Category Archives: Pro Tour

On the unthinking marginalisation of women’s cycling

I pretty much missed the finish of last night’s Fleche Wallonne. Why? I was having an argument with Velonews. You see, they’d posted this tweet, which was greeted by a not-altogether unjustified response:

start

I, naturally, retweeted this. It’s common shorthand to think first of the men’s race, but this is a strong point. Marianne Vos has won Fleche Wallonne five times. So Velonews’s tweet is factually inaccurate, but colloquially, it mostly gets the point across.

Is this really a problem though?

Well yes.

You see, it’s lazy, and laziness does nothing to help rectify a situation of historical marginalisation. Women’s cycling has played second fiddle for years , but we’ve had some recent, though hesitant steps forward. La Course is a thing now. We get coverage – partial, it’s true, but coverage nonetheless – of the women’s race at De Ronde van Vlaanderen. We see the women’s world champs on TV. We got a smattering of coverage from the women’s race last night, and even got coverage of the women’s podium on the global feed. What we need right now is an active response to keep the momentum rolling.

So lazy journalism was always going to be noticed.

But what really particularly irked me was the response. Observe.

response

Yep, instead of just holding up their hands and issuing a clarifying tweet, Velonews decided to blame the character limit.

I copied their original tweet. There were fifty characters to spare. FIFTY.

It had nothing to do with the character limit. Besides which, you’re a journalistic publication. Words are your business. Make it work.

Such responses are as lazy and unthinking as the original tweet. Velonews, you fucked up. To use some deliberately ironic, lazy and sexist language: You need to man the fuck up and admit it.

And pull up your damn socks in future.

 

De Ronde

If there’s one thing I really, really want to do, it’s go back to Europe, and spend classics season doing this:

Monumental Flanders – A documentary about cycling in Flanders and the Ronde – 2013 from Cycling in Flanders on Vimeo.

Yes, riding the amateur classics routes, Paris Roubaix and De Ronde most of all, getting splendidly drunk on fantastic beer with great people afterwards, then watching the pro peloton smash the cobbles. Then doing the whole thing again.

Please? Can I do that? Please?

It’s imminent, but not imminent enough for me

Quite a few of us are hanging out for the start of Classics Season.

For my part, the non-stop excitement of the Tour Down Under has given way to the expected snoozarama of the Middle Eastern Tours, and it’s proving painful. So, as a service to us all, here’s a recap of my two favourite Classics from last year.

This should keep us going until Milan – San Remo on the 23rd March, where the one-day season kicks off proper, followed by E3 Harelbeke on 28th March, Gent-Wevelgem two days later, then the big two, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris – Roubaix on the 6th and 13th of April. Not to mention Amstel Gold (20-4), Fleche Wallone (23-4) and Liege-Bastogne-Liege (27-4) after that. April is going to be epic.

If I could hibernate from now till then, or take a time journey, I would. Especially since I’m injured at present and can’t race or train hard until my elbow heals up.

Enjoy

My new favourite cycling media thingy

Cosmo Catalano, he of How The Race Was Won, has a new show and it’s really good. You should check it out. Much snarkier than GCN, and not prone to promoting quack remedies either. So that’s good. Also, mighty fine t-shirts.

You should probably also check out his HTRWW from the 2014 Tour Down Under, while you’re at it.

British Cycling: Road To Glory

I like a good cycling documentary, me. Here’s one about Sky and British Cycling’s epic 2012 – Part one, and below the fold, parts two to five. Forty-five minutes each. Settle in.

Continue Reading →

Whaddaya mean I’m racing the next day? Aaaaaaagh.

A look back on the bad old days…

… and I’m not just talking about Mike Tomalaris’s 90′s haircut.

This is stage 17 of the 1998 Tour de France, disrupted by the peloton in protest against heavy handed treatment by anti-doping authorities.

Fun suggestion: play a game of spot-the-doper as the peloton rolls through the French countryside. Hypocrites to a man, they stood in solidarity with the – apparently few – clean riders, all the while knowing what was going on back in the hotel. Screw those guys.

Classics Season starts this weekend…

I’m tremendously – unfeasibly – excited for this year’s spring classics season, which starts on Saturday 23rd with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. And in celebration of this, here’s one of the most dramatic views I’ve seen of Booooonen’s Paris Roubaix 2012 victory, from behind the scenes at OPQS

I’m unashamedly hoping Tommeke smashes the classics again this year, even though his elbow problem of the off-season is forcing him to be a bit conservative at this stage.

Incidentally, rumour has it that the only reason that hard bastard of all hard bastards Boonen didn’t chomp into his infected bursa, suck out the radioactive pus, spit it to the roadside and just keep pedalling is that even Belgians cannot bite their own elbows. True story.

A prediction for the year

Omega Pharma-QuickStep will kick ass, take names, crumple up the sheet of paper on which they took the names, stuff it in a bottle of petrol, light it, and spectacularly immolate the team standings for 2013.

And indeed, Cavendish has taken the first stage of San Luis, his first race for OPQS.

Now, if Tom Boonen’s elbow can get itself out of star-studded rehab, the coming classics season will be stamped into the pavé, and the year will be set up for complete dominance

Mark my words!