Welwyn Hatfield recoups most of Women’s Tour cost – British races – Tour of Utah to feature women’s race – Koedooder is athlete’s rep at NOC*NSF – Powers wins US Cycling Pro Champs – UCI events this weekend – Interesting Links – More to come
Welwyn Hatfield recoups most of Women’s Tour cost
The Welwyn Hatfield Times 24 online newspaper reports that Welwyn Hatfield has recouped £42,750 of the £50,000 it spent bringing the Women’s Tour to Welwyn Garden City – less than three weeks since Stage 4 ended there on the 10th of May.
“We made an initial investment to host the stage finish and from the outset we were confident it was the right thing to do for Welwyn Hatfield,” says council youth and sport partnerships manager Matt Rayner. “Thanks to the support of sponsors, we managed to recoup almost all of this outlay, and if you take into account sponsorship ‘in kind’, we exceeded that target.”
Huge crowds of cycling fans gathered to watch Marianne Vos win the stage, boosting the local economy by purchasing food and drinks in nearby shops. That, combined with the ease and speed of the council’s recouping of the cost, proves just how wrong local councillor (since stepped down) Martyn Levitt was when he claimed the race was a waste of money back in February.
Tour of Utah to add women’s race
The 2014 Tour of Utah, due to take place between the 4th and the 10th of August, will include a women’s race. Following an identical format to the men’s Stage 3 on the 6th, the race will consist of 15 laps of a 3.54km motor racing circuit at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele.
The race is open to “professional, domestic elite, and established women’s cycling teams—as well as qualified individuals interested in joining a composite team,” with interested parties able to request an invite via the race website before the 6th of June. Crowds of 25,000 are expected, and the prize purse is growing as new sponsors sign up to support the event.
Archibald wins Milk Race – report and results here
Tate wins Shrewsbury GP – report, results and photos here
Koedooder is athlete’s rep. at NOC*NSF
Vera Koedooder has been chosen to act as an athlete’s representative at the NOC*NSF Commission, the Dutch equivalent of the sports wing of Britain’s Ministry of Sports, Culture and The Arts.
Koedooder, who rides for Bigla and won Stage 3a before finishing second overall at the Energiewacht Tour in April this year, will be particularly active in the organisation’s anti-doping and elite athlete support committees.
Alison Powers wins USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championships
34-year-old favourite Alison Powers beats Megan Guarnier by 22″ and Evelyn Stevens by 25″.
UCI events this weekend
There are several major races taking place over the weekend, beginning with the Boels Rental Hills Classic (UCI 1.1) in the Netherlands on Friday, 30th of May. Starting and finishing at Sittard, the race takes place in the hilliest part of the country and features fourteen tough climbs over its 128.4km parcours. Tamina Oliver, riding for WV Zeeuws Vlaanderen, is the only British rider on the start list which can be found on the event’s official website.
The Netherlands has another race the following day: the Rabobank 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg (UCI 1.2), which has been officially renamed the Marianne Vos Classic in honour of the rider who won the first edition in 2007 and again in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. The race couldn’t be more different to the Hills Classic, taking place on an entirely flat parcours. Riders (a start list hadn’t been published at the time of writing) complete three laps of 28.5km starting at Aalburg and heading out through Genderen, Eethen and Drongelen before passing through Vos’ home village of Meeuwen before making its way via Veen back to Aalburg. With those three laps done, the race continues with three laps of an 11.3km circuit using some of the same roads from Aalburg to Veen and back again; the total distance is 119.4km. More details can be found on the official race website and there’s a detailed description of the route here.
Marianne Vos Classic Newspaper: If your Dutch is up to it (mine isn’t), a special commemorative newspaper has been produced featuring a great deal of information on Vos and the race. It can be downloaded freely here.
In Kazakhstan, the Asian Road Race Championships take place on Saturday. Ah Reum Na of Korea won the individual time trial on Wednesday the 28th; results will be available from the UCI.
The Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan (UCI 1.2) has become one of Brittany’s most popular races in recent years, which says a lot – the Bretons are more obsessed with cycling than anyone else in France, and they turn out in big crowds to watch the women’s race too. It’s also the perfect event for British fans looking for a weekend away as Brittany is easily reached from the UK. The race is on Saturday the 31st and the riders will race for 108km made up of five laps of a 13.9km circuit followed by five of a 7.7km circuit; more information is available on the race website.
If you prefer stage races, the two-day Auensteiner-Radsporttage (UCI 2.2) is happening in Germany on the 31st of May and 1st of June. The first stage is a difficult 12.8km individual time trial between Ilsfeld and Ottmarsheim, featuring a climb to 244m with several very steep sections – there’s an altitude profile here. Stage 2 consists of twelve laps of a 9.1km circuit, each featuring a tough climb to 140m, making the race very much one for the pure climbers. More information is here.
Belgium hosts the last of the fifth European race of the weekend on the 1st of June, and it’s a good one – Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik (UCI 1.1, upgraded from 1.2 in 2013). The race is made up of three sections with a 21.6km circuit to be completed twice, a Grote Ronde of 63.6km and three laps of a 10.6km circuit, giving a total 0f 138.6km, and it has some seriously tough climbs on the long section: Kapelmuur at Oudeberg, Bosberg at Heirbaan, Congoberg and Bergstraat. Kapelmuur, also known as the Muur van Geraardsbergen or the Mur de Grammont, is especially notorious – it’s narrow, cobbled, in places as steep as 20% and well-known to cyclists as the scene of many decisive moments in numerous races including the men’s and women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen. The cobbles are especially difficult due to being laid in a horizontal pattern designed to make life easier for pedestrians (and coincidentally much harder for cyclists) by acting as low steps; according to COTACOL it’s the hardest climb in Flanders. Bosberg is also a very difficult climb with a maximum gradient of 11%; the cobbles start as the road enters the forest and are made more demanding by occasional concrete slabs. Congoberg is not such a well-known hill as the Muur and Bosberg, but coming so soon after them and with a maximum gradient when climbed from the west of over 8% it’s definitely a challenge. A start list is not yet available, though a list of teams (including British team Wiggle-Honda) and lots more information can be found on the official website.
Back in 2012 it looked as though the USA was destined to become the home of women’s road racing, but in 2013 it lost almost all of its races due to a variety of issues mostly related to lack of sponsorship – a great shame, because the country has a vast selection of spectacular landscapes and has produced some of the best and most popular female cyclists of all time. The only UCI race to take place there last year was the Philly Classic (UCI 1.1), which only survived because of the hard work of local civic leaders and wasn’t at all secure until Parx Casino stepped in with an offer of $500,000. This year’s edition is on the 1st of June and consists of five laps of a 19.3km circuit (each one including an ascent of the infamous Manayunk Wall, which reaches a gradient of 17%) for a total of 96.5km. The race organisers have earned the respect of riders and fans alike through their insistence on prize equality – the women’s prize fund is $31,000, as is the men’s. There’s much more information and a map on the official website and a detailed look at the parcours here.