Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why the Tour of Utah should add a pro women's race!

Because Vroomen (one of the guys who started Cervélo bikes) says so. Well, that's not the only reason, but it is a good one. Vroomen, in an interview with CNN on the Garmin-Cervelo merger, made the case for men's pro teams to support women's teams as well, and even argued that the UCI should support, even mandate, such support. From the article:

"It's quite embarrassing that most big bike companies don't support a women's team," Cervelo chief Gerard Vroomen said by telephone from the Eurobike trade show in Germany. "They'll gladly sell bikes to women, but the sport itself seems quite difficult for them.

"First of all, women's racing is really fun. And it's a matter of respect. If I had my way, the UCI [cycling's international governing body] would order Pro Tour teams to have women's teams, and order Pro Tour races to hold a women's race. Problem solved. It really could be done at little cost with a couple of tweaks."

But that's not the only reason i would love to see the Tour of Utah add a women's race. I have to admit my reasoning is a little seflish. See, i'd love to watch my BFF race right here on her own home turf. T-dub is fast and excels at climbing. I love watching guys try to keep up with her on climbs, and then eventually blow up and let her go as their egos drop with their cadence (i stopped trying to keep up with her long ago). It pans out the same way almost every time without fail. T-dub moving along at her climbing pace catches and passes some unsuspecting guy. The guy, realizing he just got passed by a girl, inevitably will jump on his pedals and sprint past her then put in a good effort to drop her. T-dub just keeps up her constant pace, reels the guy back in, and passes him again. Depending on how much the guy has left, he will try to pass her again, jump on her wheel, or just admit defeat and slow back down to his usual pace. Ultimately T-dub usually beats them to the top of the climb and leaves them gasping and trying to repair their egos.

She did great in the hill stages of the Tour of Walla Walla, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, and the Elkhorn Classic, taking 1st place in the climbing stages of each, and taking 1st place in the overall GC at the Elkhorn Classic. She also held her own at Nationals competing against the best women in the nation and keeping pace up the short, brutal Archie Briggs climb, placing 9th overall and 2nd in the U23 division. I have no doubt that she would do well, especially racing on the climbs that she trains on every week if the Tour of Utah were to add a women's race.

In addition, she's improved her overall racing and handling skills racing in Europe this summer. She had the opportunity to race with the U.S. Women's team in Italy and France and then for the Italian team Chirio Forno D'Assolo. It's a big jump to go from racing with a field of 15 women in Utah races, or even 50-60 women at regional races, to racing in Europe with fields of 200 with some of the top women in the world, but T-dub did great and improved with every race, even placing 10th GC at the Tour de Charente Maritime where her team took the team classification as well.

But T-dub is not the only strong woman cyclist from our home state. Alisha Welsh, now riding for the Peanut Butter and Co. Twenty 12 team is also an amazing climber and we're the home to other strong riders like Tiff Pezzulo, Nicole Evans, and Nicole Waansgard. It would be great for all these women to race before a home crowd.

Additionally, with the positive press the Tour of Utah has received, they're in a position to build on this by taking Vroomen's suggestions and adding a women's race. It would be a great addition to the women's NRC calender, filling in the space after the Cascade Classic that is now, effectively, the end of women's NRC racing here in the U.S.

So, come on Tour of Utah, let's give our local girls a stage to show what they've got and bring the level of cycling up across the board.

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