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The Zaaf team races on, despite unpaid wages. Reports in the newspaper AS say that payments will be made to riders but we’ll see. It’s problematic for the riders here but also shows the gap between the World Tour and the rest where the top teams enjoy regulatory protection and oversight while the lesser ones have a much wilder time and this is much more pronounced for the women.

It’s worth remembering this is a Continental team, so it’s not subject to the World Tour rulebook (nor the Pro Continental rulebook, as the men have this extra tier) and so there’s less regulation and fewer protections for the riders. Conti team are overseen by their national federation, in this case Spain’s RFEC. One of the problems seems to have been is that the team hired extra riders in December which bumped up the wage bill but reports say the wage guarantee (think a bail bond for the salaries) wasn’t revised to match increased liability so even if the guarantee is drawn down it might not cover much. There’s a Catch-22 scenario where riders obviously don’t want to race without being paid, yet they need to race in order show performance to attract interest from other teams. Yet it’s not so simple as if wages are unpaid, the support at races is also lacking so just trying to perform is harder.

The list of differences are a whole blog post’s worth but it shows the massive gap between the World Tour and outside for the women’s teams. While the men’s squads raced to get into, or stay in, their World Tour last year largely for for sporting and marketing reasons, for women it’s very different as a team that moves up sees its riders granted all sorts of protections, guarantees and oversight. It means plenty for the sponsors too but the female athletes stand to gain or lose a lot depending on how their teams fare this year. The chart above shows the current standings as of Tuesday this week, the top-15 at the end of the season – above the red line – qualify and the teams with asterisks are the Conti squads eligible for promotion.

One rider that’s left already is Audrey Cordon-Ragot has moved to the Human Powered Health team, an ambitious squad to keep an eye on. HPH is a subsidiary brand of United Healthcare, currently the 11th biggest company by market capitalisation in the world.

One added disappointment of the Zaaf team’s demise is it associates the name of Zaaf with this negative outcome. Say “Zaaf” and you may well think of a tottering team with unpaid wages. Instead how aboutAbdel-Kader Zaaf? The Algerian cyclist was the French amateur champion in the 1940s and rode the Tour de France four times. Apparently the sponsor of the team Riad Belatreche is a grandson of Zaaf so he’s launched the team as a tribute. Nicknamed the Casseur de Baraque“, a phrase hard to translate literally so think “blowing the doors off” or “bringing the house down”, Zaaf was a regular attacker, the post-war Thomas De Gendt if you like, and also a Tour lanterne rouge. In 1950 in he collapsed in the heat of a Tour stage between Perpignan and Nîmes. Slumped by the road locals sprayed him with wine to revive him and he got up and rode off, only in the wrong direction and found the bunch coming towards him. An amusing anecdote and one that’s got several versions with embellishments and exaggerations. Anyway he was more than the guy who rode backwards and his name is certainly more than a flakey team.

Meanwhile in France – where all Conti teams have extra national rules to ensure everyone is salaried and effectively professional – today sees the first of three races in eastern France with the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs. There’s always been a Tour du Doubs race in this area and the organisers seem to have thought if they’ve got the peloton in the region for a weekend, they might as well have them for a long weekend and the teams are only too happy with three one day races for the points, although they’re each 1.1 and so “only” 125 points for the winner and so on. Today’s L’Equipe says it’s also part of Thibaut Pinot’s farewell tour – he lives nearby – and while he says he’s focussed on performance and the upcoming Giro d’Italia, he’s skipping the Tour of the Alps to race on home roads.

The Giro? If you want all the stage profiles on one page, see inrng.com/giro and there along with more info about the course and more. It’s a work-in-progress for now pending publication of the race rulebook with its scales for the points and mountains competitions and more but if you want lots of info on one page, it’s waiting.

One thing that’s harder to find ahead of the Giro is Remco Evenepoel’s training on Strava. He’s been sharing plenty but as his big appointment looms he’s not uploading his rides for public viewing any more. A team manager Klaas Lodewyck tells Het Nieuwsblad that “people know enough” by now. Perhaps he’s doing more specific efforts now, or just that he and his entourage want to keep a degree of mystery ahead of the race. Or save him from pressure as a rest day or a slow pace risks generating stories back back home.

Finally the transfer market’s busy. Christophe Laporte is happy at Jumbo-Visma with a report he’ll renew his contract and turned down a generous offer from Ag2r Citroën… despite Jumbo reportedly quitting the team so Laporte and team management alike must be pretty confident about the team’s future. Ag2r Citroën is clearly in the market for a big name rider now that Greg Van Avermaet’s contract is up and there’s beaucoup budget to spare. Do they try to tempt Julian Alaphilippe away from Quick-Step where Patrick Lefevere might be happy to unload him? Or make eye contact with Pavel Sivakov? That’s just one team in the news today. A lot of riders are out of contract across the peloton this year – before anyone thinks “sure, many are every year” last winter saw few big moves beyond Richard Carapaz, this year just has more churn – so it’s a defining period for the next couple of seasons. Soudal-Quickstep is at a crossroads needs a refresh for their classics team but 2024 is unlikely to see a big change. Who is Ineos’s best GC rider these days, if you answer Dani Martinez he’s on the market too. Anyway expect a lot of transfer talk in the news from now until the summer as teams find ways to take on the Fantastic Five.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Neil Friday, 14 April 2023, 1:03 pm

    A coupole of years ago, I think you declared yourself unwilling to comment on women’s racing either in general or on specifics simply due to lack of time to really know the subject. You’ve clearly got into it now (not just this post but some other event ones), so thank you for taking the time to bring your insight, analysis and way with words to the subject. It’s appreciated.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 14 April 2023, 3:01 pm

      Thanks, am ok covering the regulations and promotion/relegation but am more an ordinary fan when it comes to the riders so staying away from previews and such like for now.

      • Larry T Saturday, 15 April 2023, 8:49 am

        One might question why half of this post is about a women’s team’s financial difficulties when otherwise you post so little about the female side of the sport? Seems more than a few here don’t understand much about it anyway based on some of the comments here so why bother? My point is not to disparage women’s cycling in any way, but writing about it when news is bad and (mostly) ignoring it the rest of the time does nobody any good.

        • Saturday Saturday, 15 April 2023, 10:03 am

          To me the subject matter was the general state of things in pro cycling; a women´s team´s financial difficulties were a case in point, an illustration, of you like, of the differences that still exist.
          I seem to remember reading about the changes that took place at women´s World Toiur level. That was, of course, much better news than this, bnt the Ring’s point of view was the same.

        • Utah Saturday, 15 April 2023, 10:48 am

          Ease up Larry, a few sentences on a niche cycling blog isn’t going to harm women’s cycling

        • Heather Saturday, 15 April 2023, 11:42 pm

          Thank you, inrng, for doing this post on the stories around relegation, promotion, and the financial side of women’s cycling. Others, including me, are posting about races and women riders in other places, but this kind of insight is an important part of the sport and is done nowhere else – it’s a valuable addition. Keep up the good work!

    • Larry G Saturday, 15 April 2023, 9:42 am

      +1

    • HodH Saturday, 15 April 2023, 10:41 am

      Have also been enjoying the increase in your coverage of the women’s side of the sport. It seems you’re becoming more knowledgeable about the racing aspect (which seems to be getting easier to follow due to more tv coverage) so I hope as you do the amount you feel comfortable to write about also increases.

      I’ve been loving that so many classics have both women’s and men’s races. It’s double the fun! Imagine if it was the same for stage races

  • J Evan Friday, 14 April 2023, 3:05 pm

    As much as I dislike it, the reality is that if you ride on a French team – for whatever reason – you are much less likely to be successful. Look at how much Laporte has improved since his move.

    • J Evan Friday, 14 April 2023, 3:12 pm

      Are the French teams a bit backward when it comes to training techniques, etc.?

      • The Inner Ring Friday, 14 April 2023, 6:21 pm

        I don’t see it as a question of nationality / language, more budget and spending choices for each team, eg Groupama-FDJ has a budget of €20m and can afford its own sports science department, regular training camps in the Canaries etc. Cofidis has €11m and riders do their own altitude camps eg Guillaume Martin by himself on Etna or in the Jura, and this sum also funds a women’s team and a paracycling team to their credit.

        Laporte has done well but look at his last years at Cofidis, he was sixth at Roubaix etc, fourth in Gent-Wevelgem. I’m surprised that people are surprised by his results in the classics, although I was surprised he made Jumbo’s Tour team in his first year with them.

        • cp Friday, 14 April 2023, 6:58 pm

          there’s a piece in cycling news on salary caps and marc madiot talks about how french teams must comply with french labour law, which may be a contributing budgetary factor…

          • The Inner Ring Saturday, 15 April 2023, 12:48 am

            It’s a factor for sure, some teams shop around countries (eg quintessentially Belgian team Quickstep is actually registered in Luxembourg, UAE is actually Swiss etc) and it costs more for a French team to hire a rider than others (see http://inrng.com/2013/10/french-cyclings-taxing-problem/) but the flipside is it explains the longevity of these teams too, they know they can ride the Tour de France and in turn this helps them, there are four French WT teams now.

        • J Evan Friday, 14 April 2023, 7:37 pm

          I didn’t mean because of their nationality. I don’t know what the reasons are, but there are budgets, higher taxes, perhaps a greater adherence to traditional methods, membership of the MPCC. And there could be a variety of other reasons.

      • Larry T Saturday, 15 April 2023, 2:36 pm

        I doubt that, but it looks like their WT teams are all in MPCC
        https://www.mpcc.fr/en/uci-world-teams-en/
        while only 9 WT teams in total are members. Draw your own conclusions.

        • Thomas Saturday, 15 April 2023, 4:39 pm

          Add to that Jumbo-Visma is ex Rabobank team. Its history is quite shady to say the least.

  • rob md Friday, 14 April 2023, 3:46 pm

    Always a sad tragedy when a team folds, regardless of status.
    Alaphilippe to AG2R? Yep, I could see that happening. Remco needs a good wingman so Sivakov or Martinez could be a possibility. WvA, Roglic & Vingegaard are at Jumbo next year so Laporte’s staying seems sensible to me.
    The Pinot Farewll Tour has begun then – hope he can nab a win along the way.
    Ineos team to Tour of the Alps seem to have been told, whoever’s best, gets to be Giro team leader. Which sounds like to me, it’s every man jack for himself!

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 14 April 2023, 6:28 pm

      Leadership at Ineos is obviously not easy to the point that riders are going to some races pre-grand tour and giving it everything in order to get this status, at the risk of being tired come the big event… and that’s roughly what one of their riders has said (a point made here before too). It’s not the scientific, rational approach they like to cultivate.

      • Dawnstar Saturday, 15 April 2023, 2:16 pm

        Given none of the Ineos riders are going to win the overall – unless some sort of miracle happens like a dozen leaders of other teams all crashing out at once! – it feels fairly moot as to who is officially the team leader for any of the grand tours this year from an audience point of view.

      • rob md Saturday, 15 April 2023, 3:24 pm

        “not the scientific, rational approach” is a polite way of putting it. At least it will be entertaining viewing as 4 team mates fight each other to be best.

      • Frood Saturday, 15 April 2023, 6:15 pm

        I feel like the team sky/ineos “scientific, rational approach” was always something of a myth. They had a big budget and the strongest rider and team for the races they targeted. “Marginal gains” are something every elite level sports team are targeting.

        Lately, they haven’t fielded the top favourite in any big race since Bernal in the giro that he won.

  • BC Friday, 14 April 2023, 7:35 pm

    I will put my cards on the table before comment. I don’t watch female road racing!
    It seems to me that one of the problems has been the somewhat artificial push to grow women’s racing immediately rather than allow it to organically. One of the reasons I have little interest in women’s racing is because many of their major events have simply been latched on the back of existing WT races, there is only so much time available. If growth had been organic over time then maybe salaries would match their advertising value and new events could have ben created that make these events unique rather than simply poor add on’s.
    I’ll get my hat!

    • J Evan Friday, 14 April 2023, 7:50 pm

      I think without a ‘push’, any change would have been very, very slow, and rather than women’s cycling ‘growing organically’, it would simply have been kept where it was – largely by the men who dominate the sport and by the capitalists who are only interested in making money (from advertising, etc.).

      I do think – and have said previously – that women’s cycling would benefit from having their own major events that are separate from men’s events. I think Germany and the UK are ripe for a women’s grand tour. Hold it in June to avoid a clash with any men’s grand tour. I also think a women’s grand tour should be at least two weeks, ideally building to three weeks if two weeks goes well. There’s no reason a women’s grand tour should be one week long.

      If women’s races were longer, those who are reluctant to take women’s cycling seriously (not an accusation against you, BC) would probably be less reluctant.

      The women’s Ronde and Paris-Roubaix should be at least 200km long – 158km and 146km is ridiculous.

      The sexism of the UCI’s limits on how long a women’s race can be is baffling – I don’t know how they’re getting away with it.

      I infrequently watch women’s racing because I have limited time – same reason I don’t usually watch male stage races (other than grand tours) – and also because I don’t know the riders, which makes it less meaningful for me. When I do watch, it’s sometimes more exciting because riders are attacking all over the places, and sometimes this seems less interesting to me because it’s less tactical.

      • AK Friday, 14 April 2023, 10:25 pm

        I totally agree on the distance bit. Quit the sexism. Let them all ride the same distances.
        I don’t agree on the different races. I don’t see the point of creating new ones, unless it’s maybe because there are limits to how long you can block a road on a given day for a bike race. But I would be perfectly fine with every race having a men’s a and a women’s peloton crossing the same course on the same day, an hour apart or so, switching cameras between the races.

        • J Evan Friday, 14 April 2023, 11:35 pm

          I’ve nothing against there being some crossover – e.g. Ronde, Paris-Roubaix – but I think the women’s Giro and the women’s TdF will always be compared with the men’s.
          A women’s Tour of Germany, on the other hand, would be an entirely standalone thing. It would be ‘Germany’s grand tour’ rather than a female version of France’s grand tour.
          Also, it being special in that country (Germany or wherever) might greatly enhance the race’s popularity in that country.
          Of course, it might not work and get no interest at all. I don’t know Germany, but I can imagine this working pretty well in the UK (Germany just has a much better proximity to mountains with roads up them).

      • Derek Friday, 14 April 2023, 10:34 pm

        Can someone explain why the women’s races are so short? It can’t be endurance as the toughest ultra athletes in the world are women (or some of them)

        • chava Friday, 14 April 2023, 10:47 pm

          I don’t think I’ll ever watch women’s cycling if only for the crashes, which is harder for me to tolerate when there’s women involved. I guess that’s sexist. But obviously they should do the same or even longer distances as the best ultra runners ARE women by now.

        • The Inner Ring Saturday, 15 April 2023, 12:51 am

          Many reasons, the men’s races started a century ago when they had to ride from Paris to Roubaix, now the men don’t. Also the women’s races don’t get the same media coverage and political backing, there’s less TV airtime and it’s harder to close so many roads and as cited in the post above, there’s a big gulf between the riders at the top and the lesser teams. Plus men’s distances are shrinking back, there’s a convergence. Can’t see Paris-Roubaix and the Monuments going down but we’re seeing other distances cut, eg Tour stages.

          • DaveS Saturday, 15 April 2023, 7:13 am

            Do you think the inclusion of women’s racing actually just means the total available funding has to now go further, or is women’s racing increasing the level of funding in the sport overall?

          • The Inner Ring Saturday, 15 April 2023, 9:03 am

            I can’t imagine there’s much data that’s public. Anecdotally it seems additional, to reduce it down to a couple of sentences ASO walk into a town hall or regional government office and say to the politicians “you’re like equality, right”, they nod in reply, “excellent, then you we’ll sign you up for Le Tour and Le Tour des Femmes too”. It’s all early days though.

          • DaveRides Saturday, 15 April 2023, 1:12 pm

            And they can sell it to economics-focused towns as well:

            “You want to host the Tour, right? Sign up for a Tour Femmes stage and we’ll talk again next year.”

          • The Inner Ring Saturday, 15 April 2023, 1:14 pm

            DaveRides, yes and this happens with the Dauphiné, Paris-Nice already, now the Tour de France Femmes too. Places can host one of these as a test ahead of the Tour coming in a year or two after.

      • noel Saturday, 15 April 2023, 3:00 pm

        nice idea on Germany and the UK, but didn’t the Women’s Tour just fold for this year due to lack of sponsors? So some way to go it seems.

        On the distance question I think they should ride for approx the same time, rather than a particular distance. For example MVDP took 5.5hrs to win PR this year, the women’s race averaged 39.1kph… so their race should be approx 215km for parity.

        I do remember Lizzie Deignan making some comment along the lines of ‘please no races longer than 4hrs… they are so boring to train for and ride…’

    • gabriele Friday, 14 April 2023, 9:29 pm

      Now, that’s essentially what had happened from the 80s to the 90s… before cycling made some huge steps backwards, which couldn’t be prevented at all by such an approach, which I also appreciated quite a lot, by the way, but… ops!
      So, why refusing to try a different approach now? Figures say it’s working. Just check audience stats for the recently held cobble races. Not to speak of the huge results of last women TDF.

      • oldDAVE Saturday, 15 April 2023, 4:20 pm

        I honestly can’t believe some of comments that kick off the conversation above for a few different reasons but it’s a credit to INRNG’s blog and the respect of commenters that it’s fairly civilised and I won’t ruin that. Enjoyed Gabriele, J Evan, AK and others adding in some sense…

        It just seems bizarre to not watch something and then think you have any basis to offer opinions and solutions for something you clearly have no interest in? It’s no wonder men often get called out for mansplaining.

        I’m really happy to seen women’s cycling written about here and have been enjoying it’s growth in recent years after I noticed repeatedly the quality of women’s Olympic races was often superior to the mens.

        I do think though: if you don’t watch women’s cycling then don’t comment.

        Whatever reason you reach at for your lack of interest just sounds like trying to convince yourself there’s some sort of logic, and if it weren’t ‘artificial push’ then it would be some other cliche, when the truth is you don’t care, which is fine… but any solutions you reach for problems you see (despite hilariously not watching) are not only likely useless but sound exceptionally arrogant because again… you don’t watch!

        To talk about organic growth in female sport is pretty much a joke in itself seeing as men not only banned most women’s sports in the early part of last century but also created a social climate that made it near impossible for women to take part/have careers in any sport. To now talk about organic growth alongside any male sport which has over a hundred years of history, fanbase evolution, audience tailoring etc is farcical.

        As someone who now does watch women’s cycling though…

        I do not believe there is some grand artificial push and dislike the conspiratorial tone of the comment, as in truth it’s camouflaged put down. If there is any push it’s the least women’s cyclists deserve after they’ve not only had to fight harder to get where they are than men (so calling it balance would be a fairer term) but also the aforementioned historic imbalance of female sport make organic growth far harder.

        Again as a watcher… I also just feel women’s cycling is going from strength to strength, despite the unfortunate Zaaf story (and I’m sure there will be more bumps in the road) there are more races, easier ways to watch them, more personalities, etc etc so the first and only thing we should do is watch and let the women leading decide what happens next rather than patronisingly telling them what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

        As Gabriele points out TDFfemmes/Roubaix etc were successful in terms of audience stats, so what’s the problem?

        Personally I love when races are back to back as it’s easier to watch and builds a bigger event feeling around the weekends. Over time I see it bringing new fans to mens cycling as well as women’s – we should be thanking them. As far as I can see there is only one sport where women (despite pay gaps still) are close to the same fame as men and that’s tennis where unified tournaments are the standard. Cycling has different complications and hurdles so it will be interesting to see how things play out (there are good arguments to both sides on this) but right now overall the women’s tour is going in the right direction so hopefully in time there will be fewer stories like Zaaf.

        On distance – this is an interesting question.

        I recently thought similar that distance should be the same as men and it was sexist not to be – before I knew of the road closure issues etc. After seeing last years TDF Femmes I also realised there’s more to it – on the final climb no one could match AVV but the peloton as whole felt on its knees aside from her and a few others which brought the standard of racing down. It’s again down to historic sexism and no fault of the women riding that the standard of the pro peloton isn’t up to the men’s as they do not have the same support, pay etc etc but it does leave you with two choices – either you enforce distance and wait for the gap to close but end up with poor racing as only a few (from the most privileged countries/backgrounds) can train to the necessary level OR you have shorter races with more riders able to go full gas from start to finish so you put on better races that connect with more fans?

        Given that it’s important the show is good to compete with men’s racing and other women’s sports for attention I would favour the later in confidence that as pay and sponsorship improve (partly because of quality racing) distance will hopefully equal out with the men over time. It can appear sexist on the surface but in truth is likely smart as fewer people would watch dry racing with the same person winning repeatedly.

        (Just noticed KevinK and Chris’ comments below – ‘I’d be surprised if someone who said they didn’t watch women’s cycling watched women’s cycling.’ Very good. Hard to know what to say BC, if you don’t feel understood or listened to then express yourself better, we can only go off what you write).

        • BC Saturday, 15 April 2023, 6:51 pm

          oldDave. It’s a shame that you like Kevin don’t appear to have taken the point being made in my post, rather than launch into somewhat biased and unnecessary criticism based simply on the fact that I don’t watch women’s racing. You don’t have to watch to understand the present model. I repeat my point. That rather than simply adding women’s events onto existing men’s WT events. It might have been a better model to have tried to create new events and grown more slowly to ensure long term stability, individuality and distinct advertising window that would endure the test of time . I am sure there are many other models. I am not trying to change anything, just suggesting that there might be better and more sustainable models rather than easy and quick fixes. I am all for women’s events, I never said I wasn’t, despite your conclusions, I simply don’t watch, like tomorrows Amstel Gold, two events at once. I don’t have the time in one day. I like to watch an event like the Amstel develop tactically throughout, until the final. I am sure I am not the only one.

          • J Evan Saturday, 15 April 2023, 7:02 pm

            One definite improvement is showing the women’s races separately. It used to be infuriating to be watching the men’s Ronde and then for a while they would show you what was happening in the women’s race. It was nothing but paying lip service to the idea of showing women’s racing, while at the same time it interrupted the race you’d chosen to watch (I too like to watch the entirety of some races) to show you random bits of a different race, and because these were just random bits, it meant nothing to you.
            So, there I disagree with AK’s preference for ‘every race having a men’s a and a women’s peloton crossing the same course on the same day, an hour apart or so, switching cameras between the races’. Show every race separately.

          • KevinK Sunday, 16 April 2023, 9:46 am

            A lot of the comments here, and responses to those comments, are along the lines of “you missed my point, so now I will repeat it,” when in fact the person responding simply disagrees. I disagree with you, but my point (also made by several others), is that if you don’t watch women’s cycling for whatever reason then it’s absurd to advise on how women’s cycling should be reorganized. It’s a very simple idea. I didn’t make any assumptions, and I have no bias against you. If I started a post saying “I don’t watch Cricket, but I might watch it if they did x, y, and a” then I think the average cricket fan would have a similar response.

            OldDave gave a detailed and thoughtful counter argument to all your points, and you still accused him of missing your point, and repeated your original point, which was quite obvious and clearly stated.

            Women’s cycling has grown at a glacial pace until very recently. Your complaint that pro cycling for women is being forced and rushed reminds me of the general antipathy and apathy towards the women’s movement in the US in the 1970s, which fortunately resulted in Title IX legislation. If not for that legislation, the “organic” and gradual entry of women into traditional male employment roles would likely continue to have been stymied indefinitely. It really comes down to a chicken and egg situation. If you want more chickens, you need more eggs. But you don’t get eggs without chickens. If you want lots of fans (and money) for women’s racing, you need great women’s racing. If you want great women’s racing you need great women’s races, and strong women’s teams. But if the fans aren’t there because the sport basically doesn’t exist except on a spotty, mostly amateur basis, then none of the rest can happen.

            As for your specifics, there’s one thing you’ve repeatedly offered as a “solution” that I think is obviously wrong-headed – that women’s racing should have their own events, unconnected to the men’s races and men’s calendar. Really? You think that would make women’s cycling more attractive and engaging and understandable? It would do the opposite. Our beloved sport is about the most Byzantine, confusing, history-based, and idiosyncratic sport on earth. I grew up overseas and without TV for much of my youth, and when I came back to the US in grade school I quickly learned American football, baseball, and baseball from other kids. Within a short time I was playing and watching those sports. When I became interested in cycling later, it was like taking an esoteric graduate school course to learn the context, very basic history, strategies, etc.

            One of the key touchstones for getting into this sport as a fan is the clear understanding that there are a few very important and historical races that serve as tent poles for the entire racing season. Once you have a sense of those races, you have context for the next tier of races, and then the next (if you want to go that deep, which most don’t). Serious fans share with casual fans a special interest in those key races. When a new race is formed, there’s usually a shrug of the shoulders. SB is the rare race that was formed de novo and quickly achieved real cache (mostly because it imitated supposed historical races). Your proposal that women’s peloton start from scratch, with their own races unconnected to the vast and rich history of men’s racing, is a virtual guarantee that women’s cycling will remain in a separate-but-equal ghetto indefinitely.

          • oldDAVE Sunday, 16 April 2023, 11:57 am

            Gabriele already replied, as I highlighted, noting that many new races have been a success including Roubaix and the TDF Femmes. There will of course be bumps in the road but in general the women’s tour is going from strength to strength. Your point was heard, was answered, but you have not then had the self reflection to realise why it’s not only wrong but also arrogant and invalid.

            Of course any reader will fixate on your admission of not watching but then having an opinion because it’s a standard misogynistic stance and reveals your thinking before you’ve said anything else – just take a moment to think of every aspect of female life men have opinions on but no experience of that they then exert control over?

            It’s odd that you not realise terms like ‘artificial push’ or ‘organic’ are painfully cliche in arguments like this? You hear similar arguments against all marginalised or oppressed groups – ‘why can’t they just do X like everyone else’ etc etc… I would expect most women/women’s cyclists would either be insulted or roll their eyes reading those words – because you’re effectively saying – ‘why can’t you grow organically’ and conveniently forgetting a century of prejudice that got us here in the first place and continues now?

            The point is – you think despite not watching that you can have an opinion and that’s the problem. It’s pure arrogance and stupidity, the type women regularly have to point out and almost the basis of all feminism – it’s incredibly cliche and yet you then moan about people not hearing your point despite your point being answered and being wrong…

            Turn and ask any woman in your life why your post is so daft and maybe they can explain better than me. Although both KevinK and Chris summed this up with more panache and shorter than me and you still didn’t get it so… I guess there’s little hope if you still don’t get it.

          • oldDAVE Sunday, 16 April 2023, 11:58 am

            (apologies, I hadn’t seen KevinK had replied already and said the same, thanks)

    • Marcel Sagel Saturday, 15 April 2023, 7:07 pm

      What I like about women’s cycling is that the races are often less formulaic and therefore more exciting. But it seems as the women’s peloton becomes more experienced, some of the familiar patterns become more frequent.
      Meanwhile men’s races are again becoming less formulaic and more exciting because the new generation of stars (MvdP, Pogi, Remco) refuse to stick to the formula!
      It’s a good time to be a cycling fan, and I’ll happily watch whatever race is on the telly, male or female.

      • oldDAVE Sunday, 16 April 2023, 12:00 pm

        Very much agree. Great point.
        It’s a golden era.

  • KevinK Friday, 14 April 2023, 8:57 pm

    I love it when people who aren’t fans of something, and who have little knowledge and time invested, assume their ignorance is meaningful to those who do enjoy that thing. Imagine if an American football fan or motor sports fan came on here and led off with “I’m not a fan of men’s cycling, and I don’t have time to learn about, but here’s what’s wrong with your sport…”

    • BC Friday, 14 April 2023, 10:53 pm

      Kevin.
      It’s just a personal view, no more no less and was intended to be constructive and open some informed dialog. Please don’t assume you know about my knowledge of the sport or time spent following the sport. You might be more than a little surprised!

      • Chris Saturday, 15 April 2023, 8:15 am

        I’d be surprised if someone who said they didn’t watch women’s cycling watched women’s cycling.

    • Chris Saturday, 15 April 2023, 8:14 am

      Gold.

  • gabriele Friday, 14 April 2023, 9:26 pm

    You may want to check again the dates and weekdays for the Giro from the Bergamo stage onward. By the way, that stage had some not so minor change, although far from the finish line, with a short but steep uphill dash through Sambusita, midway through what originally was the Selvino descent. No big impact, I guess, because it’s still too long a way before the next serious Roncola climb.

    • The Inner Ring Saturday, 15 April 2023, 9:22 am

      Good spot for the Bergamo stage alteration, not as significant as last year’s change for the Genova stage although that made things easier, this adds more climbing and has a harder descent. Fixed those rogue dates too, thanks.

  • 150 Watts Saturday, 15 April 2023, 5:58 am

    Not sure why you include 2022 points in your chart. Jayco, as an example, are going out the back this year but the fact isn’t obvious with this presentation.

    • The Inner Ring Saturday, 15 April 2023, 8:58 am

      Because promotion and relegation is based across two seasons.

      • Armchair Cyclist Saturday, 15 April 2023, 11:49 am

        Flip round the 2022 and 2023 bars and it’s a lot easier to see who is performing this year while still also retaining the total which is key.

        • Potomac Saturday, 15 April 2023, 1:29 pm

          Yes! That’s how you do it.

  • BC Sunday, 16 April 2023, 10:25 am

    Sorry Kevin. No real comment as like some others you simply don’t want to engage in the substantive question of a different and perhaps better model for the women’s race programme.
    You’d rather push the somewhat obscure narrative that you are required to watch a sport as a requirement to have a view on it’s well being. I have a view on plate tectonic models, but that doesn’t require me to go down a subduction zone or inside a volcano!
    Maybe you are right, time will tell.

  • BC Sunday, 16 April 2023, 12:47 pm

    Old Dave.
    I was wondering when the cancel culture use of ‘misogynist’ would be throw up to halt informed discussion. You clearly like making misinformed and rather demeaning judgements about people you don’t know. As a result your lengthy, rambling posts carry no weight with me. I’m out of this set of posts as they are going around in circles with a few posters who simply want to follow the present narrative, without even considering it’s possible shortfalls and potential areas of sustainability and growth.
    I hope for the sake of women’s cycle sport you are correct. BUT British Cycling has recently illustrated that the management and direction of our sport is not always what one would hope.

  • The Inner Ring Sunday, 16 April 2023, 12:48 pm

    The comments will close as people are bickering with no obvious conclusion in sight, it just eats up bandwidth.

    It’s not the first time people misunderstand each other on the internet and won’t be the last.