Shorts, Links and Blogs

Rather than the weekly news reports we’ve had up until now (tl;dr!), Neutral Service is going to feature more standalone articles in future. This is the place for items too short to merit a page to themselves and links to other websites.

eliteVelo-Kalas Women’s Team Series report — Another chance to train with the WERL — Riders required at Essex RR — Herne Hill Women’s League — The Warny: for hardnuts only — Matrix Pro Cycling Gent-Wevelgem preview video — Recommended Blogs

eliteVelo-Kalas – Women’s Team Series Hog Hill Race Report

DSC_1247_smallFrankie Morgans-Slader, Julia Hesselberg, Hester Stembridge and Sophie Black all arrived at Hog Hill in wet and windy conditions for the first of the 2015 women’s national team series. As Hog Hill is Frankie’s home circuit she was able to give tips about the corners and how ‘the Hoggenberg’ climb would affect the race! Hog Hill is a closed circuit with some sweeping bends, a hair pin and a short steep (and painful!) climb.

All of the team started in the main group but suffering from illness Sophie dropped back as did Julia due to some sketchy riding in the bunch! Hester and Frankie managed to stay strong in the main group and Frankie even went for a prime! She thought she had won but there were 5 in a break off the front… Read the full article at eliteVelo-Kalas’ website


Another chance to train with the WERL!

The first Women’s Eastern Racing League race training session at Redbridge turned out to be such a success that organiser Tanya Griffiths immediately set about planning a second session, due to take place on the 10th of May. This time around, 40 places (ten more than last time) are on offer with the price held at £20, which will once again get riders four hours of training with Level 3 British Cycling coach and women’s cycling supporter Huw Williams. Booking will start soon – keep an eye on the WERL Facebook page for more info.


Essex RR requires riders

We all know there’s a hundred and one reasons a female cyclist might not sign up for a race until near to the closing date for entries, and we also all know it makes life difficult for race organisers – especially if its a new event. When that new event is a standalone women-only race, like the Essex Road Race which might not happen on the 26th of April if the organisers can’t show a sufficient number of riders are interested, it really does deserve all the support we can give it. So, if you possibly can, please do get your entry in early.



Herne Hill introduces Women’s League

HHVwomenSouth London’s Herne Hill velodrome, built in 1891, has come right up to date with its introduction of a new women-only racing league to take place on Saturday evenings on the 450m Burbage Road track. Meetings will feature Cat. A (HHV race/LVV Stage 4/UK track accreditation required) and Cat. B (HHV training accreditation required) events between 18:30 and 21:00.

The first meet will be on the 11th of April with following meets on the 9th of May, 13th of June, 11th of July and 8th of August, offering experienced riders a useful opportunity to keep their hand in over the summer as well as for less-experienced riders to gain valuable track time. See Herne Hill Velodrome Women’s Cycling on Facebook or email for more details. Sign-on is via British Cycling.


The Warny – for hardnuts only

Despite the UCI’s attempts to “globalise cycling,” Europe remains as far as most people are concerned the sport’s spiritual home – it is, after all, the location of all four Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and – the most important, in Neutral Service’s eyes – the Giro Rosa) as well as all the Monuments and Classics, which together make up the most important races in cycling.

There are, of course, many superb races on other continents; however, very few have history comparable to the old European events – while many are very bit as challenging and deservedly attract stellar fields of riders, they cannot compete in terms of prestige. The “Warny,” more properly known as the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic, is different – and it’s a race that really ought to be far better-known outside Australia. Held in October almost every year since 1895, it’s an infamously tough 260km parcours that frequently subjects riders to battering winds and driving rain, and the numerous short but sharp climbs wouldn’t be out of place in a Flemish Classic.


Legendary British cyclist Beryl Burton rode and finished the Warny in 1980 – the first woman to do so. Perhaps there’ll be more Brits this year! (image: Nationaal Archief CC BY-SA 3.0 NL)

So here’s the good news: this year, to mark the 100th edition of the Warny, Cycling Victoria is pushing to increase the number of female riders taking part. In fact, the race has an impressive women’s cycling history: the first woman to enter, in 1980, was none other than Beryl Burton – widely considered by those in the know to be the finest athlete Britain ever produced, and in some people’s estimation the greatest cyclist of all time. Tracey Gaudry, nowadays vice-president of the UCI, rode and finished in 1994, then two-time Australian National Champion Katie Mactier did the same in 1999. More women have taken part almost every year since.

To make the event more appealing to women, Cycling Victoria are introducing a number of new features: rather than lumping the women in with the men as has been the case in years past, the women will have their own placings and podium.

Best of all, the organisers promised equal prize money provided they received a sufficient number of sign-ups from female riders which, it could be argued, would make the Warny superior to many of its European counterparts – Monique Hanley, Executive Director of Cycling Victoria, has confirmed to Neutral Service that the minimum number has been reached and equal prizes will be paid.

Current Australian National Champion Peta Mullens has already signed up, as have Nicole Whitburn (111th in 2008) and Nadine O’Connor (14oth in 2012). Find out more about the race at the Women in the Warny Facebook page. Riders interested in taking part can obtain more details by emailing


Matrix Pro Cycling’s Gent-Wevelgem preview video



MollyThumbMolly Weaver: Cholet Pays de Loire Dames 

“After a couple of race free weeks to finish off a good block of training and get properly settled into Belgian life, it was time to pack the bags again and head off to France for Cholet Pays. Even though we’re only three races in, we’ve had a short commute from home to each of these, so it felt weird to be getting ready for a long road trip and a few days away. Fortunately, us riders get to sit back with our feet up so can hardly complain…” Read more

CarnacPXtumbCarnac-Planet X: Tour ta Malta pre-race spin

“First thing was another reccie of day 2’s San Martins road course. This was just to check saddle height with different shoes, again more adjustment needed :/ luckily team mechanic Stuy was on hand to help out!
The rain of yesterday had gone and it was no where near as windy, it was a day for riding to cafes. First on the agenda was a ride down to Golden bay for ice cream and coffee YAY!!!…” Read more

SineadBurkethumbSinead Burke: And so it begins again!

“Where’ve I been? It’s been literally months since my last update, and for that, I apologise. Being winter, you might expect a lack of posts simply through there not being much going on – which is completely untrue! In fact, I’ve probably been busier this winter than ever before. Sticky situation really, there’s so much going on that I could write about, that I don’t actually have time to write about it… What better than my first race of the season though, to kick-start my blog writing again…” Read more

AnikaToddthumbAnika Todd: Managing injury and return to performance sport

As many of you already know, I have been struggling with a hamstring injury since November and am now finally returning to training after almost three full weeks completely off the bike. In this post, I wanted to share some of the mistakes I made, give a quick update on where I’m at now, and thank the many people involved in getting me back to training and racing…” Read more

LauraMorganthumbLaura Morgan: And they’re off!

“DONE! First races finally out of the way! What a weekend it was, too. I’m absolutely shattered! So I’ll start my report from the very top… I travelled out on Friday (Steam Packet boat, then train as usual) to meet up with some of the team & management. Exhaustion from plodding around the country on boats and trains is commonplace for me so it was a welcome change to my usual routine that I’d be staying at the team managers Nicky & Neil’s house…” Read more