Interview – Leah Thomas WToS Winner 2019

Leah Thomas, Bigla Pro Cycling Stage 3 Winner Women’s Tour of Scotland – Edinburgh & GC Overall for the 1st edition of race.

Interview – Leah Thomas WToS Winner 2019 by Cycling Shorts

Leah Thomas, Bigla Pro Cycling Stage 3 Winner Women’s Tour of Scotland – Edinburgh & GC Overall for the 1st edition of race. All content ©www.CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

 

Image ©CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

Chris Maher

Chris Maher

Photographer & Writer

Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Website: www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

Women’s Cycling – an update for 2019

With the UCI announcing the WorldTour calendars for 2020 and that women’s teams will enjoy minimum provisions with effect from next year, including minimum salaries and entitlements for riders, there is a feeling that cycling is moving towards parity for men and women. But is that achievable or is it just a pipe dream for the female riders in the UK? 

Over the past few years, there has been a move to make the women’s racing equal to the men’s, with race distances being made longer as a consequence. In the UK, there has been a push to increase race distances for women, especially at a National Road Series level, with most races now over 100km, whereas perhaps five years ago, there were hardly any races that were over 50 miles (80km) in length. Whilst this can be called progress, we are moving towards a professional level of dedication, something for which perhaps the women’s sport is not yet ready. For example, there are not many teams that are able to pay riders’ expenses, let alone a wage, and this then means that many riders are effectively priced out of the market, especially when most national level events start at 9am, therefore meaning that an overnight stay is required, at a minimum. It should therefore come as no surprise if organisers are struggling to fill fields, as it becomes more and more costly to race at a national level without any significant financial support (whether that is from a sponsor or a family member). Is this sustainable, or do we need to find a –

And then we have the talent pipeline issue – we struggle to retain female riders after the age of 16, when riders make the transition from Youth to Junior, so it was hoped that the introduction of a Junior Women’s National Road Series would help bridge the massive gap from Youth to Senior. Unfortunately, probably to some degree as a consequence of coinciding with a major staff restructure at British Cycling, the Junior Women’s Series has not had the support from British Cycling that those involved at a grassroots’ level may have hoped to see, with organisers being given no guidance or support and races not being tied into the Series on the British Cycling website, therefore making it more difficult to find out what races were part of the Series. Those of us who are supposed to be in the know weren’t even told, so how riders are supposed to navigate the system to find the races does bring into question whether there really is a desire to see a push towards equality from a road racing perspective at British Cycling. We need British Cycling to be fully on board with the Junior Women’s Series and make sure that it is properly advertised, with organisers being given support and encouragement to promote these events if it is to be successful.

Next issue to be addressed is the shift in attitude with regards to risk assessment interpretation. Those of us who promote events for women are all too aware of the financial implications of promoting a women’s race – it is extremely difficult for an event to break even without a men’s race being organised in conjunction with the women’s race. At a regional level, when we first started promoting road races for women in 2013/14, the most viable way to do it was in conjunction with an existing men’s race, using the infrastructure which was already in place to add on a women’s race, usually starting a few minutes behind the men. This meant that we could ensure opportunities were being made available for women, without having to worry about the numbers. Unfortunately, a change in policy has meant that concurrent racing (where you have two events running alongside each other at the same time) is no longer deemed to be acceptable from a risk perspective and therefore the number of opportunities women will have to road race going forward will likely be substantially less, as organisers will opt –

 for men’s races that are easier to fill, rather than a potentially financially unviable women’s race. The risk assessment process is something which needs to be challenged – the outcome of this change in interpretation has effectively put a protected group (women) in a worse position and it is therefore paramount that a solution is found if British Cycling want to avoid a contravention of their own Equality Policy.

So what does all of this mean for women’s cycling? Well, whilst it’s great that the UCI have implemented a minimum salary requirement for Women’s WorldTour teams, it seems increasingly unlikely that there will be an increase in British riders gaining places on these teams if there is only limited financial support for those racing at a domestic level. Yes, it’s great that we have professional level National Series events but if nobody can afford to attend the races or organisers feel that the financial uncertainty is just too much, then the likelihood is that future cycling stars will not come from the UK, unless as a sport we can look at how events are run and redesign it to encourage as many people as possible to take part.

There are changes afoot at British Cycling, and a willingness to accept that what has come before has not necessarily been acceptable, but whether it will be too little too late remains to be seen. Let’s hope that we can find some solutions before it is too late.

All images © www.chrismaher.co.uk | CyclingShorts.cc

Heather Bamforth

Heather Bamforth

Women's Cycling Editor & Trustee of Racing Chance Foundation

Heather has been with CyclingShorts.cc for 8 years attending and reporting on major cycling events; Tour de France, Tour de Yorkshire, World Track Championships, World Road Race Championships to name a few.

A very influential and respected member of the UK Cycling community; Heather started up the Racing Chance Foundation charity to help women gain experience in cycling racing and progress their cycling careers, she is a Trustee of the Charity.

Heather is a Board Member of British Cycling North West Region

Exclusive CyclingShorts.cc Offers

Lizzie Deignan wins 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour

Great Britain’s Lizzie Deignan became the first rider to win two OVO Energy Women’s Tour titles as she sealed the 2019 crown at Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Saturday.

The Trek Segafredo rider, who only returned to racing in late April following maternity leave, finished eighth in a reduced bunch sprint to pip Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) to the overall crown by two seconds – the smallest winning margin in race history.

Dutch rider Amy Pieters (Boels Dolmans) claimed the final stage, beating Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) and Roxane Fournier (Movistar Team) to the line. Pieters placed third overall, 23 seconds behind Deignan, while her team-mate Christine Majerus finished fifth to cap a successful week for the Dutch team.

Interview – Lizzie Deignan 2019 OVO Women’s Tour Winner by Cycling Shorts

Lizzie Deignan talks after winning the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour. ©All content CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

 

 

“It means a huge amount. I think the last time I came here I was probably one of the favourites to win the race – this time I wasn’t a favourite, so it was a different experience. It was totally a team experience.

“I won through just grit and determination. I’m away from my daughter for a reason. I’m here to do a job and I’ve got a fantastic team around me. I don’t want to let them down.

“It’s a huge honour. I’m just delighted, lost for words really. The perspective you gain from having a year out of the sport is amazing. My attitude is just about enjoying it, I’ve never had that attitude before and it’s really paying dividends. I’m in the best team in the world I feel like from a support perspective and just the women around me just lift me up.”

Lizzie Deignan

2019 OVO Energy Women's Tour Winner, Team Trek Segafredo

Deignan crossed the line in eighth position in the 33-rider front group to take victory, having doubled her overnight one-second lead thanks to a mid-race time bonus from the Eisberg Sprint at Penygroes.  As well as the OVO Energy Green jersey the Trek Segafredo rider takes the Breast Cancer Care Points jersey through her consistent finishing across the six stages, and the HSBC UK British Cycling Best British Rider jersey.

The stage win for Pieters was her third in OVO Energy Women’s Tour history, being added to previous victories in Stratford-upon-Avon (2016) and Stoke-on-Trent (2017).  With Majerus and double stage victor Jolien D’hoore providing the perfect lead-out, the Dutchwoman was delighted with the win.

“The plan was to try to win the stage,” said Pieters. “I think we had a good plan and a good week with the whole team, so I think we need to be happy with this.

“The girls did a really strong lead-out for me and I’m happy that I could finish it off. I felt really good today and I’m happy with that because it was a really hard week and I’m happy that the last day I was still good.”

Amy Pieters

Stage 6 Winner, Boels Dolmans

Defending OVO Energy Women’s Tour champion Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) took the Eisberg Sprints jersey for a second year, getting into a group of 11 riders that broke away early on the Carmarthenshire route to seal the jersey at the first intermediate Eisberg sprint.

The final classification jersey went to Warwickshire summit finish winner Niewiadoma, who withstood the challenge of Majerus for a one-point advantage in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while the aggressive riding of Sarah Roy (Mitchelton Scott) was rewarded with the Wahooligan Combativity Award.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council Executive Board Member for Culture Sport and Tourism, said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour has been a resounding success, and has been the perfect showcase of our best landscape and cycling facilities.

“As a local authority, we are proud of our significant investment in facilities and infrastructure to support the growing cycling enthusiasm that we’re working so hard to build. Today’s race started at the historic Carmarthen Velodrome, the oldest in the world, and ended at our purpose-built National Closed Road Circuit at Pembrey Country Park.

We are particularly proud of Manon Lloyd [Drops], who is from Carmarthenshire and who started her cycling career with Towy Riders in Carmarthen. It must have been a fantastic feeling for her to compete with the best in the world on home soil and I hope she felt the strength of the crowd behind her.”

Once more the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will offer prize money parity with the men’s Tour of Britain, thanks to award winning independent energy supplier OVO Energy, the title sponsors for a third edition of the race.

Highlights of Stage Six will be shown on ITV4 at 20:00 on Saturday15 June with a repeat at 06:10 on Sunday 16 June on the same channel.  Programmes will be available on demand via the ITV Hub catch up service and via Eurosport in the UK and around the world.

Stage 6 - overall Tour Results

Chris Maher

Chris Maher

Photographer & Writer

Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Website: www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

Anna Magrath

Anna Magrath

Editor & Writer

Anna Magrath founded CyclingShorts.cc in 2008 and invited some of her cycling friends; coaches, photographers, writers and pro cyclists of different disciplines to join her, bringing you all things cycling related.

Over the years Anna has supported grass roots cycling events, riders and teams. Anna has a particular interest in Track, Road, womens cycling, recreational cycling and cycling related art. She has reported from the top cycle races on the world calendar including the Tour de France, Olympics, World Cups & World Championships.

Want to get involved? Why not get in touch.

CyclingShorts.cc are official sponsors of The Racing Chance Foundation, Team22 WRTTeam Jadan and cyclists Amy Gornall & Fraser Martin.

Interview – Lizzie Deignan 2019 OVO Women’s Tour Winner

Lizzie Deignan talks after winning the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

Interview – Lizzie Deignan 2019 OVO Women’s Tour Winner by Cycling Shorts

Lizzie Deignan talks after winning the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour. ©All content CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

 

 

Image ©CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

Chris Maher

Chris Maher

Photographer & Writer

Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Website: www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

Lizzie Deignan takes control of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Wales

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan claimed her first victory since returning from maternity leave in Friday’s fifth OVO Energy Women’s Tour stage in Builth Wells, Powys, to move into the race lead with just one stage remaining. 

Deignan, the race’s 2016 champion, out-sprinted Thursday’s stage victor Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and her Trek-Segafredo team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini in the Royal Welsh Showground after the trio broke clear on the day’s final SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Eypnt with approximately 22 kilometres remaining.

Interview – Lizzie Deignan – Stage 5 Winner & Green Jersey Holder OVO Women’s Tour 2019 by Cycling Shorts

Lizzie Deignan talks to the press after winning stage 5, taking control of the Green Jersey and GC in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour 2019. All Content ©CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

 

“Hannah Barnes was pacing pretty hard from the bottom of the climb” said Niewiadoma. “It was funny because when I wanted to attack, then Lizzie went, so we kind of went at the same time. We continued and at the top of the climb there were three of us: Elisa [Longo Borghini], Lizzie and myself. From then on we tried to go full gas.

“Tomorrow is going to be the final battle. I’m actually pretty excited and curious to see how it’s going to be because of course Trek has a strong team and they’re going to control the race from the start. Although there are so many teams eager to fight and split the race, we’ll see.”

Katarzyna Niewiadoma

Team CCC

“I can’t quite really describe it; it was probably the nicest win I’ve had in a very long time. I really savoured it and really enjoyed it and I will do for a long time,” said Deignan on taking her first win in 657 days.

“It was instinctive,” said Deignan on her attack. “It wasn’t the plan but I kept looking over at Lisa [teammate Longo Borghini] and noticed she was looking back at me and at one moment I just thought go on then we’ll give it a try.  I went and Kasia [Niewiadoma] took over then.  Her takeover was much stronger than my initial attack and I kind of survived with them two over the top and we worked together then until the finish.”

Lizzie Deignan

Stage 5 Winner, GC Leader & Green Jersey Holder, Trek-Segafredo

The Yorkshire rider leads Niewiadoma by just one second going into Saturday’s finale in Carmarthenshire, with Boels Dolmans rider Amy Pieters a further 31 seconds in arrears. In addition to retaining her lead in the HSBC UK | British Cycling Best British Rider jersey, Deignan also moves to the top of the standings in the Breast Cancer Care points jersey.

Niewiadoma’s efforts on the climbs see her take the lead in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while 2018 overall champion Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) retains the Eisberg sprints jersey.

Overnight race leader Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) finished 22nd, losing two minutes and 19 seconds to fall away in the overall classification and lose her OVO Energy green jersey.

The German had been in the main pack featuring all of the general classification contenders approaching the final SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Epynt, before the race was sparked into life by the aggressive riding of Trek-Segafredo duo Deignan and Longo Borghini.

That saw the final two riders from the day’s breakaway, Erica Magnaldi (WNT – Rotor Pro Cycling) and Amalie Dideriksen (Boels Dolmans), reeled in and the chasing pack splintered, with just 20 riders reaching the Royal Welsh Showground within two minutes of Deignan.

First over the summit of the Epynt climb moved Niewiadoma into the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb, with a one-point advantage over previous incumbent Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans).

Stage 5 Results

OVO Women's Tour Preview - Stage 6 (Final Stage)

The world’s best riders will tackle a 125.9-kilometre (79-mile) stage between Carmarthen and Pembrey Country Park on day six of Britain’s most prestigious women’s cycle race (Saturday 15 June).

In a first for the Women’s Tour, the field of Olympic, world and national champions will notably complete a lap of the Carmarthen Velodrome as part of the stage’s ceremonial start, as well as taking in part of Pembrey’s new, closed-road cycle circuit on the approach to the finish line.

Once more the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will offer prize money parity with the men’s Tour of Britain, thanks to award winning independent energy supplier OVO Energy, the title sponsors for a third edition of the race.

Highlights of Stage Five will be shown on ITV4 at 20:00 on Friday 14 June with a repeat at 06:25 on Saturday 15 June on the same channel.  Programmes will be available on demand via the ITV Hub catch up service and via Eurosport in the UK and around the world.

 

 

Chris Maher

Chris Maher

Photographer & Writer

Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Website: www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

Anna Magrath

Anna Magrath

Editor & Writer

Anna Magrath founded CyclingShorts.cc in 2008 and invited some of her cycling friends; coaches, photographers, writers and pro cyclists of different disciplines to join her, bringing you all things cycling related.

Over the years Anna has supported grass roots cycling events, riders and teams. Anna has a particular interest in Track, Road, womens cycling, recreational cycling and cycling related art. She has reported from the top cycle races on the world calendar including the Tour de France, Olympics, World Cups & World Championships.

Want to get involved? Why not get in touch.

CyclingShorts.cc are official sponsors of The Racing Chance Foundation, Team22 WRTTeam Jadan and cyclists Amy Gornall & Fraser Martin.

Interview – Lizzie Deignan – Stage 5 Winner & Green Jersey Holder OVO Women’s Tour 2019

Lizzie Deignan talks to the press after winning stage 5, taking control of the Green Jersey and GC in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour 2019.

Interview – Lizzie Deignan – Stage 5 Winner & Green Jersey Holder OVO Women’s Tour 2019 by Cycling Shorts

Lizzie Deignan talks to the press after winning stage 5, taking control of the Green Jersey and GC in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour 2019. All Content ©CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

 

 

Image ©CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk

Chris Maher

Chris Maher

Photographer & Writer

Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Website: www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

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