UEC Championships — Luperini retires — 2015 UCI Calendar — UCI transfer news — Shorts and Interesting Links — Photo of the Week — More to come…
UEC European Track Championships
Got cycling withdrawal symptoms now the road race season is over? Good news for you, then, because the European Track Championships are being held this weekend at the spectacular outdoor Vélodrome Amédée Détraux in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe – and there are seven British women to cheer on.
The British riders, with their numbers, are:
There are also five women competing for Ireland:
Follow the Union Européenne de Cyclisme on Twitter for regular updates. You can also view live timing from all events here.
Fabiana Luperini, who began racing at the age of 7, has announced that she will retire at the age of 40.
Luperini’s career divides opinion, having begun during the era when doping was far more prevalent than it is today, and the length of time for which she remained competitive naturally raised questions – she once tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone and was prevented from starting one race due to having failed to make herself available for blood testing. Nevertheless, she was a remarkable rider: she won a record five editions of the Giro Donne, the last surviving women’s Grand Tour, which some say comparable to the five Giro d’Italia victories clocked up by Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx and, if women’s cycling were given the exposure it deserves, her accomplishments would be as widely-known as theirs. The first four victories came consecutively from 1995 to 1998; the fifth, remarkably, was a whole decade later in 2008 (the only male cyclist to have won two Grand Tours ten years apart was the great Gino Bartali at the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948).
Winning the Giro Donne in 1995 was impressive enough; however, at that time there was also a women’s version of the Tour de France, known as the Tour de France Féminin or Grande Boucle – Luperini won that too, thus achieving two Grand Tour victories in a single year, something that only twelve male riders have ever managed. What’s more, she won the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige that year as well. Then, after winning her second Giro Donne in 1996, she won the Grande Boucle and the Giro del Trentino again, then the Giro Donne and Grande Boucle for a third time in 1997 – only Eddy Merckx managed to win two Grand Tours in a single year three times. Until 2010, there was another women’s race that many fans considered to be the third women’s Grand Tour: it was the Tour de l’Aude Cycliste Féminin, and she won it in 1998.
Luperini’s triumphs were not limited to the big stage races, where her incredible climbing skills earned her the nickname Pantanina (after the legendary Marco Pantani). In addition to the Giro Donne and Tour de l’Aude in 1998, she also won the tough Ardennes Classic La Flèche Wallonne. She won it again in 2001 and 2002, equaling the three-victory record set in the men’s version of the race by Marcel Kint, Merckx, Moreno Argentin and Davide Rebellin; also winning another Giro del Trentino in 2002 and another National Road Race Championship two years later. In 2006 she won the Emakumeen Bira, and in addition to her fifth and final Giro Donne victory in 2008 she won another National Road Race Championship and Giro del Trentino and the GP Ouest France. She was sixth overall at the 2011 Giro Donne and fourth overall in 2012. Her last victory, Stage 2A at the Giro del Trentino, also came that year; but she took three podium finishes (including second place for Stage 3 at the Tour Languedoc Roussillon and third for Stage 5 at the Giro Donne, prior to being disqualified when her bike was found to weigh less than the minimum permitted weight) in 2013. She was notably less competitive throughout 2014, apparently continuing to the end of the season purely for the love of her sport.
2015 UCI Calendar
The Union Cycliste Internationale has published its 2015 Elite Women’s calendar, complete with the usual races in Syria and elsewhere that look extremely unlikely to happen. Britain’s biggest race the Friends Life Women’s Tour takes a slightly later slot so as to avoid some other less important events (the General Election) and will run between the 17th and the 21st of June.
Sarah Connolly has an excellent analysis here.
UCI Transfer News
Ale-Cipollini Confirmed Leaving: Shelley Olds
Astana-BePink Confirmed Leaving: Doris Schweizer
Bigla Joining: Sharon Laws (United Healthcare), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Hitec Products), Shelley Olds (Ale-Cipollini), Doris Schweizer (Astana-BePink), Iris Slappendel (Rabo-Liv), Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) Staying: Vera Koedooder, Lotta Lepisto Confirmed Leaving: Jo Hogan, Elke Gebhardt (retiring)
Bizkaia-Durango Joining: Coral Casado Ortiz, Paula Lanz, Alba Teurel Ribes
Boels-Dolmans Joining: Chantal Blaak (Specialized-Lululemon), Evie Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon) Staying: Lizzie Armitstead, Demi de Jong, Megan Guarnier, Romy Kasper, Christine Majerus, Katarzyna Pawlowska, Ellen van Dijk Confirmed Leaving: Jessie Daams, Janneke Ensing, Nina Kessler, Sanne van Paassen, Nicky Zijlaard
BZK-ProBasic (new UCI team based in the Basque Country) Joining: Aiala Amesti, Nahia Domínguez, Olatz Agorria Etxebarría, Ziortza Isasi (CAF), Mar Bonnín Palou, Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez (CAF), Maria San Jose Tejerina, Eider Unanue
Edita Pucinskaite Almost confirmed new team, though thus far apparently without an official name; details remain sparse. Rumoured Joining: Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren)
Estado de Mexico-Faren Leaving: Fabiana Luperini, Lucy Martin (Matrix-Vulpine), Rossella Ratto
Hitec Products Joining: Charlotte Becker (Wiggle-Honda), Shana van Glabeke, Vita Heine Petersone (Endura Lady Force), Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) Staying: Lauren Kitchen Confirmed Leaving: Chloe Hosking, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Sara Olsson, Audrey Cordon-Ragot (note Audrey’s new name – she got married last weekend!)
Lensworld-Zannata (formerly Futurumshop.nl-Zannata) Joining: Mariel Borgerink, Kim de Baat (ParkHotel Valkenburg CT), Kaat van der Meulen (Keukens Redant) Staying: Annelies Dom, Mieke Kroger, Evy Kuijpers, Sofie De Vuyst Leaving: Grace Verbeke (taking a hiatus from cycling to have a baby)
Liv-Plantur (formerly Giant-Shimano) Staying: Lucy Garner, Claudia Lichtenberg, Floortje Mackaij, Maaike Polspoel, Kyara Stijns Confirmed Leaving: Marijn de Vries, Kirsten Wild
Lointek Staying: Fanny Riberot Confirmed Leaving: Aude Biannic
Lotto-Belisol Confirmed Leaving: Emma Pooley, Liesbet de Vocht (both retiring). Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-Honda)
Matrix-Vulpine Joining: Lucy Martin (Estado de Mexico-Faren), Christina Siggaard (Firefighters Upsala CK), Laura Trott & Elinor Barker (Wiggle-Honda), Molly Weaver (Epic-Scott), Sara Olsson (Hitec Products) Staying: Mel Lowther, Harriet Owen, Jessie Walker Confirmed Leaving: Corrine Hall, Beth Hayward
Orica-AIS Staying: Loes Gunnewijk Confirmed Leaving: Jessie Maclean Rumour: Sarah Roy (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86) to join
ParkHotel Valkenburg CT Confirmed Leaving: Kim de Baat
Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86 Joining: Aude Biannic (Lointek) Eugenie Duval, Severine Eraud, Elisabet Escursell, Greta Richoud Staying: Charlotte Bravard, Roxane Fournier, Pascale Jeuland, Lucie Pader, Amélie Rivat Confirmed Leaving: Sandrine Bideau, Oriane Chaumet, Fiona Dutriaux, Gabrielle Pilote Fortine, Liisi Rist, Manon Souyris, Kimberley Wells Rumour: Sarah Roy to leave
Project X (formerly Specialized-Lululemon) Staying: Lisa Brennauer, Tiffany Cromwell Confirmed Leaving: Carmen Small-McNellis, Evie Stevens, Chantal Blaak
Rabo-Liv Joining: Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS), Moniek Tenniglo (Jan van Arckel) Staying: Lucinda Brand, Thalita De Jong, Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Anna Knauer, Roxane Knetemann, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Anna van der Breggen, Marianne Vos Confirmed Leaving: Iris Slappendel, Annemiek van Vleuten Rumoured Leaving: Sabrina Stultiens
Rytger Joining: Melanie Woering (RC Jan van Arckel), Henriette Woering (RC Jan van Arckel)
SC Michela Fanini Confirmed Leaving: Mireia Epelde Bikendi and Edwige Pitel (both retiring)
Servetto-Footon Staying: Veronica Cornolti, Marina Likhanova, Anna Potokina, Sari Saarelainen
Specialized-Sekuritor Joining: Kimberley Wells (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86)
Stoeckli Joining: Jolanda Neff
Swabo Joining: Nicky Zijlaard
Tibco Staying: Anika Todd
TopSport Vlaanderen Joining: Steffy van den Hautee (De Sprinters Malderen), Fien Delbaere
United Healthcare Joining: Linda Villumsen Leaving: Sharon Laws Rumour: Alison Powers to retire
Vainao-Fondriest Joining: Martina Biolo Staying: Allison Linnell
Wiggle-Honda Joining: Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Hitec Products; note Audrey’s new name – she got married last weekend!), Mara Abbott (United Healthcare), Anna Christian, Jolien D’hoore (Lotto-Belisol), Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) Staying: Dani King Confirmed Leaving: Elinor Barker, Jo Rowsell, Laura Trott, Linda Villumsen
Shorts and Interesting Links
Photo(s) of the Week
Got a photo you’d like to see here? It can be of a British or foreign rider or race, and doesn’t need to be from 2014 – just so long as it’s interesting and related to women’s cycling. Email us!