Elite women's field heads to Le Samyn des Dames, Strade Bianche and Omloop van het Hageland
The classics season is now underway and the women’s peloton will head next to Le Samyn des Dames on Wednesday in Belgium followed by the inaugural Strade Bianche on Saturday in Italy and then back to Belgium on Sunday for the Omloop van het Hageland - Tielt-Winge.
A thrilling start to the classic’s season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last Saturday saw Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) take the win ahead of Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) in a two-up sprint. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) took third in a bunch sprint.
Moolman-Pasio and Olds lead Bigla at Le Samyn des Dames
South African champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and American sprinter Shelley Olds will lead Bigla Pro Cycling at the Le Samyn des Dames on Wednesday in Belgium. The pair lead with experience having both placed second in the event, Olds in 2013 behind Ellen Van Dijk and Moolman-Pasio last year behind Emma Johansson.
This year, the team hopes to take the top step on the podium.
"For Le Samyn we have a good roster…," said director Manal Lacambra. "Together with the other girls we hope for a good result. The course is technical, bad road conditions, windy, cold, possible raining and with some cobble sections. Like all the Belgium classics, sure it will be a hard race."
The team will also field Lotta Lepistö, Joëlle Numainville, Iris Slappendel and Doris Schweizer.
US national team start spring classics campaign in Belgium
USA Cycling has sent eight riders overseas to compete in a series of classics events this season. Coryn Rivera kicked off the campaign as the team's top-placed rider at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, finishing 28th and 4:02 minutes behind race winner Anna van der Breggen.
The US team participating overseas also include Jessica Cerra, Heather Fischer, Maura Kinsella, Kendall Ryan, Ally Stacher, Carmen Small and Alexis Ryan.
They will next compete at Le Samyn des Dames on Wednesday.
Inaugural UCI Women's Teams Seminar held on International Women’s Day
The inaugural Women’s Teams Seminar will be held the day after the new women's Strade Bianche on March 8 (International Women's Day) in Siena, Italy. The sport's governing body has invited all 38 UCI-registered elite women's teams to participate.
The meeting will include discussions about extending the women's series and professionalising women's road teams. "The seminar will give us a chance to outline the role of the working group, share what is planned and receive feedback. It will also be an opportunity for everyone to have their say," said UCI Women's Cycling Coordinator Andrea Marcellini.
G4 Productions continues equal prize money at Philadelphia Cycling Classic
G4 Productions, new organisers of the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, will continue to offer equal prize money for their women's World Cup and UCI 1.2 men's events held on June 7 in Pennsylvania.
Former organisers, Liberty Sports, had elevated the prize list for women to equal the men's in 2013. After a bid process and a request for proposals, G4 Productions was awarded the contract to produce the event for the city of Philadelphia and have promised to maintain the equal prize lists for men and women.
They have also upgraded the women’s event to a World Cup and extended the race by one lap for a total of 115 km.
"We are again able to offer equal prize money and bring the World Cup women’s race to Philadelphia. It's all really special for G4 Productions," said the event's press officer Janine Carroll. "This will be our third year, since the race came under new management, that we will offer equal prize money for men and women."
G4 Productions will offer $35,000 for both the women’s and men’s events. Evelyn Stevens has won the last two editions of the race on Manayunk Wall.
Wiggle-Honda aims to be number one in the world
Wiggle-Honda's manager Rochelle Gilmore presented her 15-rider team at the Monasterium PoortAckere, a converted monastery, in Gent last week following a team training camp. She stated that her team’s main objective for the 2015 season is to be the highest ranked team on the UCI standings.
"Our aim for the season is to end the year as the number one team in the world," Gilmore said. "The main objective of this team is to win bike races, and every athlete in this room is capable of winning big bike races, and contributing to the huge success and our team goals.
"It is in our DNA, of all of us, to have that same goal of progressing the sport and making sure we go in the right direction in the next few years. These are the athletes that have made the commitment to that."
The team is heading into their third season with a roster that includes Mara Abbott, Giorgia Bronzini, Anna Christian, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Jolien D’hoore, Annette Edmondson, Emilia Fahlin, Mayuko Hagiwara, Chloe Hosking, Dani King, Elisa Longo Borghini, Peta Mullens, Amy Roberts, Eileen Roe and Anna Sanchis.
Wiggle-Honda are currently the third ranked team in the UCI standings behind Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team and Boels Dolmans Cycling Team. Last year, they finished seventh overall.
Gautier and Storey up for Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award
Paralympic cyclists Dame Sarah Storey from Great Britain and Shelley Gautier from Canada have been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award. The 16th Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievements for the 2014 calendar year, will take place at the Grand Theatre, Shanghai on Wednesday, April 15.
Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand after her arm became entangled in the umbilical cord in the womb, is a 14-time world champion in cycling. She secured four of those titles in both road and track disciplines in her first year back after giving birth to her daughter, Louisa, last June. She recently attempted to break the Hour Record at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London on Saturday, however, came short by 563 metres of Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel record 46.065km set in 2003.
"It's a huge and unexpected honour to be nominated for this award," Storey said. "Making a comeback after a year out to have Louisa was always the plan but I never expected how much stronger I would become and it's been a huge honour to be able to continue to win gold medals for Great Britain and as a result get nominated for this prestigious award. Many thanks to everyone who supports me, my success is a team effort."
Gautier, who leads an independent life as a hemiplegic, is a five-time world champion in the tricycle T1 class. She suffered from a head injury during a mountain bike accident in 2001 and was in a coma for six weeks. The accident left her with paralysis on one side of the body. In 2009, she was the first female tricycle T1 rider on the international circuit.
"Thank you so much," Gautier said in a Cycling Canada press release. "It is now real and I believe it. I want to make more opportunities for disabled people in sport."
BTC City Ljubljana aims for better results in 2015
BTC City Ljubljana was launched last year as the first professional women’s team in Slovenia. With one full year of racing under their belts, the squad is aiming to improve on their results, World Cup ranking and overall UCI ranking in 2015.
"This year, our goal is to improve on our results. With some new members added to the team, I am certain that we will succeed," said the teams sports manager and coach Gorazd Penko on the UCI website.
Last year, the Slovenian Cycling Federation (KZS) awarded the team for developing women’s cycling in Slovenia and for their achievements on the international circuit.
The team’s financial backers have also supported the building of a new cycling school for girls in Ljubljana, which will have two coaches.“This school will provide a base of young riders as we develop women’s cycling in Slovenia,” said team manager Maja Oven.
In addition to the team, the city of Ljubljana will host the prologue and the stage 1 finish of the Giro Rosa in July.
Naked Women's Racing to step up to domestic elite level in 2015
Colorado-based team Naked Women's Racing, sponsored by the Naked Juice brand, is in the process of upgrading to a domestic elite level for the 2015 season. The upgrade was initiated by team member Kimberly Turner would like to see the program involved in top-level races across the US.
"Naked Women's Racing has a mission to grow the sport of women’s cycling from the ground up – through support of new racers in our various programs – and now at the top of the ranks too as we embark on our domestic elite status for 2015," Turner said in a team press release.
The move will allow the team to take part in USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and National Racing Calendar (NRC), and possibly some of the domestic UCI-registered events.
"I proposed this nascent idea to the leading ladies of Naked Women’s Racing, and they were on board!" Turner said. "Over the next few weeks, we will be slogging through the paperwork that is required, and by the end of March we will appear on USA cycling’s list of Domestic Elite Teams.
"I am incredibly excited to see what will come of this step, and we are proud to be able to open up an opportunity for more qualified women to race at a National level. In addition to the category 1/2 riders already on the team, we are hoping to extend an guest-riding invitation to regional riders who would like to target NRC and NCC races. Please contact us if you would like to be considered, and stay tuned for updates!"
The team member also include Lanier Allen, Marisa Asplund, Vera Divenyi, Joan Orgeldinger, Rachel Scott, Roberta Smith and Melanie Wong.
Tiffany Cromwell's Cyclingnews blog: Episode 2
In her second video blog, Velocio-SRAM rider Tiffany Cromwell offers insight into the early part of her season racing in the Middle East and the upcoming spring classics.