ASO seeks funds for 7-day Women’s TdF — Hayward and Curtis move to Pearl Izumi? — Armitstead 7th at Worlds — Epic victory for Epic-Scott’s Weaver at Great Orme RR — Domestic Results — Transfers and Team News: Three Belgian squads after UCI licences, Longo Borghini to Wiggle, Corrine Hall leaves Matrix-Vulpine, Domestic and UCI — Shorts and Interesting Links: Chapeau Martine Bras, That Kit still in the news, Omloop van Borsele elevated, links
ASO seeks funds for 7-day Women’s TdF
Bloomberg, the highly respected financial news service, reports that Amaury Sport Organisation is looking to recruit an American sponsor to back a new week-long women’s Tour de France to be held on the same parcours as the men’s race.
The men’s Tour is backed by Carrefour, Ibis Hotels, Orange Telecommunications and a large number of smaller sponsors. The ASO itself is a commercial venture and partly finances the race itself.
Explaining the reasoning behind the search for an American sponsor, ASO chair Jean-Etienne Amaury told Bloomberg that “there was a pretty strong audience in the United States” for the one-day La Course women’s race held in conjunction with the final stage of this year’s Tour.
La Course was organised following a campaign by Le Tour Entier, a pressure group created by riders Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley, Kathryn Bertine and triathlete Chrissie Wellington, which ultimately wishes to see the foundation of a true multi-stage Tour for women. At present, the Union Cycliste International limits the length of women’s races to a maximum of ten days; only one race, the Italian Giro Rosa, is that long. There are concerns, from riders, team managers and fans, that were the UCI to change the rules and allow a 21-day women’s race many of the athletes might not be able to remain competitive due to having not previously had reason to train for such long distances, which might in turn lead to a boring event doing women’s cycling no favours; many argue therefore that a shorter race is for now at least more practical and that it should be a separate event.
However, with sponsors still unwilling to provide as much backing for women’s cycling, which like many women’s sports tends to receive far less media exposure than men’s sports, there are definite advantages to holding women’s races in association with men’s – the media are there, the parcours has been plotted out, the infrastructure, support vehicles and so on are all available and the race would benefit from the cachet of what it widely seen as the biggest, toughest and most spectacular sporting event in the world; it therefore seems to make sense to organise a women’s Tour in conjunction with the men’s Tour. One option that does not seem to have been explored is to hold the two races together, but for the women to race ten (possibly reduced distance) alternate stages – for example, Stages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21, ideally timed to finish an hour or so before the men so that the press are in place.
Hayward and Curtis to Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International?
Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International appear to have signed Beth Hayward (Matrix-Vulpine) and Katie Curtis (Starley-Primal) for 2015. The team has not yet made an official announcement, but Madison UK apparently accidentally revealed the signings on Twitter when they posted a photo of “the @pearlizumi @sportstoursint team” visiting them to look at new products.
More transfer news below.
Armitstead 7th at Worlds
Yorkshire’s Lizzie Armitstead took seventh place in the Women’s Road Race at the World Championships at Ponferrada on Saturday. Racing what many termed a “perfect” race that kept her in contention all the way, Lizzie was still with the lead group by the time Marianne Vos (Netherlands) opened up her final sprint – but did not have the strength to follow Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) as she launched herself off Marianne’s wheel and into the rainbow jersey.
The race was exciting right from the start, with the two Israeli riders Shani Bloch and Paz Bash attacking early on before a huge crash hospitalised eleven and effectively ended the chances of a few nations. Damp weather later on made the roads slippery but didn’t dampen the action, with numerous further attacks and plenty of intriguing tactics in the final laps. Read our full report here.
Epic victory for Epic-Scott’s Weaver at Great Orme RR
Molly Weaver finished well ahead at the Great Orme Road Race, taking what may be her final victory for Epic-Scott before she moves up to UCI level with Matrix-Vulpine in 2015.
Weaver’s total elapsed time was 45’16”, almost three minutes faster than second and third placed Kara Chesworth and Eve Dixon, who led a group of four that managed to stay just ahead of Chanel Mason and Vivienne Taylor, who were themselves more than 3′ ahead of the next riders.
The organisers, Rhos-on-Sea CC, bill their event as “the best fully-closed road race in the UK.” Riders’ comments on Twitter and Facebook suggest they’re inclined to agree – we’ll have a full report by Molly, along with photos from her team, in the coming days.
Great Orme RR Top Ten
1 Molly Weaver 45’16”
2 Kara Chesworth 48’13”
3 Eve Dixon ST
4 Amy Gornall ST
5 Elizabeth-Jane Harris ST
6 Jennifer Hudson 48’15”
7 Chanel Mason
8 Vivienne Martin 48’17”
9 Ruth Taylor 51’21”
10 Sarah Burke ST
CycloPark Twilight Series #3 02.10.14
1 Heather Rankin (Dulwich Paragon CC)
2 Holly MacMahon (WXC World Racing)
3 Sophie Edmondson (Kinoko Cycles)
Interservices RR Championships 01.10.14
1 Elizabeth-Jane Harris (Army Cycling Union)
2 Chanel Mason (Army Cycling Union)
3 Victoria Webb (Lichfield City CC)
Kilmarnock Crit 28.09.14
1 Alexa Mair (Edinburgh RC)
2 Janet Erskine (Ayr Roads CC)
3 Julianna Rourke (Edinburgh RC)
Clifton Season Ender 27.09.14
1 Tanya Griffiths (Starley-Primal)
2 Iona Sewell (GB Cycles.co.uk)
3 Seonaid Thompson (Albarosa CC)
Sharon Argue Memorial 27.09.14
1 Jayne Taylor (Deeside Thistle CC)
2 Flora Gillies (Speg-Project 51)
3 Amanda Tweedie (Deeside Thistle CC)
Transfers and Team News
With the Elite World Championships taking place over the weekend, things quietened down as far as transfer news goes. However, there was one big story – Elisa Longo Borghini, winner of the Italian National Championships and the Tour de Bretagne this year, is moving from Hitec Products to British-based Wiggle-Honda. Longo Borghini is ranked tenth in the the world by the UCI; her transfer therefore proves once and for all that Wiggle-Honda’s future in not in doubt as was suggested following news of big-name riders leaving the team.
“I’m really happy to be going to Wiggle-Honda – after learning and improving so much during my three wonderful years at Hitec I felt it was time for a change,” she said. “Wiggle-Honda is such a strong team; we will try to win every type of race, and I want to continue learning and improving.”
Three-time national track champion (Points 2010 and 2012, Scratch 2013) Corrine Hall announced that she is leaving Matrix-Vulpine, the British squad that will race at UCI level in 2015. Corrine acts as tandem pilot for the British paracycling and is especially well-known for her partnership with Lora Turnham – the pair won gold medals in the Road Race and Time Trials at the World Cup in Italy earlier this year; a partnership that Corrine wishes to continue; unfortunately, UCI rules state that a paracycling pilot cannot ride on a UCI team.
“Them’s the rules, but I worked with Corrine to find her a new home,” said team manager Stef Wyman.
Three Belgian teams, namely Lensworld-Zannata, Lotto-Soudal and Topsport Vlaanderen-Pro Duo, are reported to have also applied for UCI licences for 2015.
Also on the British domestic scene, PH-MAS are on the cusp of revealing new signings – keep an eye on developments at their website.
Sarah Roy, with Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86, is hotly rumoured to be negotiating a contract with Orica-AIS. Another completely unconfirmed rumour suggests Alison Powers (United Healthcare) is about to announce her retirement.
UK Domestic Teams – what we know so far
De Ver Cycles Staying: Abbie Dentus
Epic-Scott Joining: Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall (Matrix-Vulpine), Louise Mahe (Mulebar Girl), Julie Erskine (Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa) Staying: Lexie Shaw, Karla Boddy
GB Cycles.co.uk Confirmed Leaving: Jo Blakeley
Les Filles Announcement expected early November
Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International Joining: Clemence Copie (MuleBar Girl), Jo Rowsell (Wiggle-Honda; confirmed) Beth Hayward (Matrix-Vulpine; confirmed), Katie Curtis (Starley-Primal; unconfirmed, see report above)
PH-Mas Joining: Jenny Eastham
Team 22 Joining: Jo Blakeley (GB Cycles.co.uk), Vanessa Whitfield (VC St. Raphael) Staying: Jen Edwards, Sarah Rose, Claire Martin, Eve Dixon, Jess Atkinson
VC St. Raphael Confirmed Leaving: Vanessa Whitfield
UCI teams – what we know so far
Ale-Cipollini Confirmed Leaving: Shelley Olds
Astana-BePink Confirmed Leaving: Doris Schweizer
Bigla Joining: Sharon Laws (United Healthcare), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Hitec Products), Shelley Olds (Ale-Cipollini), Doris Schweizer (Astana-BePink), Iris Slappendel (Rabo-Liv), Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) Staying: Vera Koedooder, Lotta Lepisto Confirmed Leaving: Jo Hogan
Bizkaia-Durango Joining: Coral Casado Ortiz, Paula Lanz, Alba Teurel Ribes
Boels-Dolmans Joining: Chantal Blaak (Specialized-Lululemon), Evie Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon) Staying: Lizzie Armitstead, Demi de Jong, Megan Guarnier, Romy Kasper, Christine Majerus, Katarzyna Pawlowska, Ellen van Dijk Confirmed Leaving: Jessie Daams, Janneke Ensing, Nina Kessler, Sanne van Paassen, Nicky Zijlaard
BZK-ProBasic (new UCI team based in the Basque Country) Joining: Aiala Amesti,Confirmed Leaving: Marijn de Vries Domínguez, Olatz Agorria Etxebarría, Ziortza Isasi (CAF), Mar Bonnín Palou, Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez (CAF), Maria San Jose Tejerina, Eider Unanue
Hitec Products Joining: Charlotte Becker (Wiggle-Honda), Shana van Glabeke, Vita Heine Petersone (Endura Lady Force), Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) Confirmed Leaving: Chloe Hosking, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
Lensworld-Zannata (formerly Futurumshop.nl-Zannata) Joining: Mariel Borgerink, Kim de Baat (ParkHotel Valkenburg CT), Kaat van der Meulen (Keukens Redant) Staying: Annelies Dom, Mieke Kroger, Evy Kuijpers, Sofie De Vuyst
Liv-Plantur (formerly Giant-Shimano) Staying: Lucy Garner, Claudia Lichtenberg, Floortje Mackaij, Maaike Polspoel, Kyara Stijns Confirmed Leaving: Marijn de Vries, Kirsten Wild
Lointek Confirmed Leaving: Aude Biannic
Lotto-Belisol Confirmed Leaving: Emma Pooley, Liesbet de Vocht (both retiring)
Matrix-Vulpine Joining: Lucy Martin (Estado de Mexico-Faren), Christina Siggaard (Firefighters Upsala CK), Laura Trott & Elinor Barker (Wiggle-Honda), Molly Weaver (Epic-Scott) Staying: Mel Lowther, Harriet Owen, Jessie Walker Confirmed Leaving: Corrine Hall, Beth Hayward
Orica-AIS Staying: Loes Gunnewijk Confirmed Leaving: Jessie Maclean Rumour: Sarah Roy (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86) to join
ParkHotel Valkenburg CT Confirmed Leaving: Kim de Baat
Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86 Joining: Aude Biannic (Lointek) Eugenie Duval, Severine Eraud, Elisabet Escursell Staying: Charlotte Bravard, Roxane Fournier, Pascale Jeuland, Lucie Pader, Amélie Rivat Confirmed Leaving: Sandrine Bideau, Oriane Chaumet, Fiona Dutriaux, Gabrielle Pilote Fortine, Liisi Rist, Manon Souyris, Kimberley Wells Rumour: Sarah Roy to leave
Project X (formerly Specialized-Lululemon) Staying: Lisa Brennauer, Tiffany Cromwell Confirmed Leaving: Carmen Small-McNellis, Evie Stevens, Chantal Blaak
Rabo-Liv Staying: Lucinda Brand, Thalita De Jong, Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Roxane Knetemann, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Anna van der Breggen, Marianne Vos Confirmed Leaving: Iris Slappendel, Annemiek van Vleuten
Rytger Joining: Melanie Woering (RC Jan van Arckel), Henriette Woering (RC Jan van Arckel)
SC Michela Fanini Confirmed Leaving: Mireia Epelde Bikendi and Edwige Pitel (both retiring)
Servetto-Footon Staying: Veronica Cornolti, Marina Likhanova, Anna Potokina, Sari Saarelainen
Specialized-Sekuritor Joining: Kimberley Wells (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86)
Stoeckli Joining: Jolanda Neff
Swabo Joining: Nicky Zijlaard
United Healthcare Joining: Linda Villumsen Leaving: Sharon Laws Rumour: Alison Powers to retire
Vainao-Fondriest Staying: Allison Linnell
Wiggle-Honda Joining: Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) Staying: Dani King Confirmed Leaving: Elinor Barker, Jo Rowsell, Laura Trott, Linda Villumsen
Shorts and Interesting Links
Chapeau Martine Bras!
That damn kit, still
Despite the World Championships, that Colombian team kit still dominates the first few pages of a Google News search for “women’s cycling.” Fortunately, many of them have now come round to the “the UCI has more important things in women’s cycling to be dealing with” way of thinking.
Omloop van Borsele now 1.1
The Dutch EPZ Omloop van Borsele race has been awarded UCI 1.1 status. Previously a 1.2 event, the race organisers have gradually developed the Omloop over the twelve years it’s existed. There are now three 1.1 races in the Netherlands, the others being the Boels Rental Hills Classic and the Ronde van Overijssel.