Thursday, 13 February 2014

Women's Tour a waste of money, says idiot councillor

Unless you live in Welwyn Garden City, you've probably never heard of Martyn Levitt. He is one of the city's councillors and, as such, you'd have thought he'd be a man with a good understanding of the issues that affect modern society. Things like how a sedentary life style causes poor health, which in turn causes misery and detriment to the economy, for example. Perhaps you'd also expect him to understand that a very good way to encourage people to live a more active lifestyle is a good way to prevent all that.

The Women's Tour is a
waste of money, thinks
Martyn Levitt
Not Mr Levitt, though. Mr. Levitt proved he's entirely incapable of understanding all this when he spoke to local newspaper the Welwyn Hatfield Times recently on the topic of the Women's Tour, which has become the most talked-about cycling race to have taken place in Britain for many years - and is one of the most talked-about races in the cycling world overall.

For Mr. Levitt, the Tour is not exciting, nor fun, nor a superb way to encourage more of the population he serves to get on their bikes and enjoy all the myriad benefits that cycling brings. Oh no. For him,the £50,000 that Welwyn's council put towards the race is all just a waste of money.

"When I have been a councillor for Haldens, I have wanted to get litter bins and I can't get litter bins, I'm told we don't have money. But we have money to fritter away on this," Mr. Levitt told the newspaper.

"The Tour of Britain had Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, household names. It got very little television coverage, what hope is there [that the Women's Tour] will raise £50,000?"

Ultimately, it shouldn't matter to the likes of Mr. Levitt whether his council is paid back the full sum it has put towards the Tour because it's been shown time and time again that the moire people cycle, the better off a town becomes - roads require less maintenance and fewer car[parks need to be built, efforts to monitor and limit air pollution can be scaled back and if even a few of the locals who see it fall in love with cycling and decide to get out on the bike once in a while, the likely savings for the local health authorities are far greater than £50,000. What's more, those people will be healthier and happier - and you can't put monetary value on that.

Mr. Levitt says that come the local elections in May, he will step down. That's all for the best, because he has no idea what he's talking about.

Welwyn residents can tell Mr. Levitt why he's wrong. Find his contact details on the council's website.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Les Déesses

Regular readers - assuming, that is, that I have any of those - may be aware that I've recently become involved with a new website named Neutral Service.

Neutral Service has the potential to become much more than this blog ever was. We're aiming to become nothing less than the central point for anyone looking for information on women's competitive cycling here in Britain and on races taking place abroad when there's a significant British interest (and probably when there isn't, too, if the race takes our fancy; because we love the sport).

Editing and writing for Neutral Service in addition to maintaining Les Déesses and Cyclopunk is becoming a bit too much. After all, I also have to go to work, and find time to waste dicking about on the rest of the Internet, drinking too much and eating biscuits. Something's gotta give - and since just about everything I've done here can now go on Neutral Service, it's going to be this one.

I'm not going to shut down the blog entirely because I'll always need to have a place where I can voice opinions that might not be suitable for putting elsewhere - stuff like my personal feelings regarding certain figures in the cycling world that perhaps veer into libel, and all the fanboy stuff about Marianne Vos.

So, if you still want to read my women's cycling news reports and race previews, click here (and if you want to help out on Neutral Service, click here).


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Harris wins Superprestige Hoogstraaten

With many top riders choosing to stay away from Hoogstraten's Vlaamse Aardbeiencross round of the Superprestige, due at least partly to the Series' apparent lack of interest in women's cycling (as expressed by Superprestige president Etienne Gevaert in this VeloNation interview), many fans wishing to choose a favourite for victory will have selected between just two names - Britain's Nikki Harris, who was second here in 2011, and Belgian Champion Sanne Cant, who won last year.

Cant rode hard to beat Vos and Wyman at Krawatencross, where Harris was fourth, just 24 hours before this race; but she's proved many times before that she's very capable of making a rapid recovery from extreme effort and coming back even stronger. When you're the female 'Cross Champ of Belgium you have no other choice because you're in demand every weekend - despite what a dinosaur like Gevaert thinks. Cant's also known to be a very, very good rider on sand, so the long sandpit leading to the finish line was likely to do her some favours.

Harris, meanwhile, is very, very good in the mud - and although conditions two hours before the race began were reported to be dry (and windy), heavy rain had fallen several times in the week prior to the race and had left the parcours muddy for most of its length. This, in the end, gave her the advantage she needed.

More details to come...

1 Nikki Harris (GBR)
2 Sanne Cant (BEL)
3 Jolien Verschueren (BEL)

More results to come....

Women's Cycling News 08-15.02.2014

Cyclo Cross -- Road -- Track -- Other

Got a story you think we should know about? Get in contact!

Stultians halts season early
 Rabo 'cross and road rider Sabrina Stultiens has been suffering with a chest infection, which she thought she'd shaken off - however, she explained that recovering from her illness has taken longer than she expected (in Dutch;

This is not the first time the 20-year-old, who was Junior National Cyclo Cross Champion in 2011, has been forced to sit out races this season - she was also unable to ride the first round of the 'Cross World Cup at Valkenburg back in October due to a painful knee.


Video: Marianne Vos on La Course at the Tour de France (
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio retains SA title (Sport 24)
Olympic cyclists to race in Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire Telegraph)
Paige Milward headhunted to join new development team (The Sentinel)
Bigla team presentation (Pez)
Qatar women's team targets 2016 Worlds (Cycling News)
...Sheikh Khalid: "We are focusing on two fronts to develop women’s cycling. We are working towards developing a mass base for the sport, and trying to nurture stronger girls who can compete for Qatar" (Gulf Times)
...Hosking has 2016 vision in Qatar (Cycling News)
A longer course and bigger prize pot awaits entrants to this year’s edition of the Cheshire Classic (Northwich Guardian)
...PEDAL POWER: Gruelling race in store for cyclists (Northwich Guardian)


GB aim for strong showing at Track Cycling World Championships (Yahoo Sport)
Great Britain team for Track World Championships announced (Cycling Weekly)
Wiasak’s World Championships (Lithuania Tribune)  


Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club were the proud hosts of the first ever women's only British Cycling Go Ride (Redditch Standard)

Cant beats Vos at Krawatencross; Helen Wyman third

SanneCantBeating the World Champion must feel great. When that World Champion is Marianne Vos, and you also beat the European Champion Helen Wyman, it must feel absolutely fantastic - which explains Belgian Champion Sanne Cant's delight as she took the top step of the podium following Saturday's BPost Bank Trofee Krawatencross race at Lille. The victory was sweetened yet further due to the Belgian having been fourth  at last weekend's World Championships where Vos won and Wyman was third - and by the fact that Vos won this very race for the last two years, beating Cant (3rd 2012, 2nd 2013) on both occasions. Wyman, who is British Champion for the eighth time this season as well as European Champion for the second time, seemed unable to match Cant and Vos as the race progressed and left the pair fighting a private battle all of their own, each rider refusing to back down all the way to the final approach to the finish. With the race looking certain to end in a sprint the majority of fans will have been expecting Vos to add yet another victory to her spectacular palmares despite Cant's skill on a sandy parcours such as this, but then the Dutch superstar's foot slipped from the pedal. She probably lost no more than a fraction of a second, but it was enough: Cant noticed and attacked hard, taking the tiny advantage that was she needed to triumph. Wyman will also be pleased with her result: she's never stood on the podium at this race before. The only other British rider was Nikki Harris, who took fourth place. Although Wyman still leads the series overall, her advantage is now just 31" to Cant (Harris is third at +1'11"). The final round, taking place at Oostmalle on the 23rd of February, promises therefore to be one of the season highlights. Helen Wyman's race report Video: Cant wins Krawatencross Krawatencross Full Result 1  Sanne Cant (Enertherm - Bkcp)  BEL 2  Marianne Vos (Rabobank Women Team)  NED 3  Helen Wyman (Kona)  GBR 4  Nikki Harris (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team Young NPI)  GBR 5  Loes Sels (Young Telenet Fidea)  BEL 6  Sophie De Boer (Kdl Cycling Team)  NED 7  Yara Kastelijn (Rtc Buitenlust)  NED 8  Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea)  BEL 9  Pavla Havlikova (Young Telenet - Fidea)  CZE 10  Githa Michiels (Toka Print Mtb Team)  BEL 11 Karen Verhestraeten (Sengers Ladies Cycling Team) BEL 12 Reza Ravenstijn-Hormes NED 13 Jolien Verschueren (Dncs/pro 2012 Cycling Team) BEL 14 Esmee Oosterman (Wrv DE Peddelaars) NED 15 Laura Verdonschot (Vzw Lotto - Ladiescycling) BEL 16 Maud Kaptheyns NED 17 Katrien Thijs (UP Cycling Team) BEL 18 Hilde Quintens BEL 19 Lotte Eikelenboom (Drc De Mol) NED 20 Kim Banga NED 21 Christine Vardaros (Baboco - Revor Cycling Team) USA 22 Shana Maes BEL 23 Ilona Meter (Rcp Stevens) NED 24 Nele Van Maldeghem BEL 25 Suzie Godart LUX 26 Suzanne Verhoeven NED 27 Gertie Willems BEL 28 Meg De Bruyne BEL 29 Lena Bischoff-Stein 30 Nathalie Nijns BEL 31 Tine Verdeyen BEL 32 Lene Vrijsen BEL 33 Mara Schwager GER 34 Caren Commissaris (UP Cycling Team) BEL 35 Valerie Boonen BEL 36 Laura Krans NED 37 Anja Geldhof BEL 38 Brenda Kaczmarczyk BEL 39 Yenthe Boons BEL 40 Jessika Timmermans BEL 41 Cindy Diericx BEL 42 Britta Werners GER 43 Caitlyn La Haye BEL 44 Sandra Sintobin BEL

More News...Shorts and Links

Friday, 7 February 2014

Tour of Qatar - Stage 4 - Wild wins stage and fourth GC

Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild finished first in a bunch sprint against some formidable opponents including devastatingly fast Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda), who was second, and Melissa Hoskins of Orica-AIS who was third.

Wild's Giant-Shimano team once again kept tight control on the race and saw to it that the many attacks they knew they'd face were kept strictly in check, with Wild herself ensuring a late attempt by Orica's Emma Johansson was thwarted. A few riders managed to get away in the last 10km, but Wild was simply too strong and soon put them back in their places. Following bonification, Wild's victory earned her a 22" General Classification advantage over the second-placed rider, her team mate Amy Pieters - who won Stage 2 and finishes as leading rider in the Youth category.
Wild won the first and second stages, too; her domination of the race is even more impressive due to the fact that she has now won the General Classification four times, having also triumphed in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
More details and results to come...
Stage 4 Top Ten
1 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) 2h06'23"
2 Giorgia BRONZINI (Wiggle-Honda) ST
3 Melissa HOSKINS (Orica-AIS) ST
4 Trixi WORRACK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
5 Jolien D'HOORE (Lotto-Belisol) ST
6 Shelley OLDS (Ale-Cipollini) ST
7 Pascale JEULAND (France NT) ST
8 Roxane FOURNIER (France NT) ST
9 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
10 Xiao Ling LUO (China Chong Ming) ST
Full result: stage / GC