Lowther 7th at Junior World ITT — Sports Tours owner Fred Done increases support of women’s cycling — Transfer News — Shorts and Interesting Links
Latest: Three-day Tour of Yorkshire will include women’s race, say organisers Welcome To Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation.
The race will run between 1-3 May 2015; it is not yet clear if the women’s race will follow the same format.
Mel Lowther 7th at Worlds Junior ITT
British eighteen-year-old Mel Lowther took a superb seventh place at the Junior Women’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Ponferrada, finishing 27.69″ slower than winner Macey Stewart of Australia.
Mel put all her bike-handling skills to the test on the wet and slippery 13.9km parcours and, as the seventh rider to go, put in a performance that made her the fastest rider for some time. “I was really happy with seventh place, I didn’t have any pressure or expectations coming into the race so I was happy with a top ten, and even got to spend some time in the hot seat which was a bonus! All the GB staff looked after me reall well,” Mel told Neutral Service.
“Mel deserves her success. She often goes under the radar, but we have total faith in her ability,” says Stef Wyman, manager of Lowther’s Matrix-Vulpine trade team.
“Through a tough couple of seasons with injury and illness, Mel has always kept her head up. She was so close to a medal as well, and without a “wardrobe malfunction” literally at the start line, who knows what might have been possible? I’m confident that her success won’t be limited to the junior ranks and it won’t be many seasons until we start to see her rise up the ranks in the professional peloton.”
The only other British rider in the race, Grace Garner who had been ill in the preceding days and had to ride in even worse conditions once the rain returned, was 41st at +1’57.75″
Video of the race can be seen via the UCI’s YouTube channel. Full results are here.
Sports Tours International increases support of women’s cycling
British bookmaker Fred Done, owner of Sports Tours International which backs domestic team Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International and a founder of the BetFred bookmaking firm, says that he has ordered his company to increase its support of women’s cycling over the next three years.
Sports Tours International has grown dramatically in the last half-decade, which Done attributes to the growth of large sports events such as the Women’s Tour, which attracted vast crowds for each of its five stages in May. Other women’s events, such as those at Ride London and the Matrix Tour Series, also attracted thousands. Done co-founded BetFred in 1967 and the company has grown rapidly since the early years of this century; the company is the official betting partner of Webmley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspurs and operates all the betting booths at all Football Association matches. Between 2003 and 2004, its turnover increased more than six times, from £550 million to £3.5 billion.
“We have had a relationship with Dame Sarah Storey for the last 12 months and she has been a wonderful ambassador for our business,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “Our investment in the team is just the start, we have now secured the services of Joanna Rowsell MBE for next season and this further underlines our commitment to women’s cycling in the UK and worldwide.”
A “Hot Rumour” in last week’s Cycling Weekly suggests Dani King is likely to sign to Matrix-Vulpine, the British team that is expecting to step up to UCI level for 2015 – however, it’s since been confirmed that she will re-sign to Wiggle-Honda, scotching rumours that the team’s future is uncertain – another rumour currently doing the rounds claims Eileen Roe (currently Starley-Primal) will join her there. Meanwhile, Matrix-Vulpine promises further news next week…
What We Know So Far
Bigla Joining: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Hitec Products), Shelley Olds (Ale-Cipollini), Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) Extended: Vera Koedooder, Lotta Lepisto
Boels-Dolmans Joining: Chantal Blaak (Specialized-Lululemon), Evie Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon)
Hitec Products Joining: Vita Heine Petersone (Endura Lady Force), Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano)
Lensworld-Zannata (formerly Futurumshop.nl-Zannata) Extended: Annelies Dom, Mieke Kroger, Evy Kuijpers, Sofie De Vuyst
Matrix-Vulpine JJoining Lucy Martin (Estado de Mexico-Faren), Christina Siggaard (Firefighters Upsala CK), Laura Trott & Elinor Barker (Wiggle-Honda), Molly Weaver (Epic-Scott) Extended: Mel Lowther, Harriet Owen, Jessie Walker Leaving: Corrine Hall
Rabo-Liv Extended: Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Thalita De Jongh, Anna Knauer, Roxane Knetemann, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Sabrina Stultiens
Rytger Joining: Melanie Woering (RC Jan van Arckel)
Specialized-Lululemon Extended: Tiffany Cromwell
United Healthcare Joining: Linda Villumsen (Wiggle-Honda)
Shorts and Interesting Links
That kit, again
Angie Rojas, a rider on the Colombian IDRD-Bogota Humana-San Mateo-Solgar team and the designer of the kit that was at the centre of a furore recently, has defended her design. “I’ve already said that I designed the uniform and as an athlete, as a woman, as the cyclist that I am, I wouldn’t be ashamed with this kind of design,” she told reporters. The kit, which in some photos appears to have a “nude” section (it’s actually gold), prompted a response from UCI president Brian Cookson, who termed it “unacceptable by any standard of decency” – in turn prompting women’s cycling fans and riders to point out that there are far more pressing issues in the sport.
Specialized withdraw as title sponsor of Specialized-Lululemon
US bike manufacturing giant Specialized will remain equipment supplier to US-based Velocio Sports, which raced under the name Specialized-Lululemon, but will no longer be a title sponsor in 2015. Instead, it will switch to become title sponsor of Dutch-based Boels-Dolmans. Lululemon, the Canadian sportswear manufacturer, will also make the switch, as will rider Evie Stevens.
“We have been a part of the Specialized-Lululemon team for the past three years and it was a great fit for us at that point in women’s cycling, but women’s cycling isn’t a start-up anymore, women’s racing is happening. Both funding and expectations in the sport have increased, so we want a bigger platform for what we can do in women’s cycling,” said Erin Sprague, product manager at the bike firm.
Meanwhile, Velocio Sports’ future seems secure: in July the team announced that is was looking to recruit new sponsors, and success at the World Championships – the team won the Team Time Trial for the third consecutive year and Lisa Brennauer won the Individual Time Trial – is likely to be useful in attracting backers. The team has also resorted to crowd-funding, setting up an Indiegogo campaign, Project X, that has raised more than $100,000 towards a $700,000 target.