Latest: New ELV Women’s Winter Series at Redbridge — Cycling Weekly to feature more female columnists — VCUK-PH Mas Launch — Women’s Tour returns to Herts and Essex — Last Week’s Results — Shorts and Interesting Links — Team and Transfer News — Blogs — Photo of the Week — More to come…
Latest: ELV add women’s races to Winter Series
East London Velo, the 60-strong club that lists encouraging and assisting young people to get into cycling, has added women’s races to its popular Redbridge winter series.
Two of the events are open to holders of Cat. 2, 3 or 4 licences while one is also open to E/1 category licence holders, making them a valuable opportunity for new riders to learn racing skills from more experienced women in addition to providing those experienced riders with a chance to hone their technique on the famous Redbridge Cycling Centre circuit and maintain fitness during the off season. Entry costs just £10 and riders do not have to race at every meet in the series; the meets take place on the 31st of January (Cats. 2/3/4) and the 7th (E/1/2/3/4) and 14th of February (2/3/4).
Neutral Service asked the ELV why they’d decided to add the new races. “Francesca Rust raced laat weekend with the 4th Cat. men as there was no women’s race for her. She quickly got dropped, but she stuck with it,” they told us. “She has been very positive about the experience, so we decided it would be great to add a few women’s races for her and women like her so that they could experience racing like the men do, for example in a bunch, and all the challenges, learning and fun that entails.”
Cycling Weekly to feature more female columnists
Whether you buy it every Thursday or flick through in the newsagent’s while buying your Woodbines and Monster Munch, there’s no denying that Cycling Weekly is the most influential cycling magazine here in the UK and in the many other countries it can be found. First published in 1891, it has kept generations of cyclists both amateur and professional as well as journalists, team staff and other bike industry figures informed and, by doing so, has helped shape their opinions. Neutral Service has been informed that, following the publication’s imminent relaunch, it is to feature more female columnists, which can only be a good thing.
While it seems likely that more female columnists at The Comic will also mean more coverage of women’s cycling, this is not the only reason the news should be welcomed: it’s been seventy years since the first riders to be offered wheels built by Pat Hanlon turned them down because they didn’t want bike components built by a woman, but even now the cycling world is one dominated by men. In time, a few cyclists tried out Pat’s wheels, in some cases unknowingly; they found that they were not just as good as a wheel built by a man but much, much better. Pat ended up acclaimed as the greatest wheelbuilder in the world, and the likes of Jacques Anquetil would travel to London to buy them from her shop (where, famously, he had to queue up and wait, just like everyone else).
People who would claim that women’s cycle racing is less worthy than men’s are, increasingly, in the minority – as can be seen whenever anyone suggests as much in the comments section of an online article, and when Helen Wyman writes an article demanding equality for female cyclocross riders and the cheers of support easily drown out those few-and-far-apart voices that argue women’s cycling will never be as good. That proves things are getting better, as does the fact that nowadays there aren’t very many people who would refuse to buy a pair of wheels simply because they were built by a woman (as does the fact that those who would are quite rightly considered ridiculous by the majority), but that there are still so few female wheelbuilders (and frame builders, and team managers, and journalists and so on) suggests that the presence of women in the cycling world has not yet been normalised: more female columnists in Cycling Weekly is another way in which it will be.
VCUK-PH Mas Team Launch
It’s team launch season again and one of the ones Neutral Service really wanted to go to was VCUK-PH Mas at Orrell on the 17th of January, because they’ve spent the last year building and developing a women’s squad that is now one of the strongest on the British circuit – a real testament to what can be done with belief and hard work.
However, we couldn’t. Fortunately, there are plenty of cyclists who believe that women’s cycling deserves more recognition and exposure that is currently gets, so it wasn’t difficult (there was cake, after all) to recruit a local rider who was happy to take his camera along and take some photos for us – thanks Paul Hargreaves!
Women’s Tour returns to Herts and Essex
Inspired by the enormous popularity of last year’s Stage 4 from Cheshunt to Welwyn, where thousands of fans turned out to see local heroes Laura Trott and Helen Wyman, Women’s Tour organisers SweetSpot have announced that Stage 4 of this year’s race will also take place in Hertfordshire.
This time, the stage will begin in the historic market town of Waltham Cross within sight of the 13th Century Eleanor Cross, before snaking out into the rolling countryside to make its way to Stevenage.
48 hours later, it was revealed that the Tour will also make a return to Essex, with Stage 2 starting in Braintree. The finish will be located at the same point as the finish of 2014’s Stage 3, on Clacton’s Marine Drive – in the district of Tendring that did so much to ensure it hosted a stage of the inaugural race. Although this part of Essex is flat, it tends to be exposed especially in those sections where roads cross the extensive salt marshes, leading to powerful cross-winds that tend to suit riders from flat countries such as the Netherlands – last year, it was the Tendring stage upon which Marianne Vos took control of the race.
Last Week’s Results
Ludgershall Winter Series #3 17.01.15
1 Elizabeth-Jane Harris (Army Cycling Union) 10pts
2 Kimberley Preston (Army Cycling Union) 8pts
3 Samantha Wilson (Army Cycling Union) 7pts
4 Chanel Mason (Army Cycling Union) 6pts
5 Becky Hoare (Army Cycling Union) 5pts
6 Charmaine Porter (Army Cycling Union) 4pts
7 Florence Collyer-Powell (Southampton University RC) 3pts
8 Hannah Beaumont (Army Cycling Union) 2pts
9 Elizabeth Campbell (Bournemouth Jubilee) 1pt
10 Sarah Hardy (Army Cycling Union) 1pt
Velo29 Winter Series #2 17.01.15
1 Seonaid Thompson (Albarosa CC) 3pts
2 Angela Hibbs (Team WattCycle) 2pts
3 Karen Poole (Team WattCycle) 1pt
4 Anna Weaver (Team WattCycle)
5 Christine Marshall (Team WattCycle)
6 Sarah Harrison (Team WattCycle)
7 Kinga Kaminska (Team WattCycle)
8 Nikki Metcalfe (Team WattCycle)
9 Julia Macchi (Team WattCycle)
Odd Down Winter Series #3
1 Elle Twentyman (University of Bath CC) 3pts
2 Kate Baker (University of Bath CC) 2pts
3 Joanne Jago (Performance Cycles) 1pt
4 Jennifer Holden (VC Walcot)
5 Fiona Nesfield
6 Charlotte Forrester (Chippenham & Dist Wheelers)
7 Emily Milne
Woolly Mamil Winter Series #1
1 Catherine Coley (Ludlow CC) 10pts
2 Rosemary Homer (VO2 Bikes) 8pts
3 Gabrielle Duckworth (Lune RCC) 7pts
4 Melanie Potter (Bromsgrove Olympique) 6pts
5 Lindsay Nell (Jewson-M.I.Racing-Polypipe) 5pts
6 Heulwen Gilbert (University of Birmingham CC) 4pts
7 Jessica Rhodes-Jones (Twickenham CC) 3pts
8 Ottilie Quince (CC Luton) 2pts
9 Aileen Baird
10 Fiona Schulz (University of Birmingham CC)
Imperial Winter Series #5
Shorts and Interesting Links
Save Preston Park track
Preston Park outdoor velodrome, which was built in 1877 and is thought to be the oldest in the world, has been closed after being deemed unsafe by British Cycling. The track has provided young (and not so young) cyclists with a place to hone their racing skills for generations and the majority of racing cyclists both female and male from the South of England will have ridden there at some point thanks to the training and open meets, so its loss would have a major impact on cycling in this country.
You can sign a petition asking Brighton Council asking them to repair the unique facility and invest in its future via the Save Preston Park Cycle Track Facebook page.
British Cycling reveals CX Worlds team
British Cycling has announced its selections for the team going to the World Cyclocross Championships, which will take place on the 31st of January/1st of February at Tabor in the Czech Republic. Not surprisingly, Helen Wyman, Nikki Harris, Amira Mellor and Hannah Payton make up the women’s squad – Gabby Durrin is not available to race. Read more
Norfolk CX League recruits new sponsor
The Norfolk CX League, which plans to run a series of summer cyclocross events (including women’s races obviously, or they wouldn’tbe mentioned here!) in the East Anglian country this year, has taken a big step towards happening with the recruitment of new sponsor Streetlife Cycles.
Team and Transfer News
Claire Thomas, previously with Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa will be riding for Belgian team Isorex this year – Claire lives and works in Oudenaarde, so she’ll presumably be concentrating on Belgian racing in future. She’ll be joined there by Dani Christmas, who will also race in the UK for Project 51.
As if it wasn’t already obvious that women’s cycling is a growth industry in the UK, another new team has emerged from the mists of the off-season! Onit WRT doesn’t seem to have revealed an official roster yet, but the webpage for the Women’s Team Series shows the team is entering Fiona Hunter-Johnston, Holly James, Charlie Jennings, Helen Morris, Stephanie Post and Alex Willey – more riders may be announced in the coming weeks.
That Women’s Team Series page also includes a roster for Carnac-Planet X, the team that revealed its true identity after first appearing as the “Mystery Team” on Twitter some time ago. They have Nicola Soden, Lou Collins, Iona Sewell, Sandra Mackay, Lauryn Dawner and Sarah Cramoysan – again, more riders may be announced soon.
The majority of teams have revealed their full 2015 line-ups now, but new names are still be added. See our list of everything we know so far by clicking here.
“One of my main focuses has been crit racing in preparation for the 2015 road season. I had never been to a crit race before but I have road raced, this helped reassure me that I was hopefully going to be up to scratch with my bike handling skills to get me round the tight corners that crit racing is known for at race pace. I signed up for the Imperial winter series at Hillingdon which is conviently a 20 minute drive from where I live. It also seems to be one of the bests tracks to get out to from London so attracts a big turnout and high quality of riders. The atmosphere at the circuit is great super friendly and a great chance to chat to other girls who are into cycling. It does get more serious once you are on the start line though…” Read more
“Not content with a full summer of road racing I decided in August to enter the Cyclocrosss national Trophy series to make the most of my improved fitness. After remembering how much I enjoy CX, acquiring a second bike (thanks to Ilkley Cycles for the quick build) and a couple of forays onto the vets podium I decided to enter the National Championships down in Abergavenny…” Read more
Photo of the Week
More to come…!