I’m always interested in the people behind the scenes, who bring cycling to us, and as a former photography student myself, I especially love the photos of races – and one of my all-time favourite cycling photographers is Balint Hamvas, who has been taking pictures at cyclocross races for years, and in 2015 branched out to cover the road season. I talked to Balint about how he got started as a cycling photographer and made it his full-time job, the secrets behind his work, how his road experience was different to cyclocross, and much more, including what his plans are for the future. Listen here, or click through to download it.
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The best place to see Balint’s work is on his site, cyclephotos.co.uk, and make sure you follow him on twitter, facebook, instagram and tumblr, where he’s cyclephotos – and his other site is over here. If you want to see how he carries his gear, here’s a photo.
You can still buy copies of Balint’s photobook for the 2014/5 cyclocross season, which has some amazing writing alongside his excellent pictures, and ships all over the world (here are the last postage dates for arriving by Xmas). Check it out, and buy a copy for you and all your cycling friends, and if you want to know more about it, check out Feargal McKay’s review of the book on Podium Café.
I’m funded to do these interviews thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you! If you want to join them from just $2 a month, there’s more information here.
Elena Cecchini became one of the latest young Italian rider to join a more international team this year, joining Lotto-Soudal, and proceeding to animate the races throughout the Spring Classics, then winning a stage at the prestigious Festival Elsy Jacobs. Last year she’d won the Italian National Road Championships, one of the very hardest of the road champs, and in June she became one of a very select set of riders to win twice in a row, which she followed by racing the Giro Rosa for the first time, and coming home with two podium places, and four stitches in her chin. I talked to her about all this and more, including the secrets of her season, and her advice to future first-time riders, and much more. She’s a really interesting rider, with a lot to say, so settle in, and either listen to her talk, or read the transcript below.
(36:57 mins/35.5MB) You can get automated free updates via the iTunes store here or via our RSS feed here.
You’ve just come back from finishing the Giro – how do you feel?
It’s quite nice when you finish a hard race, and you know that it’s all about recovery, so I’m just enjoying some rest days at home. I was missing my family so much, and my cat, and my grandmother and grandfather, so today I did a small training on my bike, just to restart, because next week I will race the BeNe Ladies Tour, and I have to be in form. It’s really strange to go slowly, because we had really fast and furious stages at the Giro, so it’s nice to be home and just wake up in the morning and have nothing to do!
And it was your first ever Giro!
The 2015 women’s Grand Tour, the Giro Rosa, is done and dusted for another year, but how are the riders looking back on it? I asked two of the young riders all about their experiences – Kasia Niewiadoma, who came home from her second Giro with the Best Young Rider’s jersey, 5th place on the General Classification, and the knowledge she’d helped her Rabo-Liv team mate Anna van der Breggen win the maglia rosa – all at just 20 years old; and another 20-year-old, Jessie Walker, who went from having a surprise late call-up to race for Servetto-Footon, to being the top British finisher. They were kind enough to answer some questions about their experiences in the race…
Congratulations on being the Best Young Rider & 5th place overall – how does it feel?
Thank you so much. It’s a really nice feeling, but I think I am more happy about our Anna who won the GS! She was amazingly strong and every day she showed it, so I think there was no other girl who deserves this victory as much as she did 🙂 The past 10 days were not only about racing for us, but about making a special atmosphere that I really appreciate in our team – just a lot of support and fellow-feeling. My 5th place made my family superbly happy – so for me that’s the biggest reward.
This was your second Giro – apart from the jersey, how was it different to last year?
Marianne Vos is without doubt one of the greatest cyclists of all time, with an amazing palmares that includes two Olympic gold medals and twelve World Championship titles across road, cyclocross and track. But after a relatively lucky career without too many injuries, 2015 has been a bad one for her, with a hamstring injury and broken rib that have kept her off the bike for most of the season. She’s focusing on recovering completely before she comes back to race, and in the mean time has been busy with new challenges including presenting the tv highlights of the Aviva Women’s Tour, and visiting the Giro Rosa… and being her usual generous self, taking time out to answer some questions. Listen to her talk about riding with strangers from the internet at AWT, why watching racing on tv is more scary than riding herself, who she most enjoys competing with on the road and in the mud, why she’s not planning to take on the Hour – and of course, where she is with the recovery.
( 25.5MB) You can get automated free updates via the iTunes store here or via our RSS feed here. Or there’s a transcript below for people who’d rather read than listen
We spoke after Stage 6 of the Giro Rosa, when Marianne had just come back from a ride….
This year’s Giro Rosa was designed so the race all came down to the final stage, and the last, decisive San Domenico climb. Nailing-biting, ‘watching’ it on twitter, as that climb and finish are in a mobile network deadzone… but luckily we have highlights! Would Mara Abbott‘s climbing skills give her the win she was chasing, could Megan Guarnier take back the maglia rosa she had defended for most of the week, or Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio have her chance in pink – or would Anna van der Breggen be able to keep her lead and win solo, after supporting Marianne Vos’ win last year? Watch the highlights to find out! Short clip
More video, photos and links and rider reactions and full results below.
After 8 tough stages in the Giro Rosa, Saturday was all about personal strength – the 22km tough and technical ITT with a descent, hairpins and climbs – and the chance to change the General Classification before the final Queen stage tomorrow. And with some very, very strong ITT riders in the GC top 10, it was going to be an amazing fight. What happened? Watch the highlights and find out!
Short highlights, and the full hour coverage
More videos and links and rider reactions below…
As we come to the end of the Giro Rosa 2015, everything gets more exciting, as riders’ chances for stage glory or GC improvements get fewer. Stage 7 had both, with climbing and a LOT of descents. I caught up with four riders who took time out of their recovery to answer questions about their day, and how the race is going for them: Lucinda Brand, who won the stage with an opportunistic attack and riding 60km solo with a descending masterclass – making that two wins, two podiums and a day in the maglia rosa this Giro; her Rabo-Liv team mate Anna van der Breggen, who’s fighting hard for GC; Bigla’s Sharon Laws, whose team had very bad luck yesterday, but will carry on fighting for Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s GC hopes; and fan favourite Vale Scandolara, who tells us about life in the grupetto, and riding with an injury…
Congratulations on your second win of the Giro! How do you feel?
I’m very tired now 😉. But of course I’m very happy with this second win.
It seemed like perfect tactics – make other teams chase while Anna could relax and climb