Podcast 2017 Episode 8 – Won By Sprinters Doing Sprinty Things in a Sprint

This week we revisit all of the excitement from the Women’s World Tour at the Ronde van Drenthe. There’s more great racing from Drentse 8 and Setmarna Ciclista Valenciana. On top of this we have several really good articles about ways to improve women’s cycling to discuss and there’s been some interesting news in regards to British Cycling, and Jeannie Longo’s husband Patrice Ciprelli. Of course we can’t finish on a downer so we also take note of some of the fun stuff we’ve seen around the web this week. As always, heaps of links and videos in the post on the website!

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News and videos from the last week in women’s cycling

This week’s racing

Videos, photos and more from the excellent Ronde van Drenthe in this post here.


Drentse Acht van Westerveld

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Watch the 2017 Ronde van Drenthe LIVE, and follow the Drentse 8

Ronde van Drenthe, Saturday 11th March 2017

Drentse Acht van Westerveld, Sunday 12th March 2017

After last weekend’s explosive start to the 2017 Women’s World Tour, at the Strade Bianche the peloton has moved to the Netherlands, and a very different type of Classic.

You all know I love the Ronde van Drenthe for the man-made climb, the VAM-berg, that grows every couple of years, as more landfill is added (it’s currently 44m tall, with an average gradient of 13%, max 21%, and if you want to know more, I love this piece about the climb on Rouleur).  Then there are the seven sections of  “cobbles”, 13.2km in total, including some infamous sections – rocks thrown off a truck to enable vehicles to travel down sandy paths through forests, that are known for sharp edges and the slippery, mossy surface.  But above all, its known as a race where positioning is the ultimate skill.  There are the open fields, where if it’s windy (and it usually is) echelons form and unwary riders are dropped out of contention – and there are the narrow lanes, with sharp corners into the climb and cobbles, that everyone wants to get to first.  On top of that, the town circuit in Hoogeveen has technical corners – around 8 in the last 3km, and 3 90º corners in the last kilometre.  I love this race because it’s been won in so many different ways, from solo attacks to a bunch gallop, or from a small group that gets away and then attacks each other like crazy.

But above all, I love it because it’s the women’s bike race we can reliably see live – the last hour and maybe more are streamed, free to air, on at least 2 local Dutch TV stations.

The Ronde van Drenthe starts on Saturday 11th March at 11:15 European CET (10:15am UK GMT; 9:15pm Australian AEST; 5:15am North American EDT) and is due to finish around 15:00 CET (2pm GMT; 1am AEST; 9am EDT).

The TV starts at 14:00 CET (1pm GMT; midnight AEST; 8am EDT) and the streams are on RTV Drenthe and RTV Oost.  They tend to get a little bit overloaded, so I start mine a bit early.  The commentary is in Dutch, but Dan and I will be doing our own commentary on Mixlr, if you want to hear that (it’s an audio stream that you can listen to alongside the video) – check out my twitter for the exact address.

How to follow the race before the stream starts

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Podcast 2016 Episode 8 – Depths of Nerdery

Podcast logoThis week we talk up a storm about all the racing that’s happened over the last week (and how it’s nice to get live video this week!). We catch up on Drenthe, Drentse8 and the ABSA Cape Epic. There’s another very open video from Wiggle High5 about their performance on the weekend. There’s been some really interesting articles come out that caught our attention as well – and as always we have heaps of links, videos, articles and more in the post below. Dan doesn’t actually pick a fight with anyone this week but we do invent a new board game. It’s a long one and it plumbs new depths of nerdery! (1:23:02 MIN / 76.02 MB)

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Things we talked about

This Cylance team intro video is like some promo for an awesome TV show:

This week’s racing

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2016 Ronde van Drenthe and Drentse 8 – videos, media and more

Every year the Ronde van Drenthe starts the season early with a big marker in the sand – this is how we can cover women’s road cycling!  And in 2016 it excelled itself with so much media.  I’ve got lots of videos (including home-made English commentary) from Round 2 of the Women’s World Tour, the Ronde van Drenthe, and some clips of Sunday’s Drentse Acht van Westerveld, including Marianne Vos on her first race back in the peloton.

Ronde van Drenthe

It’s always a brilliant race – three times over a man-made climb, and four stretches of brutal, unique cobbles.  It’s been won in every way from solo attacks, small groups and bunch sprints, so it’s always unpredictable and beautiful to watch. Let’s start with the entire re-run from RTV Oost (please do watch it there, because it’s so awesome that they did that, but if that goes, there’s a much lower-res back up) and the final few kilometres:

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How to watch the 2016 Ronde van Drenthe, & follow the Drentse 8 LIVE!

Ronde van Drenthe Women’s World Tour: Saturday 12th March

Drense Acht van Westerveld: Sunday 13th March


After the Strade Bianche opened the Women’s World Tour on Saturday, the races are coming weekly for the next month.  Ronde van Drenthe has been one of the most reliable and easy women’s cycling races to watch for years, and is always a great show – one of those races that when it was a Road World Cup has been won every way from solo effort to small group to bunch sprint.

And it’s such a fun course – three time over the weirdest climb in procycling, the VAM-berg, a man-made hill that’s made out of landfill, and so grows every couple of years, and has an average gradient of 17.5%, getting to a max 23%.  It’s definitely one for the punchy climbers out there.  There there are three sections of cobbles, just 9.3km in total, but they’re really difficult.  Annemiek van Vleuten described them as more like rocks just shoved off a truck than normal pavé, and they run through forests, so are covered with moss, and they usually burst the race apart.  And if that’s not enough, there are the wide open sections through fields, where if there’s the slightest bit of wind (and it’s usually gales) there will be echelons forever – and some technical corners in Hoogeveen, with about eight 90º corners in the last 2.5k.  Have I told you I love this race?

The race starts at 11:40 Euro CET (10:40am UK GMT; 9:40pm Aussie AEDT; 5:40am USA EST) and is due to finish between 15:07 and 15:18 CET (so from 2:07pm GMT; 1:07am AEDT; 9:07am EST)

There are TWO livestreams! The   RTV Drenthe and RTV Oost livestreams are both showing it, and the feeds start on Saturday 12th March at 13:30 CET (12:30pm GMT; 11:30pm AEDT; 7:30am EST) which the RTV website says is live, with the men’s race TV from 16:00 CET.  Keep an eye on the RTV Drenthe TV guide and RTV Oost guide in case anything changes, but they’re very reliable. The livestreams are both fabulously un-geo-restricted but get on it early because cycling fans tend to crash it.

That commentary will be in Dutch, but if you want some in English, superstar Bridie O’Donnell and I will be bringing our own unique spin on the race and doing our own commentary on the Prowomenscycling Mixlr that you can listen to.  Open that in a tab in the background, and run one of the streams on mute and hopefully it’ll synch up.   Head to Mixlr once the race starts, or find the exact link on my twitter – we’re going for the vibe of two cycling mates enjoying ourselves, one of whom has actually ridden the race, and hope you’ll like it too!

How to follow the race before the stream starts

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Podcast 2015, Episode 5 – We love it when a plan comes together

Podcast logoSo much racing! We talk all about the Omloop van het Hageland, and then head over the border (or in Dan’s view, two suburbs over) to Drenthe for three fantastic races, including the first round of the 2015 Road World Cup, the Ronde van Drenthe.  Along the way we look at Loren Rowney’s crash in the Drentse 8, examine some tactics, and how analysis is completely dependent on hindsight, and wander all over the peloton.

(Because there was so much racing this week, we didn’t have time to talk CIRC, women’s wages or the proposed women’s World Tour, but we’ll be focusing on that next week)

As always we’ve got the videos and links to everything we talked about down below, but make sure you stream the podcast, we enjoyed it and we hope you do too. (56:38 MIN / 54.4 MB)

To stream this week’s adventures in cycling click here (click through to download).


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This week’s racing

Omloop van het Hageland (Tielt-Winge)

Full results and photos on the Lotto Cycling Cup website


Drentse 8

All the videos, links and things over here, including Loren Rowney’s blog on that crash from her perspective


The Ronde van Drenthe World Cup

So many videos and photos – click here to watch the action!


Novilon Eurocup

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Heal fast, Loren Rowney

So my plan for the day was to come home, eat supper, write a post about how to watch the Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe World Cup live on Saturday 14th March, and then finish transcribing my interview with last year’s Drentse Acht winner Chantal Blaak.  And of course I wanted to find out what happened in the Drentse 8 today…  and then kubrabenelli showed me the video of the sprint, and I just can’t…

You can also see it here, on RTV Drenthe’s website.  A break of 8 had got away, they were powering into the final sprint, and then, at 50m to go, a spectator reaches out and brings down Loren Rowney.  It would be shocking if it was a pure accident, but it is really worrying, because as pretty much everyone has pointed out on twitter, he’s facing Loren, and it almost looks like he’s grabbing for her handlebars.  I can’t quite believe Loren got away with “only” a broken collarbone because crashing at that speed is so, so dangerous.

The Ronde van Drenthe organisers are rightly shocked, and rightly starting to investigate.  There’s nothing they could have done, no one expects this kind of thing at a race.  Massive good healing vibes for Loren, I’m gutted for her – and also for Giorgia Bronzini, the winner, and Vale Scandolara and Annemiek van Vleuten, who rounded out the podium, who had their superb racing overshadowed by some total arsehole.  If it’s not deliberate, it’s unutterably stupid.  I always have a phobia at races that I’d hurt a rider, so how someone can be so careless is so strange to me.  It’s so depressing that this is what will be remembered about this exciting race.

If you want to know how to watch the World Cup live, it’ll be streamed on RTV Drenthe from 13:15 Euro CET (12:15 UK GMT; 7:15am N American Eastern EST; 11:15pm Aussie AEDT) – here’s their pop-up streaming window.  There’s tons more information on the race site, and a preview on VelofocusI’ll put up a proper post tomorrow Here’s my post on how to watch live, and make sure you’re following the Ronde van Drenthe’s twitter account.  Here’s hoping everything else goes as smoothly as possible.

UPDATE! Kubra Benelli sent me another video from a different angle, and if anything it looks even more intentional from here

UPDATE!  And while that was very depressing, to see what the Drenthe races are really about, check out the 9:36 min highlights video – bloody hell, what a breakaway group!  Love that it seems like Vale Scandolara was trying to attack from the group!

UPDATE!  The incomparable Ina-Yoko Teutenberg has things to say about this, on RTV Drenthe (English) – thanks, Bobby, for the find!

MORE UPDATES!  More RTV Drenthe videos, with Velocio-SRAM DS Ronny Lauke, and one about the investigation, and Loren talks about the crash from her perspective on Cycling Tips Ella. And good news: