Jo Rowsell-Shand retires
The enormously popular London-born Jo Rowsell-Shand MBE announced her retirement on the 14th of March, bringing an end to a decade-long career that has seen her win two gold medals at the Olympics, one gold at the Commonwealth Games, eight at the Track World Cup, six at the Track World Championships and numerous other victories, in addition to being National Criterium Champion in 2008. Although she came to cycling relatively late, not beginning to race until she was 16, she started winning early on in her junior career with victory in the Individual Pursuit at the National Junior Track Championships in 2005 and 2006, when she rode for the VC Londres club – and in the latter year, she also proved herself to be an exceptional talent on the road when she came third at the National Road Race Championships behind Nicole Cooke (taking her seventh title) and Lorna Webb in Beverley.
Following that early success, Jo was snapped up by Global Racing before moving on to Dave Brailsford’s Halfords Bikehut team, where she rode alongside several other British greats including Annie Last and Sharon Laws. In 2009 she was with 100% ME, then switched to the then Horizon Fitness (now Matrix Procycling) for two years, then Wiggle-Honda for another two before moving on to Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International, the team she was still with at retirement. She will not step away from the sport, however, and now plans to devote more time to her coaching career and will ride this year’s Etape du Tour.
“Having been part of the GB Cycling Team for over 10 years, travelling around the world racing my bike, today I am announcing my retirement from international cycling competition. I have achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to in cycling including 5 World Titles, 4 European Titles, Commonwealth Gold and 2 Olympic Golds as well as countless World Cup and National Championship medals across both team and individual events. But more valuable than any of these are the special friends for life, amazing memories made, and the transformation from shy school girl to confident woman…” – read Jo’s full statement here
Women’s Team Series underway
There are many ways to know Spring has arrived, and three of the best-known ways are ages old: countryfolk have for centuries watched for the appearance of bluebells, townfolk since ancient times have known as soon as more than 50% of all space in the supermarkets is full of Easter eggs and, since time (almost) immemorial, women’s cycling fans have watched for the arrival of the Women’s Team Series – which, remarkable in a sport in which few series and races last for more than a few years, is now in its 17th year and got underway at the Redbridge Cycling Centre on the 12th of March… – full report and photos here
This Weekend’s Races
Women’s cycling fans are spoiled for choice this weekend with numerous events going on around the country. Highlights include the first round of the Scottish National Youth Series at La PrimaBella, taking place at Bellahouston Sports Centre (G52 1HH) on Saturday – 53 riders are signed up to start in the U8/10/12/14/16 races, while the Junior Women’s race is sure to attract more than the two currently on the start list.
Also on Saturday the third round of the Milton Keynes Bowl March Criterium Series has an exceptionally good start list currently numbering 26 riders and including several big names from Ford Ecoboost, Team OnForm and others.
On Sunday, the 2017 Women’s Eastern Racing League gets underway at the Ipswich Bicycle Club Spring Scramble, which takes place on a 71km parcours starting and ending at Gosbeck Village Hall (IP6 9SD) – with a challenging and selective circuit, this race has become one of the most popular in the UK and attracts riders from all around the country. 40 riders are due to start including well-known names from Team OnForm, Jadan-Weldtite, Vision Innovative Leisure, Bianchi Dama UK, BowlPhish Racing, the Army, Aprire-HSS and several of the top clubs in East Anglia and beyond. It’ll be a good one and is well worth going along to watch; NS will have a report and photos after the race.
If time trials are more your thing Seacroft Wheelers’ Para TT at Escrick near York (YO19 6LQ) takes place on a fast 18km course. In 2016, the first year this event was organised, it proved to be a huge success and this year it ought to be no different.
Derbyshire: Darley Moor #2-Ashfield R.C., Lancs: Lancaster University Spring Crit #3, London: March hare Classic (Lee Valley), West Drayton Specialized Crit Series #1 (Hillingdon), Merseyside: Dolan Youth Circuit Race Series #1, N. Yorks: Yorkshire Day at the Races #1, Prissick Spring Shield #3, Scotland: Gifford Road Races 2017, Wales: WWCRT Spring Youth Series 3
SunSport Velo Team Launch
Sunsport Velo Women’s Race Team will be holding their official 2017 launch at The Albert Square Chop House, Manchester on Thursday 23rd February. Proceedings get underway at 7.00pm and will include rider introductions and stakeholder speeches and will give ample opportunity for networking with like-minded parties. Attendance is by invite only and places are still available for anyone interested in partnering opportunities with the team. You can register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Headline sponsor for the team is Brother Cycling who are also hosting the event in conjunction with Sunsport. Other sponsors include Pactimo Clothing, Slater Heelis Solicitors, Sunsport Velo Performance Hub, Betts Geo, Chris Meads Photography, Edco Wheels, On2 Media, Peak Cycles Cervelo, Pink Ribbon Foundation, Arrow Solicitors and Acrobat Online
Riders in the team include Commonwealth Games Triathlete Seonaid Thompson and current British Universities and Colleges Hill Climb Champion Lizzy Banks and the team has expert backing from a nutritionist, a photographer/publicist and several of the regions premier cycling coaches. They will be riding prestigious Cervelo R2 bikes supplied by Peak Cycles.
Altrincham coffee shop serves up top women’s cycle team
“An Altrincham coffee shop is at the cutting edge of Britain’s most successful sport – cycling. Velo Espresso Coffee Shop runs a woman’s cycling team – Sunsport Velo Women’s Race Team – that boasts champions and international athletes among its members…” Messenger
In The News
Route for The Women’s Tour in 2017 unveiled by Olympic champion Katie Archibald
“The route for The Women’s Tour in 2017 has been unveiled – with a spectacular London circuit stage set for the final day of racing. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan helped Olympic Champion Katie Archibald and Drops Cycling’s Abi van Twisk unveil the route for the 2017 race, which takes place from 7 to 11 June. The fourth edition of the world leading race will also include stages in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire and Derbyshire, plus a major new charity partnership with Breast Cancer Care to celebrate 25 years of the pink ribbon…” – British Cycling
Graeme Herd: Men’s cycling is wrecked – women’s racing is the future
“Graeme Herd doesn’t mince his words. “Men’s cycling is sh*t,” he says. “If I had £1m of my own money to invest in cycling, I wouldn’t spend it in men’s cycling because there’s no return. I’d invest it in the women’s side…” – The Herald
A day in the life of Aussie cycling star Tiffany Cromwell
“Australian racer Tiffany Cromwell took over the BikeRadar Instagram account for International Women’s Day…” – BikeRadar
‘Women & Bicycles’ festival set to take Oxford by storm
“Oxford’s own DIY bicycle co-op, The Broken Spoke, is partnering up with women’s cycling powerhouse The Adventure Syndicate to bring us a two-day festival. This will be the largest event of its kind the UK has ever seen and the full programme of workshops, panels, speakers and rides has just been released. It will inspire, enable and showcase women in cycling…” – Oxford Mail
Going into 2017
“This winter, I have had a great block of training and going into the 2017 race season with some local races will enable me to get the race feeling back into my mind and body. Over the last two years during the winter training seasons I have been injured through old, damaged pedals. This lead to injuries in my knees such as, a torn lateral ligament and damaged tendon. Through this experience, I learnt a lot…” – Connie Hudson
Reflections on training racing and bike riding
“I’ve just returned from our annual Elitecycling Training camp and as I unpack and rebuild my bike I am reflecting on the week that has just passed and the months that preceeded it. Our coach, Paul Mill, is a creature of habit which means that for the past three years our training camps have come at exactly the same time of the year, and for the last two years at the same location. Naturally this means it is easy to look back and compare how you have ridden year on year. At the end of last year I made a conscious decision not to plan any racing goals for this year…” – Lesley Pinder
Challenges and confidence and lessons learnt
“Challenges and hardships do not define us but they do make us stronger and more resilient. Every time I have a bad race or training ride, I just accept it for what it is… you cannot perform at your best all the time and you can’t expect to either. However, what you can do is make the most of every opportunity and just embrace the experience…” – Rachel Crighton
Two new 52 Cycling Voices!
“This week’s Cycling Voice comes from Hannah Bussey, previously a civil servant in the South-east, and now a journalist and mother in the North-west. Hannah talks about dealing with the lifestyle change, and how being in the cycling community really is like being in a supportive family….” – Maria David
“This week’s Cycling Voice comes from Carolyn Hewett-Maessen, who I got to know when she lived in London and was a keen triathlete. She’s now living in Colorado (not jealous at all!). However, things haven’t quite gone according to plan and she is currently on a determined road to rehabilitation following a nasty accident. I really look forward to seeing Carolyn doing the Maratona dles Dolomites this year…” – Maria David
A crit in winter
“Since November I have been following a structured training plan with the guidance of a coach. This is a brave new world for me and last week I finally got to test out my fitness in my first road crit of the year. Here is how my day went including the build -up and during the race! I was not at work luckily as I needed time to get my bike prepared, this meant taking the saddle and seat post from one bike and the pedals from another to get it in racing shape. For the future I need to have all three bikes in one piece so I don’t need to faff about like this…” Caz Pulford for NLTCBMBC