Penny Rowson, best known for her time with the On The Drops team for whom she rode between 2010 and 2012 and again from 2014 to 2015 after spending a season with Breast Cancer Care, has announced her immediate retirement at the age of 23.
“I’m so grateful for all the opportunities which have lead to pro cycling being my lifestyle,” Penny told Neutral Service. “The dream became a normality. I’m forever thankful to those of you who have helped, encouraged and believed in me. It’s been an incredible journey but I feel as though my time is precious and would be better spent elsewhere. I wish everyone at Matrix Pro Cycling the best of luck – hope I did you proud and I’m sure I will see you all around at some bike race somewhere.”
Penny’s last race was the Prudential Ride London GP, in which she came 81st after working for her team and helping team mate Laura Trott take 8th place. Neutral Service wishes Penny the very best in all her future endeavours.
Britain’s non-professional domestic teams refused to be overshadowed when they went up against some of the best riders in the world, holding their own and accounting for no fewer than 40% of all the places in the top twenty – including sixth place for Katie Archibald, who was the fastest Brit and the fastest rider from a non-pro team.
Many of the domestic riders are used to competing in races with headquarters in village halls where, if they’re lucky, there’ll be a working kettle and a jar of coffee, and for prizes of a few pounds – a far cry from the world of the UCI stars. However, they were not afraid to take on the professionals, and had it not have been for many riders being held up between two big crashes, the 2’46” difference between the fastest professional and the British rider in last place would in all probability have been far smaller.
That’s a promising indication of where the sport is in this country right now, and where it’ll be in another few years… read more.
Wiggle-Honda signs Johansson
Emma Johansson – who is currently ranked No. 2 in the world and for a time last year became No. 1, ahead of Marianne Vos – has apparently rethought her decision to retire from professional cycling after the 2016 Olympics and has signed a two-year deal with the British-based Wiggle-Honda team.
Johansson, one of only a tiny handful of riders able to consistently challenge the almost all-conquering Vos over the last few years, has a palmares that reads like a list of the most prestigious races in women’s cycling – the Trophée d’Or Féminin, the Ronde van Drenthe, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Emakumeen Saria, the Thüringen Rundfahrt and a selection of Swedish National Championship titles for road, time trial and cyclocross, among many others. Her decision to join a British team is therefore very interesting: Wiggle-Honda already boasts riders such as twice-World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, Jolien D’hoore, Elisa Longo Borghini and Mayuko Hagiwara as well as British riders like Dani King and Eileen Roe – an international talent base comparable to, and arguably superior to that of, Team Sky. If Sky’s successes have been so good for British cycling, Wiggle-Honda’s 2016 team could be a very good thing indeed for British women’s cycling.
More news to come, including how the riders you won’t read about elsewhere got on at Ride London, in a couple of days when I have a day off work…!
*She’s great, so you really should.
Photos of the Week