Worlds week makes me so happy, especially because it’s so easy for people who aren’t hardcore fans to get engaged with women’s cycling. It’s right there on tv, there’s tons of media around, so I like to do my bit to help, by giving people unfamiliar with the sport some riders to cheer for. People tell me who their favourite male rider is, and why they like him, and I give them the equivalent rider in the 2015 women’s road race World Championships – or if they’re completely new to cycling, their favourite kind of sports/person. I call this Equivalenting, and I’ve already made a Richmond 2015 post, full of riders who have fun, push themselves, are good team players and are underdogs, and you can see posts from previous years as well.
In this post, equivalents of Peter Sagan, Matti Breschel, Ian Stannard, Ed Clancy,
One of my very favourite games is helping people who are new to women’s cycling find riders to cheer for, so that people who have maybe loved men’s cycling for years but never really seen women’s racing, or are new to cycling completely, can become an instant fan
How this works is you can tell me why you like one of the male cyclists, or a trackie, or MTB rider, for example, or what kind of person you like to support. This can be for riding style (the hard-working team player, the mountain goat, the one who makes the craziest doomed attempts to escape) or for personality, or even for interests (Do you want to cheer for riders doing science PhDs? Or have a miniature pig as a pet? I can help you with that!). Basically, tell me in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll bespoke you up, with riders who should feature in the 2015 Road Race Worlds. And of course, if you’re reading this and have different suggestions and equivalents, tell or tweet me and I’ll put them in a future post!
Previous year’s Equivalenting posts are here, but let’s start with what people have asked this year…
Riders who have fun
Every year I really enjoy playing the Equivalents game, helping people enjoy Worlds a bit more. It’s for people who are new to women’s road cycling, or are fans who are interested in what I’ve got to say – but basically people tell me their favourite male cyclist, or type of rider, and I’ll give them an equivalent to cheer for in the women’s Road Race on Saturday. I’ve written one post already this year, where I gave Equivalents for Mark Cavendish, Fabian Cancellara, Tommy Voeckler, David Millar, Nico Roche and “Nice riders/underdogs”, and here’s part two.
Remember, if you’d like an Equivalent, leave me a comment, or tweet me with who you like, and most importantly why, and I’ll answer before Worlds starts! The guide to how to watch Worlds is here.
James asked for a “Jack Bauer, because he can ride, he can kill people and he totally rocks the man-bag… 😉” – and I can’t do one, but I can split it into two! Iris Slappendel is an awesome rouleur type who can make man-bags – off the bike she’s a designer who creates custom bags out of recycled cycling materials, as well as other things. She’s the current Dutch road race champion, very much liked in the peloton, and has a great blog and twitter – you’ll see her racing hard for her team-mates in Worlds.
I’m not sure Iris could kill you, though – but some other riders definitely could!
One of the games I love to play is “Equivalenting” – where people tell me their favourite male riders or favourite kinds of riders, and I find them a female equivalent to cheer for at the Road World Championships. I started this before the 2012 Olympics on twitter, for people who didn’t watch a lot of women’s cycling (because it’s hard to watch, let’s face it) but really wanted to love the racing, and for curious women’s cycling fans, who want to see what I’d say.
You can read some of my old Equivalents posts if you like, from the 2012 (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) but I’ve started again for 2014. If you’d like me to Equivalent for you, tell me your favourite rider and why you like them in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll see what I can do – and of course, if you can think of a better Equivalent, please share it!
So, without further ado…
The two biggest pure sprinters in the peloton are Kirsten Wild, who’s not racing Worlds this year, as she’s focusing on track, and Giorgia Bronzini. Now you might be thinking “Ponferrada is too hilly for Bronzini”, but remember, she got over the hills in Geelong to win her first of two Road World Championships golds, and managed to stay invisible in the pack until she exploded out in the finishing straight.
Like Cav, she’s a smaller rider, and also has a Track World Championships gold medal (in the 2009 Points race) – and she has a huge advantage in Worlds, because the Italian National Team genuinely don’t seem to care who wins unless it’s one of them, so if she’s looking like she’s doing well, she’ll have her chance.
This week I’ve been playing my favourite game of giving people my guess at the women’s peloton equivalent of their favourite male riders, so if they’re new to women’s cycling, they have people to cheer for at the Worlds road race this afternoon. So far, Part 1 included equivalents for Jens Voigt, Cancellara, Boonen, Greipel and Contador, and Part 2 had Philippe Gilbert, Cav, Sagan and Phinney…. but you still have more! So, without further ado….
For his ITT and climbing ability, if you like Nibali, cheer for Tatiana Guderzo. Guderzo is an Italian climbing star, who you’ll always find in the GC of the mountainous stage races. She’s a former Road World Champion, too. I say this a lot, but look up the 2009 Worlds, for a masterclass in “how to beat Marianne Vos”, as Guderzo and Cantele took it in turns to attack poor Vos over and over again, until Guderzo escaped for the win, with Cantele frustrating any and every chase effort. Guderzo is supported by the Fiamme Azurre, the sporting arm of the Italian police and prison service, so you’ll see photos of her in her uniform, working for them in the off-season.
Yesterday I gave you part 1 of my Equivalents post – matching women cyclists to people’s favourite male riders. I love this game, because it’s a fun challenge – but it’s also a great way of giving people who want to get into women’s cycling riders to cheer for at the Worlds. Here’s part 2 – and if you have better equivalents, or you have riders you’d like me to match for you, let me know in the comments, or on twitter, at @_pigeons_.
A lot of people have asked for an equivalent of PhilGil, and I’ll go one better, with a rider who has a career Gilbert can only dream of… yes, I’m talking Marianne Vos!
Vos is the absolute genuis of women’s cycling, and just like Gilbert, she rampages through the Classics season, winning pretty much everything. The women have this great series of day races, the Road World Cup, half of which are Spring Classics. Two are familiar to fans of men’s cycling – the Flèche Wallonne and the Ronde van Vlaanderen (watch the David Harmon-narrated video of highlights of this year’s races) but I really love the women-only races – the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, in the hills around Varese, and the Ronde van Drenthe, a tough Dutch race through cobbled lanes and over a steep, sharp man-made hill (the Harmon video of those two is here). Vos has won all of these except Flanders, so watch out for her next year – but to be fair, there are very, very few races Vos hasn’t won!
With the Worlds Road Race nearly upon us, I’m playing my favourite game on Twitter again – if people tell me their favourite male riders, or types of riders, I’ll match them with a female pro cyclist, to cheer for on Saturday. I always love this – I did it for the Olympics, and it’s always a fun way of sharing stories about some of my favourite riders – and hopefully it gives people who want to know more about women’s cycling a jumping off point. So here are some of the riders I’ve matched up so far – if you want to play – or think you have better suggestions – tell me YOUR favourites in the comments, or tweet me at @_pigeons_ and you can get ready for Limburg!
So, who do I think is who? Here’s part 1 – more to follow before the Worlds.
Loads of people have asked who the female Jens Voigt is, and my equivalents are Sharon Laws and Ellen van Dijk. Both are riders who will turn themselves inside out and upside down for their team-mates – if you were watching the Olympic road race, you’ll have seen Van Dijk Voigting the hell out of the peloton, attacking over and over and over again before the race got anywhere near Box Hill. Wasn’t that race spectacular? I’m going to have to read Dan’s Post-Coital Race Recap all over again!