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Omloop vrouwen elite
« on: February 15, 2016, 12:22 »
11th Version of the Race which starts the classics season, and Omloop is not the same without some words and pics from Larri from 2015 and then 2014





Quote from: L'arri
On a hillside just a few rolling valleys away, a restless crowd gathers for the passage of the 69th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The damp air clings to the dips while the wind blows along the crests. The landscape seems to muffle all sound and the birds have yet to join us.

This is Flanders on the first day of March, still seemingly far away from Spring. And while that crowd introduces the foreign smell of tobacco smoke and breaks the winter silence over there, another small but not inconspicuous crowd now gathers here too.

A major race is not due on this hill for some weeks yet but there are the familiar crackling radios, solitary men clutching pairs of spare wheels and some animated discussion between ladies wearing unusual hairstyles.

A rather severe fellow asks me if it is correct to point his binoculars to the east where a trickle of motorbikes threads along a distant narrow road. I answer that I cannot speak Dutch and then a moment later I realise I understood him after all but he has gone back to scanning the horizon like a ship’s captain.

This is the infamous Paterberg and we await the 9th women’s edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. A different race on a different course but, as I am about to find out, a deeply emotive experience.

Out of the moist and misty background of this canvas appear the official cars and from our vantage point atop this brutal climb we know our peloton is approaching. Just as well, for there is no telltale TV helicopter to announce it.

The existence of a women’s race from 2006 onward was not the end of inequality for women.

Lack of coverage and the concomitant lack of investment are well-trodden paths on that road but today we are shown the evidence of inequality within the racing.



The richer teams dominate. Though themselves of modest means, they can still afford to procure, maintain and improve the best talent and, such is the nature of the sport, the gaping gulf between the low and high race numbers manifests itself in this climb, the riders approaching it as if from a starting grid.

The richer teams take the lead, accelerate and generate the gaps while underfunded teams struggle, founder and unclip from pedals due to the necessity of day jobs and inadequate coaching and management.

Young, inexperienced riders are thrown at the race like raw army recruits, unprepared for the distance and the obstacles but expected to be grateful for the opportunity just to race.

It is not that I wish to stigmatise these few richer teams. I have already alluded to the fact that ‘rich’ is a relative term: relative to the men’s sport and, as a frankly microscopic fraction, to other sports.

What lacks here is greater wealth and a greater distribution of wealth such that even modest investments can skew the profile of women’s cycling.

None of these concerns nor the evidence of their effects subtract from the extraordinary drama of the ensuing long moment.

The race has been relatively compact until the Côte de Trieu, where Twitter informs us that the peloton has splintered into three groups. Barely can we digest this news before the visual proof is before us across the valley.

When the race reaches the Paterberg, it is British champion Lizzie Armitstead who appears first with a slender gap. Keeping to the gutter of the upper slopes, her smooth glide belies the fact that she has just detonated the race. The big teams know they must now chase for the race itself is at stake.



Former double winner Emma Johansson romps by a few seconds later, trailed by Giant-Shimano’s Amy Pieters and the Luxembourgeoise Christine Majerus.

While the bigger groups that follow contain many other candidates for the win, their size and mix of riders makes them less efficient and suddenly a few women falter. They fight with the gradient but can no longer turn the pedals due to bad gearing, fatigue or collisions with others. Those who are more able but find themselves caught up by circumstances shout in panic and frustration.

Whether it is the English language, because I recognise her first or the complex look on her face, former double junior world champion Lucy Garner shocks me most. As she is forced to dismount, her bike tangles with that of the rider who halted her and Lucy’s obvious anger and desperation cuts right through me.

Later I find myself reflecting that I had never seen such a thing in men’s racing, not because I wished to make an unfavourable comparison, but simply because it was a fact and I did not know why, for I am sure in her position that I would have felt much like Lucy.

In the meantime, a lot of shouting is being done.

Some riders now want a push from spectators, while others expressly do not want a push, still others are walking with their bikes and the cold is trying to penetrate their legs.

Confusion reigns and spectators who had respectfully kept to the roadside now step into the race itself.



I hastily shut off my camera and with it swinging from my neck, I offer assistance to the first rider I see. This is the Scot Kayleigh Brogan, slim and narrow shouldered but strong enough to be here today.

The scene around us is chaotic. I ask her if she needs a push. I use my own accent in the hope that she might trust its familiarity because this is pretty scary and, no longer a passive party to the events, I am a little scared myself.

Then without aforethought for manhandling her posterior I begin pushing Kayleigh before she clips back into her pedal. Later I wonder if I should have held her on the spot as at the start of a time trial or pursuit race to let her clip in first.

I push her in the direction of the summit, both of us unsteady on the cobbles. Another spectator pushes me in turn and after another kick Kayleigh is gone, to an uncertain future but on two wheels again.

Perhaps the noblest metaphor for the agony of the 9th women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the sheer number of stragglers. Their heads sag and they pedal on the small chainring but it is impossible not to admire them, still committed, still unbeaten.

We see so many of them, now on the Paterberg and then on our way to the men’s race, just a few rolling valleys away.

Postscript

I’ve been to a lot of races and felt the expectation, anticipation and excitement of the approach. The rush of wind, the smell of embrocation and that strange and faintly discernable phenomenon of witnessing a transition of individuals from photographs and television footage to three dimensions. The immediate aftermath, scuttling for the car, the discussion and the onward scheduling.

However, I cannot recall ever having connected to a race so emotionally as I did to this one. I think it was because as spectators, we remain passive voyeurs however close we get, but when riders veer off the road and into our narrow strip of existence, when a chaos breaks out in our very midst and we share their panic, we are no longer on the outside of their world.

When we step onto the cobbles to push them, untangle their bikes and all of this out of human empathy rather than paternalism, we are effectively stepping into the race.

When they scream and swear at those who have shown weakness, when their eyes are full of hate and fear and fiery anger, we are as much the targets as any of their peers.

When we push them and they are heaving with oxygen debt and fighting with legs that disobey, when they radiate heat through a couple of thin layers after we spent a half hour awaiting them in the near-freezing air, we worry for them and they roll away once more to a distant and uncertain future, a future in which we now feel like we have a stake.

A thrilling experience as always and this year with much less poor language...







Emilia Fahlin was pretty much the only Wiggle-Honda rider still on her bike, which provoked some of us to think the team was overgeared for this sort of parcours.



And my favourite photo of the day, getting bawled at by Joëlle Numainville even though she was the one not staying on the road: :P



All pics from both races here --> http://www.mikepadgett.com/cycling/omloop-het-nieuwsblad-2015/

Not much has changed on the track that will soon have presented the participants in the 11th edition of Circulation for women.
Traditionally, the start is given to the Flemish Cycling Centre Eddy Merckx at the Blaarmeersen Ghent. Via Drongen, Leerne, Deurle, Nazareth and Ouwegem enters the game in Kruishoutem right where the first slope is waiting for them with Nokereberg. After that attracts Waregem Anzegem to a second warm-up, the Tiegemberg, back in the trail after a break of one year.

Kluisbergen the game can really break open. The Kluisberg already provides a first Elimination and subsequent Côte de Trieu puts the game normally already in a first decisive fold.

A heavy Paterberg provides the definitive separation. Followed by Kortekeer, Ladeuze and Wolvenberg, then serve them a series cobbled sections to which no longer stop the game. Ruitersdreef, Jagerij - new in parcours- opening gedokker. Followed by Paddestraat, Lippenhovenstraat and Lange Munte, interspersed with one last slope, the Molenberg.

The final is now tradition, lineal Lange Munte to Ghent. Except that this time the line is drawn at the Garden. A check with a vicious nod uphill.

2015 News report



Video

http://www.focus-wtv.be/video/west-vlaamse-vrouwen-ontgoochelen-omloop

2016 route



still looking for info

previous winners
2015   VAN DER BREGGEN Anna *nl   
2014   PIETERS Amy *nl   
2013   CROMWELL Tiffany *au   
2012   GUNNEWIJK Loes *nl   
2011   JOHANSSON Emma *se   
2010   JOHANSSON Emma *se   
2009   DE GOEDE Suzanne *nl   
2008   WILD Kirsten *nl   
2007   LACOTA Mie Bekker *dk   
2006   DE GOEDE Suzanne *nl

:web :twitter

Teams and startlist to come
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  • « Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 10:42 by just some guy »
    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    just some guy

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    M Gee

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 01:04 »
    O.    M.    F.    G.   

    L'arri. JSG's 1st quote from you?[1] Is superb. Beautiful. Excellent. Wordsmith-worthy. ALMOST Sports Illustrated worthy - and it would be with some minor editing. I am in awe. And gratitude, for being one of the "audience" who is/are party to read this.

    But, one point you do not make clear, and which I want to know the answer to: 
    Quote
    . . . that I had never seen such a thing in men’s racing . . .
    , is, exactly what part of this scenario had you never seen in men's cycling?

    We have no zen emotes for a relaxed, confident, happy, and zen-like individual in the moment of meditative "oooommmm". If we did, I would insert it here, as that is how your descriptive writing affects me.



    Oooommmmmm.
     1. Which does not link!?
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    L'arri

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #3 on: February 22, 2016, 20:58 »
    But, one point you do not make clear, and which I want to know the answer to:  , is, exactly what part of this scenario had you never seen in men's cycling?

    The whole spectacle, really. We have seen the men's peloton go down like a house of cards but it has never felt or sounded like life and death.

    I hesitate to attribute this sensation to studious professionalism or that it's 'just another race', because that might suggest the women are somehow unprofessional or that they don't have other races to ride, but I do believe that there is some sort of cultural difference that explains it. It just seems to matter more to the women.
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
    RIP Craig1985 / Craig Walsh
    RIP KeithJamesMc / Keith McMahon / Larry Sarni

    M Gee

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 02:08 »
    The whole spectacle, really. We have seen the men's peloton go down like a house of cards but it has never felt or sounded like life and death.

    I hesitate to attribute this sensation to studious professionalism or that it's 'just another race', because that might suggest the women are somehow unprofessional or that they don't have other races to ride, but I do believe that there is some sort of cultural difference that explains it. It just seems to matter more to the women.

    Interesting!  It could be that BECAUSE of the shorter funding on the women's side, it takes greater drive and determination, more singular intent, to get there? More grit?
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #5 on: February 23, 2016, 08:33 »
    Interesting!  It could be that BECAUSE of the shorter funding on the women's side, it takes greater drive and determination, more singular intent, to get there? More grit?

    To be clear, I don't think it is about the gender but rather the prevailing culture in the peloton. It isn't typical to see a lot of emotional expression among the men and even less interaction between each other at this level and point in the race but I would guess that has much to do with prevailing norms, whereas those women were shouting, screaming at each other, there was raw emotion. It was extraordinary to see.
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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 10:33 »


    Streetview Video



    @motorcycleMTNS on twitter
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 20:27 »


    Streetview Video



    @motorcycleMTNS on twitter

    Sh*t, the one year I decide not to go, Kasia is riding it.
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 20:39 »
    You know, we've talked about the women's races breaking thru that "glass ceiling" that is funding and media coverage. Anyone who's followed these discussions know that I've said the audience needs to come first, and the funding and coverage will then follow as an outgrowth of that. I've also said it is my opinion that the women would benefit by finding a single annual "big deal" race, like the TdF was in the 90's for men's cycling.

    But you know, coverage in general is so much more widespread and available today. So much so, that the women's organizers may be able to achieve the same ends by focusing on coverage of the 2nd tier events - like the Omloop, the TDU, ToUtah, and AToC come to mind as possibilities. And more of these spring classics. Does the Strade Bianche have a women's event? That is new and exciting enough an audience might be willing to follow just because that way they might get two exciting races a year instead of one.

    The women's CX worlds (that I saw) were more exciting to watch than the men's this year. Another lower "rung" possibility. And, actually, the women's cx series did get a fair amount of media coverage this past year. I can find almost as many replays online as for the men.

    Well, anyway, I'm just conversationally thinking. Out loud, as it were.
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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 21:04 »
    You know, we've talked about the women's races breaking thru that "glass ceiling" that is funding and media coverage. Anyone who's followed these discussions know that I've said the audience needs to come first, and the funding and coverage will then follow as an outgrowth of that. I've also said it is my opinion that the women would benefit by finding a single annual "big deal" race, like the TdF was in the 90's for men's cycling.

    But you know, coverage in general is so much more widespread and available today. So much so, that the women's organizers may be able to achieve the same ends by focusing on coverage of the 2nd tier events - like the Omloop, the TDU, ToUtah, and AToC come to mind as possibilities. And more of these spring classics. Does the Strade Bianche have a women's event? That is new and exciting enough an audience might be willing to follow just because that way they might get two exciting races a year instead of one.

    The women's CX worlds (that I saw) were more exciting to watch than the men's this year. Another lower "rung" possibility. And, actually, the women's cx series did get a fair amount of media coverage this past year. I can find almost as many replays online as for the men.

    Well, anyway, I'm just conversationally thinking. Out loud, as it were.

    strade yep - http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=7737.0

    and a little 1.1 race the next day as part of the lotto cup will be live streamed. there are issues I think the main one being they want 2 million viewers on Eurosport day 1

    Womens cx has more viewers than the mens in general now
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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #13 on: February 25, 2016, 15:46 »
    Yay via LasterketaBurua on twitter a profile

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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #14 on: February 26, 2016, 06:46 »
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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #16 on: February 26, 2016, 08:24 »
    That profile can't be right, since afaik the Molenberg is currently closed to traffic. That said, the published roadbook edition is more recent than that of the men's which doesn't include the Molenberg this year.
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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #18 on: February 27, 2016, 08:52 »
    That profile can't be right, since afaik the Molenberg is currently closed to traffic. That said, the published roadbook edition is more recent than that of the men's which doesn't include the Molenberg this year.

    Women do go over the Molenberg
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    Re: Omloop vrouwen elite
    « Reply #22 on: February 29, 2016, 12:00 »


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