Big thanks!

It was a crazy long weekend of women’s cycling – amazing racing on the road and MTB, all over the place.  I wrote about the action on Total Women’s Cycling, but I wanted to post a ‘thankyou’ post.  I’ve been struggling with my fan-motivation for the last few weeks – there was just so much bad news everywhere, and that really got me down.  But then, this weekend!  So much superb racing – and getting to enjoy it with an online community of fans, including watching riders on twitter having a great time and congratulating each other too – it reminded me exactly why I love the sport.

So, in no particular order….

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How to watch the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen 2013

The Ronde van Vlaanderen is such an important race on the women’s calendar – and it’s one of the races pretty much every woman in the peloton wants to win.  It’s iconic, historic, super-difficult, and very, very special.  It’s also the 10th edition of the women’s race and the third round of the Road World Cup – so teams and riders will be planning and preparing and dreaming of their Flanders ride, right now.

People have been asking me how they can watch this race, and I’ve got some bad news to start with – there’s no live tv, and if past years are anything to go by, it’ll be very, very limited video coverage.  Belgian tv station Sporza should show some short highlights of it after the men’s race (maybe before the men’s podium ceremony, maybe afterwards) – and this will be on their videozone after the race.  In some years, they’ve cut to the women’s finish-line live in the men’s coverage, but don’t get your hopes up too much.

There will be a 5-minute highlights video in English going up on the UCI’s youtube account on the night of the race, and a few weeks later, there will be a 25 minute World Cup film, that will have RvV and another race (this might turn up on tv channels like Europsport, too).  There may be short highlights on various European tv channels soon after the race – Dutch NOS, for example – and depending on how Marianne Vos does, there could be something about the race on the Rabosport youtube.

Yes, I know – there should be a lot more than this – so if you want to take 5 minutes and email or tweet the tv station who shows cycling, the race, the UCI, or anyone you want, and tell them you want more, I’m sure it can only do good.

So, how DO I follow the race?

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How we, the fans, can help support women’s cycling

One of my ongoing themes is thinking about how we, the fans, can help this sport we love.  It’s a fascinating topic for me – on the one hand, I can (and do) bemoan the fact I feel women’s cycling is unfairly marginalised by the UCI, the cycling press, the media – after all, fans LOVE women’s racing when they get to see it, and more people watched the women’s Olympic road race on the BBC and Eurosport than watched the men’s – but on the other, what an amazing opportunity for us, as fans, to shape how the sport is portrayed, and to directly help it grow.

Think about it – with the ridiculous sums of money and publicity floating around Team Sky, for example, fans of men’s cycling tend to be seen as an amorphous mass, for riders to moan about, if they think about us at all.  But on the women’s side, our blogging, tweeting, ‘like’-ing, and all our actions, can really make a difference.  I truly believe in the maxim, “be the change you want to see” – and I am still in awe of how fans’ backing and support for the Unofficial, Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey blew all our expectations out of the water, and showed how, working together, we can directly support the riders, teams and sport we love.

And there are some more initiatives I want to highlight, that give us some really simple, easy and fun ways to help.  I know I talk about some of these all the time, but damn, I love their passion, their continual commitment to the sport – and above all, how EASY they make it for us to help.

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