Podcast 2017 Episode 4 – Why Make It Harder?

cropped-podcast-logo.jpgThis week we talk through the last few cyclocross races of the season. We also take a quick look at all the track racing that’s coming up soon, including the Paracycling Track World Championships. We take some time to kick off the great team kit voting challenge for 2017, so make sure to visit the post to see the pictures, videos and (of course) to vote! We do talk about some of the tougher stories to have come out recently regarding the types of abuse that have been uncovered in the sport. It’s tough reading and listening, but it is good for the sport to bring these problems to light. (58:23 MIN / 53.47 MB)

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Things we talked about this week

Sarah has pulled together the kits for the top 20 women’s teams into one big post, with links to where you can buy them, and most importantly, the 2017 Best Kit poll.  Head over here, check them all out, and VOTE!


Four sobering pieces on bullying, harassment, sexual abuse and other unacceptable practices within women’s cycling:

One of the things that’s being done about these issues is the Dutch Cycling Federation’s project to find out the scope of bullying and harassment in Dutch Cycling – listen to Sarah’s podcast with KNWU’s Anne Loes Kokhuis to find out more.

Recent racing

IJsboerke Ladies Trophy #8, 2017 Krawatencross Lille

Such an exciting way to round of the series – and it finished with Sarah’s absolute number 1 favourite cycling move!  Full race replay, and highlights:

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Podcast 2015, Episode 33 – Australia!

Podcast logo Dan is busy right now, so I swapped him for another Australian, to explain all about the Aussie Summer of Cycling, and why we should all be meeting up in Melbourne and Adelaide for January 2017.  Monique Hanley is a former bike racer who does a ton of work promoting cycling, especially women’s cycling, and especially through her roles on the Executive Board of Cycling Victoria, and as chair of Cycling Australia’s Women’s Commission, and she’s one of my very favourite people in cycling.

January is an amazing month for Australian road cycling, and it’s fantastic to see the strong UCI mini-season for the women back Down Under.  We talked about how cycling has changed for the country – and given Monique’s roles in Cycling Federations, we also talked about the recent Genèvieve Jeanson podcast and story on Cyclingnews, and what cycling bodies can learn from her experience, and prevent anything similar happening in the future.

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Things we talked about this week

The Australian Summer of Cycling:

There’s always great information on the Cycling Australia website, and on their twitter, and there are great videos on their YouTube – we wish all races would use their format, of riders telling the stories of the races.  I’ll put links to watching the races live nearer the time.

UPDATE!  Here’s Cyclingnews’ video preview:

The Kirsten Frattini’s Genèvieve Jeanson podcast and story are on Cyclingnews – and I wrote about it here.  The Australian Sports Commission have a strong Play By The Rules section to support athletes in all sports, and their  member protection policies and documents are here, with all their other Integrity In Sport policies.  If you in Australia and affected by domestic abuse in any way, there are organisations here  that can provide help, advice and support.

Follow Monique on her twitter, and listen to the interview about her cycling story Dan and I did with her pretty much exactly two years ago.  You can find out about all the work Cycling Victoria do on their website, including their pages for women and girls, and their resources for clubs.

So important – Cyclingnews’ Genèvieve Jeanson story & podcast

This week Cyclingnews published a really important piece of journalism, that all cycling fans need to read or listen to.  It’s not an easy story to engage with, because it’s the last thing people want to think happens in a sport they love, but it’s so important we pay attention, so we can all help recognise it and work to prevent it, as fans, media, and people involved in all cycling at all levels.

Genèvieve Jeanson, in case you don’t know, was the 1999 Canadian World Junior Road Race and Time Trial Champion whose elite career came to a halt in 2005, after EPO was found in a blood test.  Jeanson later said that she’d been taking EPO since she was 16 years old, but the worst part of her story was the allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse she made against her coach, André Aubut, who, along with Maurice Duquette, the doctor who gave her the drugs, was banned from being involved in sports for life by the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport.  It’s a really harrowing story, and Jeanson isn’t the only cyclist whose story includes nasty abuse – USA rider Tammy Thomas is another rider who says her doping was entwined with being abused, and ex-Cycling Australia official Warwick Phillips was stabbed by a rider he was convicted of sexually abusing when he was coaching her as a teenager.  And of course, earlier this year the CIRC report into doping in road cycling very briefly referred to women being exploited sexually and financially in the sport, while Ukrainian rider Hanna Solovey, who was caught doping at age 19, has talked about the continual verbal abuse that kept her scared of him (original Russian, and translation on Velorooms).

Jeanson’s story has been told in a French-language book by Alain Gravel, L’affaire Jeanson : l’engrenage, and a film, La Petite Reine  inspired by her life, but there hasn’t been an English-language interview with her since the original doping story broke, until now, when journalist Kirsten Frattini met Jeanson at the 2015 Road World Championships, and interviewed her for the Cyclingnews podcast.  You can listen to that interview here, and for people who don’t do podcasts, there’s an article below it, that not only goes into detail about Jeanson’s story, but also talks to other people involved in the sport who talk about what they saw of the public aspects.  They’ve also published some of the follow-up questions Frattini had after the podcast interview, and that is great journalism.  I genuinely think this is the most important cycling story that’s been published this year.

The thing that I think upset me most about this story was all the people who were corroborating the physical and emotional abuse.  I can make guesses that maybe some of the young riders just didn’t know what to do about it – especially as some of this abuse seems so public, race officials and other responsible adults involved in cycling must have seen it too, and didn’t stop it – so I just have to take my hat off to Frattani for including a list of resources at the end of her article, where people can get help on issues of violence, abuse and doping.  They’re Canadian-based, as Jeanson and Frattani are, so I’ve added a list of UK resources at the bottom of this article too.

What we can all do to prevent this kind of awful story happening in the future is to be aware of the issues (and recognise that while these public stories are about girls and women, abuse also happens to boys and men) and if we’re worried about anyone in our lives, take action.  There are some excellent organisations providing help, and there’s never any harm done in asking “Is this ok?” and “Is this something I should act on?”.   We should see what our Cycling Federations have to say about child protection, and if we’re not satisfied, ask them to do more – and the big Federations and anti-doping agencies need to be mindful that sometimes doping and abuse are entwined, so that they can recognise that doping might be part of a bigger problem, and provide support, especially to young and vulnerable athletes.  Abuse, including blackmail and threats about doping, is never ok, and doesn’t belong in our sport.


  • What to do if you’re worried a child or young adult is at risk of, sexual abuse – resources for children and young people (Childline) and for adults (NSPCC)
  • This is Abuse website – aimed at young people, but useful for everyone to help identify abuse, and find support
  • Childline – 24 hour counselling and support for children and young people
  • The NSPCC’s Child Protection In Sport site, which includes ways to raise sports-specific concerns, as well as support for organisations and clubs around prevention
  • British Cycling’s Safeguarding policies, including a link for reporting concerns, and their Equality Policy, which includes harassment.

These are all UK resources, but Olympic.org, the official website of the Olympic movement, has a portal on sexual harassment in sport that includes how to spot it, international resources, and what people can expect sports federations to do about harassment and abuse.


Nicole Cooke goes out with a bang

I have been robbed by drug cheats, but I am fortunate, I am here before you with more in my basket than the 12 year old dreamed of. But for many genuine people out there who do ride clean; people with morals, many of these people have had to leave the sport with nothing after a lifetime of hard work – some going through horrific financial turmoil. When Lance “cries” on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward – just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.

Nicole Cooke was the first rider ever, male or female, to win the Olympic and World Championship road race in the same year, and it’s sad to see her leave the sport, after a difficult four years.  But she’s certainly going out with a bang, with one of the most passionate, angry exit statements I’ve ever seen.  Click through to her website and read it – I’ve written some thoughts on the matter on Podium Café, but really, read her statement, it’s more than powerful.

Update: Nicole’s website has been overwhelmed in the last couple of days. If you’re having trouble getting to her site, you can view the full text of her statement at Velonation.