UCI to introduce Women’s WorldTour in 2016
Among the topics of discussion at the inaugural UCI Women’s Teams Seminar International Women’s Day in Siena, Italy was the creation of a Women’s WorldTour beginning in 2016.
It was reported in Ella Cyclingtips that the new format will replace the existing World Cups 10-round series, and instead offer a range of events from one-day races to stage races for a total of 30-35 days of racing throughout the season. Many of the current World Cups would be part of the schedule, which could also potentially include La Course by Le Tour de France, La Course by La Vuelta, The Women’s Tour, Tour of California and the Giro Rosa.
Discussions also included creating two tiers of professional teams, minimum wages, expanding live streaming coverage of women’s events and sponsorship.
How women’s road cycling fit into the CIRC investigation
Some may be wondering how women’s road cycling fit into the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s (CIRC) 228-page report following a 13-month investigation into the history of doping in cycling. Here is what the Commission noted in Chapter 1, p 71.
“The Commission regrets that it did not have more time to examine all other cycling disciplines as it believes there are valuable parallels to be drawn and reasons to be examined as to why a discipline does or does not have widespread doping within it. The Commission did however briefly examine women’s elite road cycling. It believes that it is under-developed and potentially offers a great opportunity for cycling.
“The Commission found that doping occurs in women’s cycling, although it most probably is not as widespread and systematic. This is likely because far less money is available in women’s road racing currently. The Commission was told of doping at the highest levels nevertheless, and it is logical to assume that when women’s cycling is finally developed to a status comparable to the men’s sport, it will attract the same problems as the men’s unless steps are taken now to protect it from that fate.
“The Commission was told that women’s cycling had been poorly supported in past years, and was given examples where riders in the sport had been exploited financially and even allegedly sexually. The Commission was told that the managers were often from male cycling, and were not of a quality to get a job in men’s road cycling, and that glaring opportunities to recognise women’s cycling for its potential were tainted by a male- dominated sport that failed to realise the potential of women’s cycling.
“A discipline like mountain bike is culturally very different from road cycling; they attract a different type of person and the sport requires different physical, technical and mental approaches. The Commission was told of people who had crossed disciplines, from mountain bike to road cycling, and how one or two mountain bikers were already doping before they made the transition. The Commission encourages UCI to investigate the doping situation also in other disciplines of cycling.”
The report also mentioned an abuse of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) in women’s racing.
Wiggle-Honda net wins in Molecaten Drentse Acht van Westerveld and Het Hageland
Former world champion Giorgia Bronzini won the Molecaten Drentse Acht van Westerveld for her Wiggle-Honda team on Thursday in Dwingeloo, Netherlands. The Italian won the sprint from a seven-rider breakaway ahead of her compatriot Valentina Scandolara (Orica-Ais) in second and Annemiek Van Vleuten (Bigla) in third.
“In the end they tried to attack me, but I could follow the moves,” Bronzini said. “I was on van Vleuten’s wheel on the last corner, and I gave her a little bit of a gap. I came out with 200 metres to go, and it was okay at the end!”
The win comes after a series of top results in the early season for Wiggle-Honda including a recent victory from Jolien D’hoore at the Omloop van het Hageland in Belgium on Sunday. She won the sprint ahead of Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) and Sara Mustonen (Liv-Plantur).
“I didn’t expect to get my first win so soon!” D’hoore said after her win last weekend. “My first race in the Omloop [Het Nieuwsblad] was not so good, but then Wednesday was a lot better and today I felt really good. I’m happy with my shape at the moment, and I’m really happy to get this win for the team - the first win for the team.”
Rowney suffers broken collarbone after spectator interferes with final sprint in Drentse 8
Velocio-SRAM’s Loren Rowney is recovering from a broken collarbone after crashing during the final sprint between seven riders at the Molecaten Drentse Acht van Westerveld on Thursday. The Australian was sprinting to the finish line when a spectator reach out from the crowd to touch her handlebars causing her to hit the pavement.
Rowney posted on Twitter, “Thank you 4 the well wishes everybody. I'll try and get back to you all...it's hard with 1 arm! on my way to Hamburg for treatment.”
Velocio-SRAM announced on Twitter that Rowney was taken to a hospital in Hamburg to undergo surgery. They also thanked race organizers for their “concerns and investigation into her crash.”
Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda), who won the race said, “In the first moments I thought that it maybe was my fault, but my sprint was okay and she had time,” Bronzini said. “We just saw the video and someone - a spectator - took her handlebar, and that is really crazy; a really crazy thing!”
Riders head to World Cup opener at Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe
The World Cup's 10-round series kicks off this weekend with the Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe on March 14 in the Netherlands. Last year, Lizzie Armitstead won the race and then went on to secure the World Cup overall title in August.
Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe is the second of three races that take place this week in the Netherlands. The series started with the Molecaten Drenthe 8 (UCI 1.2) on Thursday and the Novilon Eurocup (UCI 1.2) is on Sunday.
The Boels-Dolmans team will be sending full roster to all the races. "The riders have had a super start to the season,” said team manager Danny Stam. “That motivates us, but also boosted everyone to see that they can make the best of themselves. We have to prove it again and again, I hope we can draw the line in their own country.”
SweetSpot announce 16 teams to compete in The Women's Tour
Race organizers of the The Women’s Tour have announced the 16 teams that will be participating in the five-day race that starts on June 17 in Bury St Edmunds.
"We have once again secured a world-class line-up of teams for the Friends Life Women's Tour, which surpasses even that of our inaugural event in 2014,” said race director Mick Bennett. “To have attracted so many of the world's top teams to race in Britain shows the high regard in which the Friends Life Women's Tour is already held, a regard which we will reward with another exciting and high-profile race this June.”
The Women’s Tour teams:
Ale Cipollini (Italy)
Bigla Pro Cycling Team (Switzerland)
Boels Dolmans Cycling Team (Netherlands)
Germany national team
Lotto Soudal (Belgium)
Matrix Fitness (Great Britain)
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Orica AIS (Australia)
Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International (Great Britain)
Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope-86 (France)
Rabo Liv Cycling Team (Netherlands)
Team Liv Plantur (Netherlands)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)
USA national team
Velocio SRAM (Germany)
Wiggle Honda (Great Britain)
Guarnier praises teamwork for Strade Bianche win
American rider Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) picked up one of the biggest wins of her career at the inaugural UCI 1.1 Strade Bianche March 7 in Italy. Her tough performance was capped off by a solo win in the the Piazza il Campo in the centre of Siena, but she attributes her success to a team effort.
"On the penultimate unpaved section, Lizzie attacked on the steep part. Immediately afterwards I could punch a gap,” Gaurnier said in a team press release. “I was riding solo ahead and had little choice other than to go full on. I knew Lizzie was behind me. I understood that there were many attacks in that group and that Lizzie had her hands full. But it gives a lot of power when you know that a teammate covers you in the back.”
The 103km women’s race started in San Gimignano. The first 33km and the last 20km were held on the same roads as the men’s 200km route, and there was a total of 17km of white gravel roads, divided into five sectors.
Guarnier, along with her teammate Lizzie Armitstead, were apart of a five-rider breakaway that also included Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Bigla), Anna Van Der Breggen (Rabo Liv) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda).
Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air off to a winning start in 2015
Following their pres-season training camp in California, Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air have gone on to a series of successes during the early racing season.
One of the team’s track specialists, Jennifer Valente, secured a silver medal in the individual pursuit at the UCI Track World Championships in France while racing with the US national team. Illness sidelined her teammate Carmen Small from competing in the team pursuit.
Lauren Komanski and Allie Dragoo wrapped up the three-stage Valley of the Sun in first and second place overall, respectively. The team also took five podium finishes during the three stages; a time trial, road race and criterium. “Valley of the Sun was a amazing way to start the year with the team! This was truly a team victory!” Komanski said.
The team continued their success at the four-stage Chico Stage Race with Dragoo winning the overall classification and Maddy Boutet winning the best young rider competition. In addition, Alison Jackson won the opening circuit race and the stage 4 criterium, while Dragoo won the stage 3 time trial.
"What an exciting way to start the year, it was instant synergy between the professional and development athletes," said team director Mari Holden. "The positive team spirit is going to take the squad far this season.”