It's been a while since I checked in last and a lot has been happening. So, where shall I start?
Well, I've been in Spain for the last six weeks, Javea specifically, training very hard for the start of the new season. I'm in better shape and lighter than I've ever been thanks to my new coach Chad Andrews. He's given me renewed motivation and understanding of training and my body and what I'm capable of mentally and physically. I'm working with an SRM now, which is also something new for me. It's a vital and amazing tool when racing at a high level these days, gone are the times of just getting on my bike with no specific goal.
Cycling is always in a precarious situation, but even more so for the women's side of the sport. The shocking news that the former Nurnberg team - which was set to be taken over by a new sponsor Skyter - would not fulfill their obligations left many of the top pros’ futures hanging even before the racing had begun this year. While I have no inside knowledge or real idea of what happened, what I do know is that this is bad for the sport!
Nurnberg was a team with a long and rich history, and to see women like Nicole Cooke and Amber Neben left without a concrete idea of where they would be racing for 2010 was for me, unfathomable. These are some of the best athletes we have. Both have world champion jerseys to their names as well as Tour wins and Olympic medals.
To add insult to injury, we now hear of the loss of one of our World Cup races in Montreal along with the Tour of PEI. Given as one of the reasons for this was the creation of new men's ProTour races in Canada and the funding being directed in that direction instead, it's the case of big fish eating smaller fish.
Call me biased but I can attest to the fact that this is simply not true. The women's peloton has grown in size and strength over the years and while we might average a bit slower speeds, the tactics and heroic wins are not lacking! Of course when you cannot follow a race in detail on television it's very hard to get a good idea of what's really going on so I'll excuse the notion as a lack of understanding.
For god's sake, the girl attacked in the first 400m and went on to win solo by over 1:14. And the funny thing is people will say "yes, because there is less depth of talent in the women's peloton so it's easier to do things like this" but if the shoe were on the other foot and a man is attacking and winning in this style it's lauded by the cycling milieu as something remarkable.
Emma and every other woman racing can tell you, this was no easy feat and was not aided by having no rivals to challenge her. Her own teammate, Claudia, gave her a bit of a fight in the women's Giro last year and ended up winning the overall. So I dispute these claims wholeheartedly.
I applaud the teams that are out there and supporting us, Lotto for sure, because it's not easy; a labour of love for sure. Another thing I'd greatly like to see is more men's teams taking the initiative to field women's teams such as HTC-Columbia and Cervelo have done. I feel what both these teams have done is very progressive thinking and commendable. A cycling team is meant to be a form of advertising and I can tell you from first hand there are many women turning their attention to cycling in recent years.