Podcast 2017 Episode 18 – and how to watch the OVO Energy Women’s Tour

This week marks the beginning of the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, the United Kingdom’s best known (only) women’s UCI stage race. We run through a full preview of each stage, the riders that are likely to do well and the teams who have very clearly come prepared for this year’s contest. Following that we also take a quick look at the recent downhill mountain bike event at Fort William, with a bit of a surprise result. (52.14 MIN / 47.77 MB)

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How to watch the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, 7-11th June 2017

The race stage information is on the excellent race website, including the start times.  The UK is in he BST timezone, one hour behind European CEST and 9 hours behind Australian AEST, and 5 hours ahead of USA EDT.  So if a stage starts at 11am BST, that’s 12:00 CEST, 8pm AEST and 6am EDT.

Follow me on twitter to see the things I like from the race, and my own updates – and I’ll put up daily posts here with stage video, media and more, including each #RiderResults rider…. which reminds me…

Join in the Look Mum No Hands! daily #RiderResults game

Every day, excellent London cycling café chain Look Mum No Hands! will be offering prizes in their #RiderResults competition.  I’ll be picking a rider for every stage, and telling you a bit more about them, and you need to tell Look Mum where you think they’ll place in that particular stage, on their fantastic twitter, with the #RiderResults hashtag – if you’re right and they pick your name out of their hat, you’ll win something great from their shop (which you should check out, there are gorgeous things).  The cutoff point is 5km to go in each stage.

For Stage 1, I’m picking Marianne Vos, who has the most interesting race history.  In the first year, she won 3 stages and the overall GC; in 2015, she couldn’t race as she was having injury issues, but presented the TV highlights (I interviewed her about that here); then last year, she “only” won one stage and came 4th in the GC.

This year she had a great cyclocross mini-season, winning the first race of the year on New Year’s Day, and coming second in the most thrilling World Championships we’ve ever seen – but her Spring Classics were disappointing to her, and her best result was 7th in Ronde van Drenthe WorldTour race, as she was injured again. She was especially disappointed to miss two of the first ever women’s Ardennes Week races, especially Amstel Gold.  She seems to be feeling better in May, winning a couple of smaller day races, and then winning Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik in a classic, exhilarating Vos style.  But is she back?

In her time, she’s won, well…..practically everything!  Olympic golds on the track and road, and 13 World Championships across road, track and CX.  But more than that, she lives for cycling, and loves it passionately.  She has run her own team for years – this year as WM3 Procycling – and the scariest thing about her is that as good as she is at winning, she’ll also work her heart out for her team-mates as well, as in the Rio Olympics.

Fans are desperate to see her back on top – but is she?  Where do YOU think she’ll finish Stage 1?

Find out more about Marianne on her website, and follow her on twitter and instagram.

 

 

 

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Podcast 2017, Episode 15 – the octuplets

If last week was the treble, with three big races, this week it was octuplets!

Dan has been in Tokyo for the last week, and missed out on all the racing, so I catch him up on the action from the USA Crits Speed Week, the Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg, the Tour de Yorkshire in the UK, and over in France, the first round of the 2017 Downhill MTB World Cup in Lourdes.  Along the way we talk mindgames in racing, the implications of having eight different women’s cycling livestreams over three days, and a lot more.  And I told him about my adventures on BBC Woman’s Hour, and recording with the Wheel Suckers Podcast.

We didn’t get around to talking about everything from last week, so the post below is packed with links, videos, and other things I’ve seen around the internet in the last week.  Of course I recommend it!

Listen to us here, or download directly from Soundcloud.

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This week’s women’s cycling news, videos and links

I was really honoured to be a part of the BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour that was dedicated to women’s cycling.  Usually the show features multiple topics, but because it’s such a big subject, they had a whole programme dedicated to it, recorded as-live in the London Bike Kitchen.   It includes MTB with Tracey Moseley, road racing with Rochelle Gilmore and Grace Garner, the history of women and cycling with Dr Astrid Swenson, saddle sores with vulval health expert Dr Jane Sterling, and Jenni Gwiadowski, the Director of the LBK, talks everyday cycling, and teaches presenter Jane Garvey to mend a puncture (which you can also watch as a video).  It should be archived here for all time, so please do listen!

This week’s racing

Videos, media and more from:

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The Festival Elsy Jacobs

Short highlights, and full video from Stage 1 and Stage 2:

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Videos, media and more from the 2017 Lourdes Downhill MTB World Cup

The MTB season has started, and Lourdes was action-filled, not just because of the amazing racing (and it WAS amazing), but also because of the truly epic weather, as they arrived in snow that cleared up over the first few days, and then the elite men were hit with an incredible storm to ride though during the finals, that left a surprise winner.

On the women’s side, despite the fact that the UCI have reduced the number of women eligible to race, the skill levels just keep going up and up and up, and it was a dramatic race – could Rachel Atherton keep up her unbeaten run of wins, or would this be the time a rival knocks her off her throne?

You can watch the full race replay on Red Bull TV, but that’s just the tip of the media iceberg.  Scroll down for tons more videos, amazing photo galleries, interviews and more.

Highlights from the UCI, Red Bull Bike, Shimano and Vital MTB

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In praise of the Enduro World Series – and their new Juliana Women’s Rides

Enduro MTB is a pretty new discipline, as far as cycling goes.  It’s kind of a cross between Downhill, cross country and Marathon mountain biking – a stage race format, with multiple events over a weekend, and competitors also riding the (mostly uphill) transfers between the (mostly downhill) stages.  If you want to know more about it, there are the wikipedia article, and introductions from Pinkbike and BikeRadar, and this video from GCN MTB.

The Enduro World Series is the biggest competition, a season-long series that takes place in some truly gorgeous locations.  It’s only been running since 2013, and it’s very definitely outside the umbrella of the UCI, organised by the Enduro Mountain Bike Association (EMBA), which itself started in 2012, and from the start, it’s been very inclusive, especially of women, but also of fans.  It has excellent media, with lots of rider involvement, in the previews of each race, highlights, and lots of things in between, and it makes these available to pretty much everyone.  Check out the video page and photo galleries on their website, and drool over that beautifully-MTB combination of fantastic people doing extraordinary things on amazing bikes, in the most incredible landscapes.

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The 2017 Absa Cape Epic – truly epic South African MTB – watch live!

19-26 March 2017

I try to avoid the word “epic”, as it’s so over-used in cycling…  but this time, it’s warranted!

The Absa Cape Epic is an 8-stage MTB race in South Africa, contested by teams of two riders in three categories: women’s and men’s teams, mixed pairs, Masters and Grand Masters.  The race is 691km in total, with 15,400m of climbing, in some of the most incredible landscapes.  Riders sleep in tent villages, provided for them, and have to contend with extreme conditions.  It’s glorious, and it’s especially great for fans of women’s cycling, because it’s exactly the same course for the women as for the men, and really shows up anyone who think women are physically lesser.  You can check out the route video, and on the website.  And the race is so supportive of women – they say they were the first major cycling race to offer equal prize money for the women and men.

We can follow the race live, and watch on the race livestream, as well as watch on TV!  You can find where and when it will be shown on TV here, and the details of the livestream timing here. The stream will be on the race homepage, and live timings are in South African SAST, which is 1 hour ahead of European CET, 2 hours ahead of UK GMT, 6 hours ahead of North American EDT, and 9 hours behind Australian AEDT – so a 9am start would be 08:00 CET, 7am GMT, 3am EDT and 6pm AEDT.  If you missed the stream live, you can also watch replays of each day on the race livestream and catch up on all the action.

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Three happy films (& links) for February: Bike science fiction, Lee Craigie and WorldTour

If you, like me, live in the UK, you’ll know that February can be a hard month – so often grey, dreary, dreich, and feeling like it will never end.  Cyclocross is over, and the Spring Classics are yet to begin.  But there are also so many positives too – sunny days feel so much better, for their rarity, and days are getting noticeably longer; the first Spring flowers are out; and in the women’s cycling world, we get tons of great film-ettes that remind us that the winter is nearly over.

I’ve seen three that I love this week – and they include a book giveaway too, because I’m sharing the joy and want to give two lucky readers a nice gift!

1. Lee Craigie’s ‘Escape’ film

You probably already know I’m a huge fan of the Adventure Syndicate, a group of women who share their bike-based adventures to inspire and encourage others to do more.  One of the Founders, Lee Craigie, has made a little film for UK charity Sustrans, sharing her love of cycling as she rides the Caledonia Way.

It’s a gorgeous little film, combining a love of bike riding with gorgeous scenery, and Craigie’s soft Scottish accent.  It’s uplifting, inspiring and happy, and you all should watch it!

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Three women’s cycling crowdfunders

One of the things that’s both frustrating and inspiring is pro athletes having to crowdfund to compete in their sport.  Frustrating, for obvious reasons, but inspiring because the fan community really helps them.  There are three very different ones running fro British women cyclists right now – Para-cycling, MTB and road racing, and here’s how you can help.

Hannah Dines’ Crowdfunder for a new racing trike

Hannah Dines is a Scottish Para-cyclist, who competed in the 2016 Paralympics in the tricycle road races.  She’s having a hard time right now – she recently lost her UK Sport funding, and on top of that, has had her racing trike destroyed, when her car was stolen and set on fire, with the trike inside it. As you can imagine, these both put a large dent in her goal of medaling at the 2010 Paralympics.

Her insurance won’t cover the cost of a new trike, so she’s raising the money herself – and anything she raises over her goal of £7,454 will be donated to the Neil’s Wheels bike shop, so that other disabled people can get their own specialised sports equipment.  The

Read more about her crowdfunder, and please do donate, if you can.  Follow Hannah on twitter, find out more about her in this articles by the Herald, read her blog about why ride a trike, and in this video about Rio, which also was crowd-funded, by handcyclist Karen Darke:

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Bex Baraona’s raffle to fund her racing the 2017 Enduro World Series

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