It’s the last full Spring Classics weekend, and it goes out with a bang! There’s the first ever women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the climax of the first ever women’s Ardennes Week, but before that, the EPZ Omloop van Borsele: a cobbley sprinters’ Classic, with an ITT for the elite women, and a three-stage Junior women’s race, the last round of the UCI’s Nations Cup.
Of course, Liège is the biggest race, but sadly we can’t expect a livestream. We can hope for highlights to be shown in the men’s race coverage, and a Periscope view of the finishline, but I’ll tell you how we can follow the race live… But first, Borsele.
We’re in the middle of the Ardennes week which means there’s heaps of racing and heaps of climbs around. This week Sarah and Dan talk through how Amstel Gold and Fleche Wallonne both unfolded (they were amazing!), and what this might mean for Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday. There’s also time to catch up on some of the main results from the recent Track World Championships, and to find out a bit more about Lizzie Deignan’s new book “Steadfast” which is out now. Of course there’s plenty more in the podcast and even more in the post! (1:12:03 MIN / 65.98 MB)
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This week’s collection of women’s cycling links and news
This week’s racing
Click to see the videos, photos and media from the 2017 Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne.
Tour of the Gila
Full results of Stage 1, race report and photo gallery
2017 Track World Championships
The 2017 Women’s World Tour and season in general have already shown us an increase in live women’s racing – from streams from the Australian 2017 openers, the Mitchelton Bay Crits and Deakin Women’s Race at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, to the entirely live Omloop van het Hageland, and the live last parts of the WorldTour races Strade Bianche, Ronde van Drenthe and Trofeo Aldredo Binda, we’ve been able to watch some amazing racing.
But the season won’t continue like that. There will be some fantastic live racing at the Healthy Ageing Tour and maybe at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but what about at the Ardennes Week?
Just having an Ardennes Week is fantastic. The three races, Amstel Gold on 16th April, Flèche Wallonne Femmes on 19th, and the first ever Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes on 23rd, will each have a women’s race that’s part of the Women’s WorldTour – but as yet, we’ve had no news about whether we’ll be able to see them live, or even a good length of highlights, beyond 10 minutes on the UCI YouTube.
For the last six years, on and off, I’ve been doing some research and analysis of the women’s cycling road calendar. I started this in the first place because I wanted to really understand the impact of losing and gaining races because I hadn’t seen it anywhere else; and because I work visually, I ended up with lots of colour-coordinated charts and spreadsheets. You can find the earlier posts in the Podium Café series, and then the posts from last year under the women’s road calendar tag on this website.
Now, I usually do this when the UCI announces the coming year’s calendar, around the Road World Champs, but this year, I couldn’t face it, and saved it up until a newsworthy time – which turned out to be a good move. The thing that stopped me doing it is that it changes so much in the months between the announcement and when the races actually take place.
We see this every year – new races that are announced that never run (I’m thinking of the Syrian races, which were included in the calendar for years, even though the war made it perfectly clear they’d never happen, as the most egregious examples, but every year there are more), ones that move around the calendar between initial announcement, and the “pop-up” races that are given UCI status so late in the year that of course most big teams, who have to set their racing schedules in the summer, can’t get there. If you want examples, check out my posts about the 2016 season: the initial announcement in October, changes between October and December, and then more changes by February.
And now it’s time for my annual look at the difference between was was initially on the calendar for 2016, and what was actually raced – and then I’ll look ahead to what we know about 2016. Prepare for the colour coding!
How did the 2016 calendar change between original publication and racing?
To have a closer look, click on each image, or you can open the PDF version.