The Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the longest-running race in the UCI Women’s World Tour, is always a fan favourite, but this year even better than usual, because we could watch it all live – and there are also highlights of the Trofeo da Moreno, the junior Nations Cup race that runs on the same roads before the elite women.
Binda lived up to expectations – and with a surprise winner! The 2017 Classics season have been amazing so far, and if you’re worried that it couldn’t live up to the Strade Bianche and the Ronde van Drenthe, don’t – it was another unpredictable race, despite the unseasonable sunshine!
There will be a lot more highlights to come, but as we have some good things to watch already, I’ll put this up now, and then edit more in as I see it. I’ll start with the 9 min highlights from the UCI and 45min highlights from RAI, then some explanation about the livestream, as it was definitely idiosyncratic!
This week we revisit all of the excitement from the Women’s World Tour at the Ronde van Drenthe. There’s more great racing from Drentse 8 and Setmarna Ciclista Valenciana. On top of this we have several really good articles about ways to improve women’s cycling to discuss and there’s been some interesting news in regards to British Cycling, and Jeannie Longo’s husband Patrice Ciprelli. Of course we can’t finish on a downer so we also take note of some of the fun stuff we’ve seen around the web this week. As always, heaps of links and videos in the post on the website!
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News and videos from the last week in women’s cycling
This week’s racing
Videos, photos and more from the excellent Ronde van Drenthe in this post here.
Drentse Acht van Westerveld
Sunday 19th March 2017
Round 3 of the 2017 Women’s WorldTour, and we’re back in Italy, in one of the cycling heartlands – the Varese Province in Lombardy. After the gravel roads of Strade Bianche, and the Dutch cobbles and man-made hill of Ronde van Drenthe, it’s a race for Classics riders with climbing skills – and even more importantly, descending abilities. And one of the special things about this race is that the junior stars of the future also get to ride on some of the same roads as their elite heroines, before the WorldTour race.
UPDATE! And the last 4 laps – 68km – will be LIVE, with the stream showing part of the race as well as highlights of the Junior race before the elites go fully live.
I’ll tell you how to watch the WWT Trofeo Binda, and follow the Junior Nations Cup Trofeo da Moreno below, but first a bit more about the race…
Every year I’m excited for the Ronde van Drenthe, and it never fails to disappoint! Of course, having around 50km of live streams and all the great highlights from different sources makes it easy to love, but really, this course sets us up for exciting racing, even on a day with absolutely no wind.
It’s all about positioning, as the roads are very narrow, with tight corners, so the race to the major course obstacles are full-on sprints. And these obstacles are tough, too: the unique cobbled paths in the forests, with mossy and sharp-edged rocks, rather than well-laid cobbles, and the three ascents of the VAM-berg, and artificial hill entirely made from landfill (read about it in Rouleur). And while the rest of it is flat, it’s know for tactical attacking throughout the race, but especially through the last 20k.
This year was fantastic, nail-biting right to the finish. Here’s the videos – UCI highlights, last half hour, and full replay.
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! This was one of my all-time, ultra-favourite races, ever, ever, ever. That finale! Can you believe it? I adored it!
Three videos, to choose which you want to watch: The full hour of tv; the last 11 km; and the UCI’s highlights
Ronde van Drenthe, Saturday 11th March 2017
Drentse Acht van Westerveld, Sunday 12th March 2017
After last weekend’s explosive start to the 2017 Women’s World Tour, at the Strade Bianche the peloton has moved to the Netherlands, and a very different type of Classic.
You all know I love the Ronde van Drenthe for the man-made climb, the VAM-berg, that grows every couple of years, as more landfill is added (it’s currently 44m tall, with an average gradient of 13%, max 21%, and if you want to know more, I love this piece about the climb on Rouleur). Then there are the seven sections of “cobbles”, 13.2km in total, including some infamous sections – rocks thrown off a truck to enable vehicles to travel down sandy paths through forests, that are known for sharp edges and the slippery, mossy surface. But above all, its known as a race where positioning is the ultimate skill. There are the open fields, where if it’s windy (and it usually is) echelons form and unwary riders are dropped out of contention – and there are the narrow lanes, with sharp corners into the climb and cobbles, that everyone wants to get to first. On top of that, the town circuit in Hoogeveen has technical corners – around 8 in the last 3km, and 3 90º corners in the last kilometre. I love this race because it’s been won in so many different ways, from solo attacks to a bunch gallop, or from a small group that gets away and then attacks each other like crazy.
But above all, I love it because it’s the women’s bike race we can reliably see live – the last hour and maybe more are streamed, free to air, on at least 2 local Dutch TV stations.
The Ronde van Drenthe starts on Saturday 11th March at 11:15 European CET (10:15am UK GMT; 9:15pm Australian AEST; 5:15am North American EDT) and is due to finish around 15:00 CET (2pm GMT; 1am AEST; 9am EDT).
The TV starts at 14:00 CET (1pm GMT; midnight AEST; 8am EDT) and the streams are on RTV Drenthe and RTV Oost. They tend to get a little bit overloaded, so I start mine a bit early. The commentary is in Dutch, but Dan and I will be doing our own commentary on Mixlr, if you want to hear that (it’s an audio stream that you can listen to alongside the video) – check out my twitter for the exact address.
How to follow the race before the stream starts
Saturday 4th March
The 2017 Women’s WorldTour starts with Strade Bianche – only 2 years old, but an instant Classic, with the gorgeous short, sharp hills of Tuscany, and those white gravel sections, not only climbs but also descents, and that stunning finish up the steep, beautiful narrow streets of Siena. It’s hard to believe this race hasn’t been around forever, because it made such a huge impression.
There’s rumours of the women’s finish being streamed during the men’s coverage – and Voxwomen says that the last hour of the women’s race will be streamed live on the pay-to-view Eurosport Player and other channels. Or maybe after the men’s race has finished, there’ll apparently be a half hour highlights programme on Italian station RAI Sport, and on some forms of Eurosport, including the Eurosport Player. It’s all a bit confusing, and I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Check your local Eurosport schedule (eg here’s the UK) – it’s not obvious if it will be shown on British Eurosport, for example and of course, if you don’t have the channel, look for streams here, here and here – they’ll tell you where the men’s is shown. Apparently there could also be something about the women from 13:45 CET (12:45pm UK GMT/8:45am EDT/11:45pm Aussie AEST) but I can’t promise. (And yes, it would be massively helpful if the race or the UCI had a place where they shared this, wouldn’t it?).
The race starts at 9:30 European CET (8:30am UK GMT/3:30am USA EDT/00:30 PDT/ 7:30pm Australian AEST) and is due to finish around 13:00 CET (midday GMT, 8am EDT, 11pm AEST) – full timings here (make sure you click on women’s at top, before hitting the sub-menus).
The race twitter is here – it seems there’s no separate hashtag for the women, so there’s the general #StradeBianche or the WorldTour hashtag #UCIWWT – or my trusted way is following my list of women’s cycling live tweeters, who’ll certainly tell you if a new # pops up (follow Peter van der Veen, especially!).
Tons of information on the excellent race website – including the course details (click ‘women’ at top right) and the startlist. And if you can’t wait for the race, check out all the videos and media from last year, and 2015 in here.