Women’s racing both now and then

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Do you want to contribute to Mailbag, a regular feature of VeloNews.com? Here’s how:

  • Keep it short. And remember that we reserve the right to edit for grammar, length and clarity.
  • Include your full name, hometown and state or nation.
  • Send it to webletters@insideinc.com.

Dear Readers,
In a recent edition of the mailbag reader David Wade expressed frustration that he had wasted time reading about a women’s bike race, due to the fact that our headline failed to distinguish winner Shelly Evans’ name from that of men’s reigning world road champion Cadel Evans.

To say the least, the letter generated more than a handful of responses. Unable to post all of them, we offer a representative selection. – Editor

All the work, less credit
Dear Velo,
I’ve been told by my better half (Luise Keller, who also rides for Team HTC Columbia) to read David Wade’s letter on your site.

Well, pretty sad story about that guy’s views on the matter. The way I look at it is that I know what we men go through during a race, with bad weather, killing ourselves on the mountains, risking our lives on the descents, etc.

When I think about it I don’t like the idea of my girlfriend going through so much pain and torture. But she does, with a bunch of other women who race their bikes, just like we do.

They do what we do without the added attention, pay and equipment; they just don’t get so much credit for what they do. Your posting coverage of their races is a good thing. I for one enjoy reading about it and I know when I go to the races and meet my teammates, they always ask me how the women are going and when I get into talks with them you find out a lot of male cyclists also follow the women’s racing, too.

Wie auch immer (as my German girlfriend says).

Adam Hansen
Team HTC-Columbia

Too much women’s cycling? Try not enough
Dear Editors,
I read with disgust the recent letter to the editor of VeloNews from David on women’s cycling. I can’t believe that he even found an article about women’s cycling. I picked up the latest issue of VeloNews, flipped through it for women’s articles, didn’t find any, and threw it away. Women’s cycling represents the purest form of cycling.

These women aren’t racing their bikes for money; they are motivated by their true passion for the sport, and for some, a chance to represent their countries at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. They care about their communities and they are terrific role models for children and ambassadors for their sponsors. They make incredible sacrifices for the goal of being the best that they can be.

Their sport deserves more attention, not less.

Linda Jackson
1996 Olympian
Proud founder of Team TIBCO, women’s pro cycling team

Does he have issues?
Thanks for your open and candid letter regarding your feelings on women’s racing. It’s clear that you’ve had your feelings hurt out there on the race course when girls like me and my friends enter the men’s races and drop you.

Just know that we’re here, people do want to read about us and you’ll get dropped again. Wow, considering how much nastiness you’re carrying around with you, it much really suck to be you.

Traci Brown
3xUS Collegiate Cycling Champion
Former US Team Member

Women in the peloton
Dear VeloNews,
I would like to thank you for your coverage of women’s cycling so far for the 2010 season. Women’s cycling is important to me and I would like to strongly encourage more coverage of their races to help expand the fan base and introduce these women to a bigger audience.

These women are excellent ambassadors of the sport, incredible role models and are phenomenal bike racers who work every bit as hard as the men. Please be reminded that there are thousands of us out there who want to see more coverage of our favorite women’s riders and teams.

Sarah Dwiggins

… and what about that Armstrong woman?
Dear Velo,
Please don’t change your coverage of any women’s events, UCI or others, because of a confused person. I follow all of your coverage under your headlines, and have never been confused on names of male or female athletes.

I am a coach, and have managed some very successful women’s programs in a super competitive region of southern California, and have never been misled by an athlete with a same name as a male.

Personally, I think this was the “straw,” for Mr. Wade, since he thinks Lance won the 2008 individual time trial Olympic Gold medal and the 2006 and 2009 ITT World Championships!

Tim Ferreira

More Kristin, less Lance
By opening his letter with “I don’t mean to be a jerk or a sexist,” at least Mr. Wade had the self-awareness to note how his request would sound.

At the risk of being tossed into the same mud pond with him, I’d like to make a related request, but for not quite the same reason. I too have found it mildly annoying when a headline/link is unclear as to whom it refers, but in my case the annoyance came from lack of distinction between L. Armstrong (in whose exploits I am completely uninterested) and K. Armstrong (in whom I am interested).

For me, the issue isn’t about women’s vs. men’s cycling, it’s about which athletes I am following. Perhaps you could include a first initial in headlines about athletes who share a surname with another? Imagine a headline, “Armstrong to direct squad under new title sponsor.” If you didn’t already know that K. Armstrong was hired for the PBC/2012 team that could be confusing.

On the other hand, if this is the worst anyone can say about VeloNews, you all are doing pretty well. Keep up the great coverage.

David Neale-Lorello
Rockville, Maryland

And speaking of women
Dear Velo,
Might VeloNews somewhere in its archives have the names of the USA women’s team that rode the 1985 women’s Tour de France. I rode with a gal named Mary today (and she’s still a very strong rider) whose maiden name back then began with a “V” and who said that she rode that race as well as many others.

The gang I ride with here in central Florida at The Villages would love to look up her palmares. If you draw a blank, any ideas where we might find some info?

Many thanks,

Bill Nee

Hello Bill,
Tour Cycliste Féminin, (now the Grande Boucle) was first held in 1984 when the race was won by American Marianne Martin (who later served as an advertising director for VeloNews, by the way). The first few editions of the Tour Cycliste Féminin were contested by members of national – rather than trade – teams. We do recall that the U.S. team in 1985 included Mary Verrando, now Mary Higgins. Perhaps that’s the person you’re thinking about. – Editor

In praise of Contador
I like Alberto’s aggressive style. I hate it when a guy just sits on the back of the race hoping no one makes a move.

Joe Drivere

The grandest of grand tours?
What ever happened to that crazy Tour of America with 200 mile stages and million dollar prizes that I read about a year or two ago? They have a web site showing a 2010 debut but the info is sparse, and really over the top, with projections like 25-35 million spectators and a “conservatively estimated” $500 million windfall to “little communities.”

It’s clearly a pipe dream but it’s kind of fun to follow their naiveté. How about a follow up article?

Jeff Schatz
Columbus, Ohio

Oh yeah. We first heard about the idea at the 2007 Interbike trade show. It was originally slated for 2008, then delayed until 2009 … and now 2010. We’ve not heard much, other than what we have read on the website of promoter Frank Arokiasamy. We agree, it may be time for a follow-up. – Editor