No Brits for Elite Women’s Worlds TT — Laura Trott to Matrix-Vulpine — Newport Nocturne — VeloPark Women’s League Update — US Worlds team — Kirsten Wild to Hitec Products and more transfer news — Tweet of the Week
No Brits for Elite Women’s Worlds TT
In a move that has drawn criticism from fans, team officials and riders alike, British Cycling has declared that it will not send any riders to contest the Elite Women’s Individual Time Trial at the World Championships in Spain later this month.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper on behalf of the national federation, a spokesperson said: “We have chosen not to enter anyone into the Elite Women’s Time Trial this year as we don’t believe we have a contender for a medal and we are obliged to use our resources where we have the best chance of success.”
The decision, and the reasoning behind it, was quickly attacked on Twitter. “BC not supporting road women nothing new, status quo for 15 years. No strategy from the “kings of strategy.” Publicly-funded sexism,” said Nicole Cooke, who was twice World Road Race Champion and whose recently-published autobiography The Breakaway discusses the lack of support she experienced during her career.
According to British Cycling’s own website, “There have never been more opportunities to ride a bike, be it for fun or sport and British Cycling is at the heart of this growth.” However, many people have claimed that the only women’s cycling the federation is really interested in is the already hugely-successful national track team – an accusation that, in light of this story, seems to gather weight.
“I didn’t have a medal chance at [my] 1st Worlds. But experience helped later,” said 2010 World TT Champion Emma Pooley.
“We would agree that it can be good experience, but our priority is to win medals and so we need to focus our resources on that,” the federation responded, apparently missing Pooley’s point – a medal might not be very likely this time around, but it’s only by investing support in those riders who have the potential to be world-beaters that British Cycling can improve the chances of British women in the future.
Laura Trott to Matrix-Vulpine
Double Olympic gold winner and five-time World Champion Laura Trott is to leave her team of the last two seasons, Wiggle-Honda, and move on to Matrix-Vulpine for 2015. Matrix-Vulpine, Britain’s highest-profile domestic team, has made an application for UCI status and will find out in November if it has been successful; Trott will join as lead rider.
“She chose us, she approached us because of what we do. It’s pretty cool to be honest,” says Stef Wyman, manager and directeur sportif of Matrix-Vulpine, referring to his team’s efforts to promote women’s cycling and assist young riders’ development. Wyman, who plans to step down as DS when UCI status is granted, believes that although Trott has primarily been known for her track abilities she has enormous potential as a road racer, as when she won the National Road Race Championships earlier this year.
“I’m personally really excited about the positive effect Laura will have on the development of our younger riders in the squad,”, he said. “Whatever race Laura’s in, whether its track, road or criterium, she’s a major contender for a podium place. That’s exactly what we need and want on the team as we look to make our mark in professional racing in 2015. I know the impact a rider like Laura can have on the squad as a whole, and that will help us transition from domestic to international professional racing.”
Wyman also emphasises the team’s intention to support Trott towards the 2016 Olympic Games, a positive indication that British women’s cycling has now advanced to the point at which teams are able to offer riders the security of long-term contracts. For many years, teams existed hand-to-mouth and could never be quite certain if sponsors would stick around or vanish without warning; backers such as Matrix Fitness and Vulpine (and, in Europe, firms such as Boels), who are in the sport because of their passion for it as well as for the financial returns it can now offer them, are precisely what women’s cycling needs in order to continue developing – and Matrix-Vulpine’s ability to offer Trott that sort of stability sends out further positive messages that will help to attract new sponsors.
The team says it expects to confirm further high-profile new signings in the near future.
The women’s race was aggressive from the moment it got underway, with sponsors treated to a ride in the lead car reportedly amazed at just how fast the riders got around the circuit’s several difficult corners – the combination of speed and parcours reduced the field when numerous riders crashed out during the event. Matrix-Vulpine’s Jo Tindley, a rider who gives the impression that she isn’t phased by anything at all, kept a cool head and won all the sprint primes. Despite the crashes, the course wasn’t selective enough to prevent a sprint finish, won by Katie Curtis to polish off a fantastic eight days for her Starley-Primal team that began with Tanya Griffiths’ sensational victory at the Tickhill GP on the 24th of August.
1 Katie Curtis (Starley-Primal)
2 Hannah Walker (Epic-Scott)
3 Charlotte Broughton (MG Décor)
4 Jo Tindley (Matrix-Vulpine)
5 Gabriella Shaw (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International)
6 Rebecca Wormington (WyndyMilla-Reynolds)
7 Alison Kinloch (PH MAS)
8 Amy Gornall (RST)
9 Penny Rowson (Matrix-Vulpine)
10 Jessie Walker (Matrix-Vulpine)
VeloPark Women’s Track League Update
The Women’s Track League that Neutral Service reported on a few weeks ago is coming on leaps and bounds and the first forum meeting has been scheduled for 7pm on the 11th of October, at the Olympic VeloPark which will host the league.
“This meeting is for women who are interested in taking part and volunteering to help with the track league to see the proposals on the structure and league format,” says John Scripps, who is organising the league with rider Elanor Cadzow. ” In anticipation of large numbers of women interested in this meeting, please can we have a maximum of 2 representatives per club or group.”
US Cycling names Worlds team
Evelyn Stevens, Shelley Olds, Megan Guarnier and Alison Powers each have guaranteed places on the US World Championships squad. The remaining three provisional places go to Carmen Small, Lauren Hall and Mara Abbott.
Stevens and Olds will lead the team; Stevens will also ride in the Time Trial, as will Small and Powers. The competition begins on the 21st of September in Ponferrada, Spain.
Wild for Hitec and more transfer news
Norwegian UCI team Hitec Products has announced that it is to add Dutch specialist sprinter Kirsten Wild to its roster for 2015. The news was broken by team manager Karl Lima on Twitter.
Wild, currently with Giant-Shimano, is widely recognised as one of the most effective bunch sprint specialists in the world. Since its inception, she has made the Tour of Qatar her own with overall General Classification victories in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014 and Points competition wins every year except 2011.
Hitec also gains 29-year-old Vita Heine Petersone, previously with Endura Lady Force. Vita was second at the Latvian National Individual Time Trial Championship in 2013 and took Norwegian nationality in June this year.
Wiggle-Honda lose Laura Trott to Matrix-Vulpine (see first story, above).
Lotto-Belisol’s Liesbet de Vocht is retiring after a nine-year career that began with the team she now leaves; along the way she rode for Vrienden van het Platteland, Nederland Bloeit, Topsport Vlaanderen 2012Ridley and Rabobank and won many prestigious races and National titles in road racing and individual time trial. Emma Pooley, who also rode for the team, retired after the Commonwealth Games.
Boels-Dolmans loses Marieke van Wanroij, who is retiring after a career that like that of de Vocht spanned nine years – the two riders were team mates for a few years.
Giant Sheffield has confirmed that following the huge success of the Tickhill Velo Grand Prix earlier this month, it will support the event again in 2015. Thousands gathered in the South Yorkshire town to watch Tanya Griffiths of Starley-Primal win the Giant Envie supplied as first prize by the shop.