Road (Vuelta women’s race, Rooijakkers to Parkhotel, More balanced 2014 for Vos, more and links) — Cyclo Cross (Nikki Harris and Matt Brammeier announce engagement on Twitter, Stultiens ends season, links) — Track (links)– Other
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Vuelta will add a women’s race
Director of the Vuelta a Espana Javier Guillen has stated his intention to add a one-day women’s race to his event, which is the third of the three Grand Tours and thus one of the most important fixtures on the cycling calendar. Like the new La Course at the Tour de France it would take place on the same day and parcours as the final stage of the three-week men’s race.
The Tour is owned by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), while the Vuelta is owned by Unipublic which is itself partly owned by the ASO. La Course will take place for the first time this year while Guillen wants the first edition of the women’s race at the Vuelta to take place in 2015. This has, notably, been proposed without pressure from Le Tour Entier, which campaigned for the ASO to add a women’s race at the Tour and will continue to campaign for a full three-week women’s race – a suggestion either that Guillen is considerably more amenable to women’s cycling than Tour director Christian Prudhomme or that the ASO have realised the potential and value of the women’s sport.
The news raises the question of whether the committee of the Giro d’Italia, run by the separate RCS Sport organisation, will also add a women’s race – a somewhat different question as Italy already hosts a women’s Grand Tour, the Giro Rosa. Outgoing race director Michele Acquarone recently told Velonation that, under his tenure, the organisation had looked into the possibility of adding a women’s race at the Giro and some of the other events it runs. A better option as far as fans are concerned would be if the RCS were to supply financial backing and assistance to the Giro Rosa committee, perhaps also enabling them to gain television coverage – the Rosa is, after all, already a very successful event run by organisers who know what they’re doing, so it would seem logical for RCS to help it develop if they remain keen on promoting women’s cycling.
One issue, meanwhile, is that the women’s calendar is already crowded at the time of year the Vuelta ends – in 2014, the Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour, Chrono Champenois, Tour Languedoc-Roussillon and Giro Toscana (possibly) will all be in progress on the same day as the Vuelta’s final stage. This may mean that the calendar will need to be rearranged with existing races shifted to new dates, a process that tends more often than not to lead to more clashes and complaints from organisers.
Pauliena Rooijakkers joins Parkhotel Valkenburg
20-year-old Pauliena, winner of the Junior Chrono des Herbiers in 2011, has ridden for Boels-Dolmans for the last two seasons but appeared to have had some difficulty in securing a new contract following a less successful 2013. However, the good results she picked up beach racing over the winter brought her back into the spotlight and she’s been picked up by Parkhotel Valkenburg.
A more balanced 2014 for Marianne Vos
World Champion Marianne Vos, currently enjoying a short break after coming to the end of her 2013/14 cyclo cross campaign, has decided to make her return to competition at La Flèche Wallonne on the 23rd of April rather than at the Ronde van Drenthe more than a month earlier, as initially reported. Vos won Drenthe for the last three years, and as a result of her extended break will miss the first three rounds of the World Cup.
“The past year was very heavy,” explained the 26-year-old on her website. “With the Olympics in sight, things are different. I think now we have to guard against overload. A different mindset; without locking myself into a year-long program. I think also it’s good to encourage others to pick up – I’m convinced that my team mates are world class and can compete for victories on all fronts.
In addition, she has given up on her plan to become World Champion in Cyclo Cross, Road Race and Mountain Bike this year, electing to step back from mountain biking – though she says this does not mean she won’t touch her mountain bike at all. However, she is quick to emphasise that the back pain she suffered last season has not returned since she underwent surgery to remove a cyst she believed to be the cause, explaining her reason to be a need to take a quieter season in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics.
For many of Marianne’s millions of fans, the news will come as something of a relief: in addition to racing, she works with the UCI and the Youth United For Sri Lanka charity as well as being a co-founder of Le Tour Entier, causing some to worry that the addition of mountain biking to her already full schedule might be too much.
Video: Marianne Vos on La Course at the Tour de France ( Radio1.nl)
It’s not on the UCI calendar at the time of writing, but it appears the Tour Languedoc-Roussillon will return in 2014 from the 11th to the 14th of September – though “return” is, perhaps, not quite the right term because in all but name this appears to be a new race, with several changes to previous editions. The race already has an official website (which bodes well; many races don’t bother getting information online until a day or two before taking place – or in some cases, ever) for updates and further details.
More Road News
Women’s road racing on the increase (British Cycling)
Video: Watch the Women’s Tour promo (ITV)
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio retains SA title (Sport 24)
Les Filles Racing Team (VeloUK)
Demi de Jong read for Boels-Dolmans debut (in Dutch; cyclingonline.nl)
Olympic cyclists to race in Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire Telegraph)
Paige Milward headhunted to join new development team (The Sentinel)
Bigla team presentation (Pez)
Qatar women’s team targets 2016 Worlds (Cycling News)
…Sheikh Khalid: “We are focusing on two fronts to develop women’s cycling. We are working towards developing a mass base for the sport, and trying to nurture stronger girls who can compete for Qatar” (Gulf Times)
…Hosking has 2016 vision in Qatar (Cycling News)
A longer course and bigger prize pot awaits entrants to this year’s edition of the Cheshire Classic (Northwich Guardian)
…PEDAL POWER: Gruelling race in store for cyclists (Northwich Guardian)
Stafford RC to hold special coaching day for women (Staffordshire Newsletter)
New black kit for Futurumshop.nl-Zannara…
Nikki and Matt announce engagement!
The couple announced their engagement on Twitter.
Stultiens halts season early
Rabo ‘cross and road rider Sabrina Stultiens has been suffering with a chest infection, which she thought she’d shaken off – however, she explained that recovering from her illness has taken longer than she expected (in Dutch; sabrinastultiens.nl)
This is not the first time the 20-year-old, who was Junior National Cyclo Cross Champion in 2011, has been forced to sit out races this season – she was also unable to ride the first round of the ‘Cross World Cup at Valkenburg back in October due to a painful knee.
More Cross News
Pedal power puts girls in front (Hexham Courant)
GB aim for strong showing at Track Cycling World Championships (Yahoo Sport)
Great Britain team for Track World Championships announced (Cycling Weekly)
Wiasak’s World Championships (Lithuania Tribune)
Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club were the proud hosts of the first ever women’s only British Cycling Go Ride (Redditch Standard)