Catherine Marsal’s amazing life in cycling – now in writing!

Catherine Marsal has had an amazing life in cycling.  The Frenchwoman was an Olympian at 17 in 1988, the first ever women’s Junior Road World Champion in 1987, and the Elite World Champion in her first year as an elite in 1990; struggling for a few years, then becoming World Champion in the Hour Record in 1995; winning the Giro and the Tour de l’Aude Grand Tours; working as a Directeur Sportif before retiring from cycling, and then coming back to the sport as women’s road coach for the Danish Cycling Federation.

She’s seen a lot, and I talked to her about all this, the difficulties of becoming World Champion at a young age, racing with (and against) Jeannie Longo, and of course, the amazing results of the young Danish women, especially in the last week, when 2016 Road World Champion Amalie Dideriksen won 2017 WorldTour #2, the Ronde van Drenthe, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig won the GC at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and then came third in WorldTour #3, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

Of course I think you should listen to my podcast with Marsal, but for those of you who prefer to read interviews, I’ve written part of it up below.

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ProWomensCycling:  It’s a little bit exciting for Danish cycling right now, isn’t it?

Catherine Marsal:  We are on a cloud!  Things have been going very well since the beginning of the season, the girls are improving so well, every race sees a new adventure, and I’m looking forward to every weekend, to see what’s going to happen next.

PWC: Did you expect that the Danes would do so well this year?

Marsal:  I was expecting – and hoping – that Amalie Dideriksen could express herself, and show her rainbow jersey.  Amalie is not World Champion by chance, she’s a rider who has being working so hard and getting results – maybe not always seen by the media, but she’s been progressing, and the World Champion’s title is something she had in the corner of her mind.  It was very important for her to win a WorldTour race in that jersey, and confirm to the world that she is the World Champion.

PWC:  She won Drenthe in such beautiful style – Boels-Dolmans rode the race so well, and she got into a break with some really clever riders, and just trusted herself.

Marsal:  She has such an instinct for racing, that is unbelievable for her age.  She knows how to handle a very tricky situation like that, and she has a very strong capacity to handle the pressure, and what we expect from her.  That will give her so much strength for the future. Continue reading

Sarah interviews… Catherine Marsal, on her amazing career in cycling

Catherine Marsal is a legend of women’s cycling and French cycling in general. Racing her first Olympic Games at 17, becoming the first ever Junior Road World Champion, and then the first woman to ever be Junior and Elite Road World Champion; winning World Championships golds as a Junior on the track in the Individual Pursuit and in the Team Time Trial; winning the Giro d’Italia, and another of the (now lost) Grand Tours, the Tour de l’Aude twice; and becoming the World Hour Record champion… and much more.

After she finished racing, she was a Directeur Sportif for Team SATS, and then after a break from cycling to do a degree and work in business, three years ago she took the job of women’s coach/manager for the Danish National Team – which has, of course, included being team coach when Amalie Dideriksen became the 2016 Road World Champion.

We talked about her amazing life in cycling, the ups and downs, racing with/against Jeannie Longo, and of course, the incredible results of the Danish women, and a lot more.  Marsal is fantastic to talk to, and was super-patient despite technical issues in the call, and if you’re at all interested in how cycling’s change since the 1990s, the experience of young riders who become World Champions, or Danish cycling, please do listen!

Update!  If you prefer to read interviews, I’ve written up part of it, over here.

You can follow Marsal on her twitter, and on facebook.

If you want to see the videos of some of the races we talked about, links to the 2016 Road World Championships, the 2017 Ronde van Drenthe, and Marsal breaking that Hour Record:

How to watch the 2016 Road World Championships

It’s Road Worlds!  Later than usual, but the cycling season has been weird this year, with the combination of the Olympic Games, and the Road Worlds in Doha, Qatar, they’ve been pushed back to try to make sure they’re not TOO hot.  Here’s my guide to watching and following the races live.  We should be able to watch some every race..

The UCI have already said that because the temperatures are likely to be very high, the races may be cut short, to protect the riders, so the information is about the original plan.  Click through the links to get to the course information…

UCI stream for the women’s and men’s TTTs here

If you miss the races live, those streams will have the full races archived after they’re over.

So, how can we watch?

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Videos, photos & more from the 2015 women’s Road Race World Championships

When ever the women’s cycling peloton race Worlds, it’s always super-attacking, exciting, explosive racing, and Richmond 2015 was no exception, even if it wasn’t the hardest Worlds course.  There’s tons of video and race reaction, whether you watched live or are just catching up.

First, the UCI highlights

More highlights videos, from the BBC (UK), Universal Sports (USA), NOS (Netherlands), Sporza (Belgium) & SBS Cycling Central (24 mins, Australia) (these may be geo-restricted).   Next the last 35k:

Next, the full race replay, also from the UCI.  If you’re in the UK, the full BBC race replay or their highlights programme with half an hour looking at who’s who, and at the sport, are on iPlayer until 27th October.

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Equivalenting 2015: Richmond too

Worlds week makes me so happy, especially because it’s so easy for people who aren’t hardcore fans to get engaged with women’s cycling.  It’s right there on tv, there’s tons of media around, so I like to do my bit to help, by giving people unfamiliar with the sport some riders to cheer for.  People tell me who their favourite male rider is, and why they like him, and I give them the equivalent rider in the 2015 women’s road race World Championships – or if they’re completely new to cycling, their favourite kind of sports/person.  I call this Equivalenting, and I’ve already made a Richmond 2015 post, full of riders who have fun, push themselves, are good team players and are underdogs, and you can see posts from previous years as well.

In this post, equivalents of Peter Sagan, Matti Breschel, Ian Stannard, Ed Clancy,

Peter Sagan

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2015 Road World Championships Q&As Part 2: Elisa Longo Borghini, Ellen van Dijk & Kasia Niewiadoma

The women’s cycling peloton are super-talented, but also so friendly and generous with their time off the bike as well.  Early in the week, I was lucky enough to get some Q&As with D’hoore, Elena Cecchini, Vale Scandolara, Amanda Spratt & Jessie Walker about the Richmond 2015 road race, and now I’m back with part 2, with Classics star Elisa Longo Borghini, TT and cobbles-lover Ellen van Dijk, and the u23 European Champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma.

Elisa Longo Borghini

ELB starts as one of the favourites, and this young Italian already has a bronze medal from the 2012 Worlds.  She won this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, so the cobbles won’t trouble her!

What’s it like in Richmond?

Richmond has been really welcoming to us cyclists. People have been really kind with us and it happened quite a lot that some of the car drivers came next to us while riding for wishing good luck!

What’s the road race course like?

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2015 Road World Championships Q&As Part 1: Jolien D’hoore, Elena Cecchini, Vale Scandolara, Amanda Spratt & Jessie Walker

Podcast interview logoOne of the things I love about the women’s cycling peloton is how fan-friendly and open the riders all are – so I’m super-grateful to Jolien D’hoore, Elena Cecchini, Valentina Scandola, Amanda Spratt and Jessie Walker for answering some questions about the 2015 Road World Championships road race course – and Part 2, over here, has Q&As from Elisa Longo Borghini, Ellen van Dijk and Kasia Niewiadoma.

Jolien D’hoore

Jolien D’hoore is a tough Flandrian sprint-and-Classics star, who’s had a wonderful year, winning her first Track World Cup omnium, and then two rounds of the Road World Cups, the Ronde van Drenthe and Crescent Vårgårda, with a second place at the Ronde van Vlaanderen behind her team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini. 

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