I was asked this question earlier today, and it really got me thinking. I’m still riding the high of hanging out at the British National Road Championships, and talking to inspiring riders like Emma Pooley (read my post-ITT, pre-Giro interview with her on Podium Café) – and of course last month I was working on the Friends Life Women’s Tour (you can listen to me talk about that here and here, and see all the videos I collected from the race on Podium Café), but I genuinely think we’re on an upwards wave at the moment. The question is always “how do we keep moving in the right direction?” but it’s important to take a moment to be happy about what’s going well.
In her continuing series of special one-on-one interviews, Sarah sits down with Emma Pooley to discuss her reduced year last year, which included marathons, triathlons and finishing her PhD studies. They also cover what her plans are for the season ahead. Emma Pooley is one of the most interesting riders in the peloton, the 2010 World Time Trial Champion and 2008 Olympic ITT silver medallist. She’s also won some of the biggest races in the women’s calendar, including the Tour de l’Aude Grand Tour, and World Cups including the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Flèche Wallonne and the GP de Plouay, combining climbing skills with suicide attacks. She and Sarah discussed her work campaigning for women’s cycling and Amnesty International, getting through her PhD, running marathons in snowstorms, what she feels about her new team, Lotto-Belisol – and of course, coming back in time for the 4th Road World Cup, Flèche Wallonne…. (38:43 MIN / 37.18 MB)
It’s also available as a transcript, on Podium Café – part 1, on finishing her PhD, running marathons in the snow, campaigning for women’s cycling, and supporting Amnesty International – and part 2, previewing the Flèche Wallonne and the Friends Life Women’s Tour.
- Follow Emma through her season on her twitter, and through Lotto-Belisol‘s twitter and website.
- There’s another recent interview with her on the BBC website, where she talks about her future in triathlon, and you should definitely read it!
- More about the Le Tour Entier campaign and manifesto – and about the Half the Road documentary, including details of how you can get to see it.
- Amnesty International has portals for different countries – go in through their main international page, and see how you can help them. It’s not just about giving money – signing their petitions and writing letters really helps them out. Have a look at their activism centre (that’s the international one – this is the British one – and here’s more information about their AmnesTea campaign).
- Flèche Wallonne is on Wednesday 23rd April – guide to following it “live”
- The Friends Life Women’s Tour of Britain, 7th-11th May
It’s a big day for women’s cycling, with the Cyclocross Worlds, and a huge announcement from the ASO – this summer, during the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France on 27th July, there’ll be a women’s race on the Champs Elysées, in front of the huge crowds and international tv – “La Course by Le Tour de France”.
This is the first time that women have been able to race Le Tour alongside the men since 1989, and it’s a big deal. It’s also proof that social media campaigns really do work, as this is in response to the Le Tour Entier petition that was set up during the 2013 Tour by Kathryn Bertine, Chrissie Wellington, Emma Pooley and Marianne Vos, calling for a women’s Tour de France. The ASO were not happy at the time, but with Brian Cookson taking over at the UCI and pledging support for women’s cycling – not to mention the huge audiences tuning into the London Olympic road race – it seems like this was something that had to happen.
As to whether it’s going to be a one-off or a step into a full women’s race, well, we’ll have to wait and see – but one thing I know is that the Le Tour Entier team aren’t going to rest on their laurels! I can imagine that the first race will be spectacular, and unlike the Tour of California “women’s invitational time trial”, which really is a side-show, this is a proper race, given 1.1 accreditation by the UCI. And it’s a perfect course for the women, who are more than used to cobbled sprinting. Hopefully we’ll be able to see the sprint heroines like Vos, Kirsten Wild, Giorgia Bronzini, Chloe Hosking and Lizzie Armitstead fight every inch of the way!
For more on La Course, have a look at the Le Tour Entier announcement, and their follow-up piece including quotes from Specialized-lululemon team boss Kristy Scrymgeour. And there’s a report from British Newspaper the Guardian, and doubtless a lot more to come – keep up with it all by following the Le Tour Entier twitter.
UPDATE! Interview with Kathryn Bertine on VeloNation, with quotes from Emma Johansson. I especially liked this, about what fans can do:
Bertine outlines what she believes are the most important things in year one. “Securing media and sponsorship will be the key factors, and of course, the fans of cycling can play an enormous role by supporting this year’s La Course race.
“Click on the links, watch the news programs, talk about the incredible change taking place…this is something we can all do to drive change. If we create the demand, opportunity and business potential for women’s pro cycling the thrive, then ASO will continue to see the value.”
I’m sure we’ll be talking about this more in our next women’s cycling podcast, but Kathryn Bertine has launched the Le Tour Entier website, which has evolved from the petition asking the ASO to reinstate a women’s Tour de France.
The website has more information about all of that, and their campaign is asking for much more than just a TdF – read the full Le Tour Entier manifesto, which sets out a whole range of changes they’d like to see, from race organisers, the ASO, teams, Federations and more.
There’s a lot to take in, so we’re bound to talk about this over the next few weeks – but do have a look, and tell us what you think. And if you’d like to help them out, you sign the petition, if you haven’t already, buy limited edition Castelli Le Tour Entier Cycling kit, follow @LeTourEntier on twitter, and tweet them your support
(Dan and I interviewed Kathryn back in June, before she started Le Tour Entier – if you want to hear about her talk about her Half the Road women’s cycling documentary, how she got into cycling and more, listen to that podcast)
This week didn’t have as much racing as the last few weeks have had but somehow we still managed to fit in the Sparkassen Giro, BMX World Championships, Vallnord MTB World Cup and more before getting into the substantial number of issues, comments, interviews and general things that happened during the week. It’s a long episode, but it’s mostly happy (except for the title which is dedicated to someone rather special)! ( 1:34:10 MIN / 90.41 MB)
Here’s what we talked about this week….
Marianne Vos raced Vallnord XCo and didn’t do so well – but we love her even more for this tweet:
Okay, that was crap… I’ll skip the feeling from today’s race and look at the whole mtb experience this year. Happy I took this challenge!
— Marianne Vos (@marianne_vos) July 27, 2013
We love that she keeps pushing herself and learning – and admitting when things don’t go her way, and finding the good in it.
This week Sarah pulls apart the UCI calendar and rebuilds it, comparing previous years so we can see what’s happened to all the races. Speaking of races, we recap Thüringen, Limousin and Cascade before launching into other ranty stuff like catching up on the petition to the ASO for a women’s Tour de France and the various reactions to it. We also talk about some of the cool things we’ve seen around the joint online and I also (mis)appropriate an idea that Craig left in the comments here about a different kind of stakeholder survey. Pour yourself a large drink and get ready to snort it out your nose. (1:27:39 MIN / 84.15 MB)
Things we discussed this week
Part 1 of Sarah’s post on the changes to the women’s cycling calendar, on Podium Café – check back there for discussion in the comments and more. She’ll have more charts and more comment later in the week – keep an eye on the women’s section of Podium Café.
UPDATE! Part 2 of Sarah’s posts, with a chart showing all the changes over time, and a visual view of the 2013 season
Things are moving fast on the calls for women to be able to race the Tour de France. Right now the petition has got 57,236 signatures, but it’s moving really quickly (and if you haven’t signed it yet, please do) – and Kathryn Bertine, who set up the petition, has started a twitter campaign to ask the Tour organisers if they can meet to discuss it. You can do that with this handy twitter thingummy, or of course, compose one of your own. And follow the campaign twitter, @LeTourEntier, for all the campaign news.
Our friend Thomas Warren has written a really good blog about the issue too, taking in Brian Cookson’s campaign for the UCI presidency, the UCI’s rules for women’s races, and much more – I highly recommend you click through and read it. And if you haven’t already read Dan’s blog about it right here on this site, please do that too, and have conversations with us in the comments.