview!)
Highlights and full race reply
Tomorrow it’s the 2016 women’s u23 and elite Cyclocross World Championships, and to celebrate, I’ve not only got Part 3 of my Rider Q&As, with Ellen van Loy and Åsa Erlandsson, I’ve also got links to other pre-race coverage I’ve been enjoying and that’s been recommended by other cyclocross fans. It’s going to be such a great set of races!
If you’ve missed them, here’s my pre-race coverage so far:
Special thanks to Helen and Marianne for putting me in touch with other riders
One of the top favourites is Ellen van Loy, one of the Belgians racing for Young Telenet-Fidea, and found on the podiums throughout the season, and winning the SuperPrestige Diegem. After she was third in the Zolder World Cup in December, she’ll definitely be one to watch tomorrow, especially in front of a home crowd…
ProWomensCycling: What do you think of the Zolder World Championships course?
Ellen van Loy: I’m happy the race isn’t that different than the World Cup in December. We know the course, it makes it little less stressful, I think. Of course, with the expected rain, some sections will be little different.
PWC: Is it strange, racing it so soon after the Zolder World Cup? Or is that good for you?
We’re getting closer and closer to the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships at Zolder, and I’ve been asking riders what they’re thinking about the race. Part 1 was Q&As from Marianne Vos, Helen Wyman and British u23 Hannah Peyton; Part 3 has Ellen van Loy and Åsa Erlandsson, along with a selection of other pre-race media; and in this post, I get answers from winner of the last CX World Cup, Sophie de Boer, Dutch champion Thalita de Jong and Australian Champion Lisa Jacobs, with a preview video from Canadians Ruby West and Maggie Coles-Lyster.
Don’t forget, if you want to watch the races as they happen this weekend, or learn more about them, even the men’s races (do men race bikes too?) I’ve got a guide here.
After a difficult start, Sophie de Boer is already having a fantastic 2016, having won the Soudal Classics Leuven race, and then last week, her first ever CX World Cup in Hoogerheide. One of the super-strong Dutch ‘Cross contingent, she races for Kalas-NNOF in the mud.
ProWomensCycling: How are you feeling?
Sophie de Boer: I’m feeling good and looking forwards to Saturday.
PWC: You had a bit of a difficult season, but it seems 2016 has been wonderful so far, with your win in Leuven, and better yet, your first ever World Cup win! Can you tell us a little bit more about the season, and how it turned round for you?
On Saturday cyclocross makes history, as we have not only the Elite women’s 2016 CX World Championships, we also have the first ever Worlds for the u23 riders! I’ve been asking riders what they’re thinking about the Zolder World Champs, and in what’s hopefully Part 1 of a mini-series, I have Q&As from Marianne Vos, Helen Wyman and British u23 Hannah Peyton.
Don’t forget, if you want to watch the races as they happen, or find out more about them, even the men’s races (do men race bikes too?) I’ve got a guide here.
Marianne Vos is one of the all-time legends of women’s cycling, but especially cyclocross, with 7 World Championships golds, a silver and a bronze to her name. After a really horrible 2015, with various injuries, she’s focusing on recovery, and is very disappointed to be skipping Worlds this year. But she’s not just the best cyclist in the world, she’s also one of the biggest fans, so rather than hiding from Worlds, she’s promoting the sport, and will be doing analysis on the Sporza stream before and after the elite women’s race.
ProWomensCycling: Who do you think the favourites are for the race?
The 2015-6 Cyclocross season has given us more racing to watch than ever before, and the 2016 World Championships at Heusden-Zolder continue the trend – we’ll be able to watch the junior men and the u23 and elite women and men live, with TV and livefeeds. It’s so exciting – especially for the u23 women, as this is the first time there’s been more than one women’s category, and the younger riders can race for their own win, rather than get destroyed by the superstars.
I’m here to tell you how to watch it all, and if the first options don’t work for you, where to go for help. Here’s the UCI TV Schedule, to tell you which races will be shown on channels around the world – for example, NOS in the Netherlands, and Belgium’s Sporza will show all the races which will have commentary from CX superstar Marianne Vos before and after the race. If some or any of the races aren’t shown in your region, never fear, the UCI is streaming all races on their Youtube, where they’ll also be archived afterwards – here are the timings and links:
- Men’s Junior World Championships, Saturday 30th January, 11:00 Euro CET (10am UK GMT, 5am USA EST, 9pm Aussie AEDT) – UCI stream.
- Women’s u23 World Championships, 30th January, 13:00 CET (12pm GMT, 7am EST, 11pm AEDT) – UCI stream
- Women’s Elite World Championships, 30th January, 15:00 CET (2pm GMT, 9am EST, 2am AEDT) – UCI stream
- Men’s u23 World Championships, Sunday 31st January, 11:00 CET (10am UK GMT, 5am USA EST, 9pm Aussie AEDT) – UCI stream
- Men’s Elite World Championships, 31st January, 15:00 CET (2pm GMT, 9am EST, 2am AEDT) – UCI stream
Click through to those streams now – if you can see a countdown, you’ll be able to watch it on the day, but if not, don’t worry.