Catherine Marsal’s amazing life in cycling – now in writing!

Catherine Marsal has had an amazing life in cycling.  The Frenchwoman was an Olympian at 17 in 1988, the first ever women’s Junior Road World Champion in 1987, and the Elite World Champion in her first year as an elite in 1990; struggling for a few years, then becoming World Champion in the Hour Record in 1995; winning the Giro and the Tour de l’Aude Grand Tours; working as a Directeur Sportif before retiring from cycling, and then coming back to the sport as women’s road coach for the Danish Cycling Federation.

She’s seen a lot, and I talked to her about all this, the difficulties of becoming World Champion at a young age, racing with (and against) Jeannie Longo, and of course, the amazing results of the young Danish women, especially in the last week, when 2016 Road World Champion Amalie Dideriksen won 2017 WorldTour #2, the Ronde van Drenthe, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig won the GC at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and then came third in WorldTour #3, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

Of course I think you should listen to my podcast with Marsal, but for those of you who prefer to read interviews, I’ve written part of it up below.

***

ProWomensCycling:  It’s a little bit exciting for Danish cycling right now, isn’t it?

Catherine Marsal:  We are on a cloud!  Things have been going very well since the beginning of the season, the girls are improving so well, every race sees a new adventure, and I’m looking forward to every weekend, to see what’s going to happen next.

PWC: Did you expect that the Danes would do so well this year?

Marsal:  I was expecting – and hoping – that Amalie Dideriksen could express herself, and show her rainbow jersey.  Amalie is not World Champion by chance, she’s a rider who has being working so hard and getting results – maybe not always seen by the media, but she’s been progressing, and the World Champion’s title is something she had in the corner of her mind.  It was very important for her to win a WorldTour race in that jersey, and confirm to the world that she is the World Champion.

PWC:  She won Drenthe in such beautiful style – Boels-Dolmans rode the race so well, and she got into a break with some really clever riders, and just trusted herself.

Marsal:  She has such an instinct for racing, that is unbelievable for her age.  She knows how to handle a very tricky situation like that, and she has a very strong capacity to handle the pressure, and what we expect from her.  That will give her so much strength for the future. Continue reading

Sarah interviews… Catherine Marsal, on her amazing career in cycling

Catherine Marsal is a legend of women’s cycling and French cycling in general. Racing her first Olympic Games at 17, becoming the first ever Junior Road World Champion, and then the first woman to ever be Junior and Elite Road World Champion; winning World Championships golds as a Junior on the track in the Individual Pursuit and in the Team Time Trial; winning the Giro d’Italia, and another of the (now lost) Grand Tours, the Tour de l’Aude twice; and becoming the World Hour Record champion… and much more.

After she finished racing, she was a Directeur Sportif for Team SATS, and then after a break from cycling to do a degree and work in business, three years ago she took the job of women’s coach/manager for the Danish National Team – which has, of course, included being team coach when Amalie Dideriksen became the 2016 Road World Champion.

We talked about her amazing life in cycling, the ups and downs, racing with/against Jeannie Longo, and of course, the incredible results of the Danish women, and a lot more.  Marsal is fantastic to talk to, and was super-patient despite technical issues in the call, and if you’re at all interested in how cycling’s change since the 1990s, the experience of young riders who become World Champions, or Danish cycling, please do listen!

Update!  If you prefer to read interviews, I’ve written up part of it, over here.

You can follow Marsal on her twitter, and on facebook.

If you want to see the videos of some of the races we talked about, links to the 2016 Road World Championships, the 2017 Ronde van Drenthe, and Marsal breaking that Hour Record:

2016 Road World Championships – videos, photos & media from the Road Races

We haven’t had a flat Road World Championships since Copenhagen in 2011, so the sprinters were rubbing their hands with glee.  We’d seen the Team Time Trials and the Individual Time Trials on the course, but how would the peloton take it?  Find out with videos, photos, links and results from the Junior and Elite women’s road races – so exciting, and some amazing moments!

I’ll edit in more as I see it – if you have media you loved, please do let me know in the comments or on twitter.

Junior women’s road race

Highlights and full race replay:

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing,  click here for the final 1.5km, for a textbook sprint finish – high-speed, perfect lead-out.  Keep going until the last group crosses the line, because that was a really cute moment – but whatever you do, make sure you keep watching until the slo-mo overhead, it’s perfect racing.  I adore the final lead-out rider, Chiara Consonni, cheering for Elisa Balsamo’s win before she’s even crossed the line – so confident!  And I really, really love the Italians singing along with the anthem:

Continue reading

Videos and media – 2016 Boels Rental Ladies Tour

September is always so busy with tons of racing, it’s wonderful.  On of this week’s road races was the Boels Rental Ladies Tour in the Netherlands, with most of the big teams, and that combination of classic Dutch-style racing with wind, echelons and 1000 attacks on a mostly flat course until the final stage all over the Cauberg and the other Limburg hills.  There’s always a lot of video and media from the Holland Ladies Tour, and this year lived up to expectations, so grab a cuppa, and enjoy!  Of course I’ll add in more as I see it, and you can share things I’ve missed in the comments

***

This race had fantastic social media, with tons of updates on the race twitter, including photos and videos.  The race’s own videos include the finish-line, and clips of the race, as well as interviews with the winners, and you can find photo galleries for the whole race from Boels-Dolmans, Rabo-liv, and Liv-Plantur – with more stage galleries below, too.

Stage 1

Continue reading

Videos from the 2014 Junior women’s Worlds road race

One of the things I like best about the road cycling World Championships is seeing the junior riders race, the stars of the future.  We have some great junior day races and stage races here in Europe, and I’ve been following the Italian junior races on the fantastic BiciTV – and we get to see a bit of the USA and Aussie juniors on their domestic circuit, but this is the only time all year that all the countries come together, and we see who’s doing well.  It’s also so exiting for the riders. They’re aged between 16 and 18, and have given up so much their friends are doing, and this is their first chance to see if that’s all been worthwhile.

The big story was whether young Danish rider Amalie Dideriksen could become only the third woman to win two Junior World Championships back-to-back (the other two were Brits Nicole Cooke and Lucy Garner, and we all know what Cooke went on to do!).  Last year she wasn’t the strongest, but she was the cleverest, and earlier this year she won the hilly Trofeo da Moreno, the junior equivalent of the Trofeo Binda World Cup (videos here) – but then she broke her collarbone, and she’s only just back from that…. and there was so much talent on the road….

Here’s the highlights of the Ponferrada 2014 junior women’s race, and the full race coverage, with more media below

Continue reading

Videos from the 2014 Trofeo Binda World Cup and the women’s Gent-Wevelgem

I wrote a race report over on Podium Café, but if it’s just the videos of this weekend’s women’s cycling you’re after, step right up….

Trofeo Alfredo Binda World Cup

Continue reading

Videos and links from the Junior Women’s Road Race

While the UCI Congress was going on, and on, and ON, the junior women were racing their Road cycling World Championships.  In some ways it was the most interesting course – no run-in, just 5 laps of the hilly finishing course.  And even though we couldn’t watch it live, Monique Hanley’s tweets and Giulia de Maio‘s  livetext updates on TuttoBici made the race sing.

Continue reading