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!
After the various Individual Time Trials (and you can see all the video I’ve found from those) it was time for a huge number of women’s Road Race Nationals…. If you find videos I’ve missed, as always, please let me know in the comments, or on twitter!
The prize for the most accessible road race goes to France, where the fantastic France 3 showed the women’s road race live – such luxury! The coverage is available for a week, on Pluzz (if you can’t see that in non-France countries, try watching with Hola or Tunnelbear). Big thanks to the wonderful Clo, who runs the Velonova women’s cycling site, who found this. And here’s (an unebeddable) clip from Cyclism’Actu, with the finish and post-race comments from the incredible Pauline Ferrand-Prévot – and another one here:
More Cyclism’Actu post-race interview video with Ferrand-Prévot, with 2nd placed Mélodie LeSueur and Fanny Riberot in 3rd.
That was the first road race victory for Rabobank-Liv, and over in the Netherlands, it was all about that team. Here’s a collection of videos and audios from NOS Sport (UPDATE! See ConfusedSpider telling us about the interview in the comments!) and more video from RaboSportTV
While I’m getting over-excited about the Giro Rosa starting tomorrow, here’s a selection of video from last week’s National Championships. If you know of any more, add it to the comments and I’ll edit it in!
First up is probably the biggest women’s cycling nations, the Netherlands. There was no surprise when Ellen van Dijk won the ITT – she’s on fantastic form this season, getting better and better every year.
Here’s a highlights video from NOS and another video:
The road race was an interesting one. By all rights, Marianne Vos should have been the favourite, but there’s no advantage to Rabobank-Liv/Giant if she won, because she’s already wearing the rainbow jersey – and it’s a good reward for a hard-working team-mate. Lucinda Brand attacked in the second lap and solo-ed for 100km, while Vos, Annemiek van Vleuten and their team-mates enjoyed burnign off all the competition, attacking on the hills and frustrating the chase on the flat. Eventually, only Van Dijk could keep up with them, until a mechanical on the penultimate lap took her out of contention. My favourite parts were watching Vos and AvV soft-pedal when they realised Van Dijk was in trouble, and only race away when they realised she was out – and how they waited until it was clear Brand had won before attacking each other mercillessly!
NOS video of the Road Race highlights and the full final kilometres:
Sarah and I get a little manic-depressive this week because there’s so much awesome racing to talk about and celebrate, but… well we almost called this episode “Riders that we love who aren’t riding the Giro Rosa”. All’s not lost though because we realise that it’s going to be fucking great race anyway! Along the way we recap the Nature Valley GP from Minneapolis-St Paul and the Giro del Trentino. We round up the various national race results and I come up with a theory about how Vos defies the laws of physics by tearing holes in the fabric of time and space. I also have a theory (which Sarah disputes) about Emilia Fahlin having the evil heart of an assassin. Sarah also does her best to convince me that I should let her run my life and then starts to solicit dates for me. Then we take a moment to be encouraged and impressed by Ina-Yoko Teutenberg’s interview with Heidi Swift where she discusses the physical and psychological impacts of her crash and head injury earlier this season. We wrap things up by trying to predict how the Giro Rosa may go given all the news about who is and isn’t able to ride it this year. All up there’s more good than bad, more up and than down and more to listen to than usual because we’re spanning two weeks in one handy podcast! ( 1:31:32 MIN / 87.78 MB )
Pick it up (or down) over at the iTunes store here.
UPDATE!!! Sarah’s asking riders about the Giro this week, for Podium Café, and the lovely team of ORICA-AIS are going to do a video Q&A for them – if you have any pre-race questions you want to ask them, go to the Podium Café post, email prowomenscycling [at] gmail [dot] com or tweet Sarah on @_pigeons_! Questions need to be in by Wednesday evening, but there may be in-race opportunities too….
Sarah will be updating the post shortly with all the links and videos and things that make the post awesome. Until then, here’s a musical tribute to my fear that Sarah and I have somehow jinxed all these riders we love that can’t ride the Giro Rosa this year:
UPDATED UPDATE!!!!: It occurred to me today that instead of posting Alice Cooper above (still awesome), I should have instead posted this song by Why? called Simeon’s Dilemma in tribute of Sarah’s accusations of stalking (and the fact that it mentions fixies):
Things we talked about this week