Podcast 2017 Episode 24 – Do Better and Be Better

This week we follow up on the second race from La Course by Le Tour de France; the chase held on the weekend with the top 19 riders from the Col d’Izoard stage raced it out on the streets of Marseille. We talk through the excitement and also the issues that this new format of race revealed. There’s positives and negatives, we take our time with both and also explore ways that we think the format could be improved for the future. (53:56 MIN / 49.39 MB)

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Here’s a handy link to the Cycling contacts on the ASO’s website (we note in particular the Marketing and Creation of New Events email addresses).



How to watch the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, LIVE!

This weekend is the final European women’s racing before the 2015 Road Cycling World Championships, so it’s great we can watch one of the races, the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta live, on 13th September 2015.  However, it’s not all roses and clover, as with 4 days to go, there’s still no race website…  If you just want to know how to watch the race, scroll down – if not, a paragraph or three of why this matters.

The women’s professional bike races have very, very varied media, and this makes things difficult for everyone – riders getting information, fans following races, journalists who can’t find the basics they need.  While I can understand (but not agree with) the arguments that “they’re run by volunteers” = no social media, I can’t for this race – it’s run by the biggest race organisers in the sport, the ASO, and it’s part of one of the three Grand Tours, so there’s literally no excuse.  It’s been a weird one from the start, changing it’s name from “La Course by La Vuelta” (a shout out to the Tour de France women’s crit-like race) to “Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta” and coming onto the calendar late, long after teams had arranged and budgeted for their programmes, and it has no web presence from the race.

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Le Tour Entier – the manifesto

I’m sure we’ll be talking about this more in our next women’s cycling podcast, but Kathryn Bertine has launched the Le Tour Entier website, which has evolved from the petition asking the ASO to reinstate a women’s Tour de France.

The website has more information about all of that, and their campaign is asking for much more than just a TdF – read the full Le Tour Entier manifesto, which sets out a whole range of changes they’d like to see, from race organisers, the ASO, teams, Federations and more.

There’s a lot to take in, so we’re bound to talk about this over the next few weeks – but do have a look, and tell us what you think.  And if you’d like to help them out, you sign the petition, if you haven’t already, buy limited edition Castelli Le Tour Entier Cycling kit, follow @LeTourEntier on twitter, and tweet them your support

(Dan and I interviewed Kathryn back in June, before she started Le Tour Entier – if you want to hear about her talk about her Half the Road women’s cycling documentary, how she got into cycling and more, listen to that podcast)

More on the Women’s Tour de France Petition

Things are moving fast on the calls for women to be able to race the Tour de France.  Right now the petition has got 57,236 signatures, but it’s moving really quickly (and if you haven’t signed it yet, please do) – and Kathryn Bertine, who set up the petition, has started a twitter campaign to ask the Tour organisers if they can meet to discuss it.  You can do that with this handy twitter thingummy, or of course, compose one of your own.  And follow the campaign twitter, @LeTourEntier, for all the campaign news.

Our friend Thomas Warren has written a really good blog about the issue too, taking in Brian Cookson’s campaign for the UCI presidency, the UCI’s rules for women’s races, and much more – I highly recommend you click through and read it.   And if you haven’t already read Dan’s blog about it right here on this site, please do that too, and have conversations with us in the comments.

Why the petition for a women’s TdF is vitally important

So yesterday on the podcast Sarah and I made mention of the petition that is running now to ask the ASO to commit to a women’s TdF. The petition’s been started by several pro cyclists and Emma Pooley has given a couple of great interviews about it and what they’re trying to achieve.

If you’re still trying to decide whether you should sign the petition or not, let’s talk through some of the things that it is and isn’t for, and what it will and won’t achieve.

My take on the petition from the start has been that it’s a good thing, even though it’s unlikely to achieve all of its aims (it’s asking ASO to institute a fully-equitable women’s race in terms of distance, race days, prize money and coverage in 2014).

Without taking anything away from the ambition at all, I think it’s safe to say that any fan of women’s cycling who’s been around for more than 5 minutes knows that this just won’t happen. But as Pooley herself acknowledges, the petition is about staking out an ideal and working towards it, and this is why the petition is vitally important.

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Live coverage of the 2013 Ladies Tour of Qatar!

It’s the first women’s UCI stage race of 2013 – the Ladies Tour of Qatar – and we get to watch this one live!

It’s a race run by the ASO, the company behind the Tour de France, Flèche Wallonne, Paris-Roubaix etc – and if you’re new to women’s racing, but have seen the men’s Tour of Qatar, you’ll know what to expect – very flat courses through the desert, with a lot of wind and sand, and intermediate sprints that count towards the General Classification, so it’s one for the sprint teams, with relentless attacks.  My favourite quote about this race comes from Dutch Liv/Giant rider Iris Slappendel:

“If you imagine the sand to be grass, and the camels to be cows, it’s just like racing at home”


Anyway, this one is streamed live, which is unusual for women’s races – a daily stream at about 11:00 GMT/12:00 CET every day on Arabic tv station Al Jazeera – and it’s repeated at 18:30 GMT/19:30 CET and 00:00 GMT/01:00 CET every day, too (the schedules can be checked through the link at the top).  It’s a great stream – and Podium Café have livethreads every day, where they’ll tell you all about any other links and information you might need – check out Jens’ preview of the race for more.  Videos are popping up on Cycling Fever’s video page – and if you want live in-race coverage via twitter, my top tips for the best commentweeting are Karl Lima of Hitec, Manel Lacambra of Tibco, the Orica-AIS twitter and new team Wiggle Honda’s twitter – they’ll tell you everything that’s going on – and if you want more from a rider’s PoV, check out the fantastic VeloFocus startlist with links to all the riders’ social media!

The Ladies Tour of Qatar runs 29th January to 1st February 2013, and all the information, like start lists and results are on the race website.  And yes, there IS something very interesting about the way the ASO also run the women’s Flèche Wallonne World Cup, where there are fixed cameras on the Mur de Huy, and we can’t see that on tv – yes, it is a shame that this race, with the specific, sprint-lead course is the one people get to see on tv, rather than the ones with more exciting parcours – and yes, there are some very interesting issues where the women riders are racing on tv in a country where women have very different rights to Europe, and get their podium flowers from women in full burkas – but what I always take away from this race is how fantastic the riders are treated while they’re there, how it sets a standard for what we should get from every race, in terms of web and tv coverage – and I love following the riders’ tweets and blogs as they experience it all.