Some more highlights (and cheap laughs) from the 2010 Women's season

As 2010 is now over I really can’t put off giving you my season highlights any longer. Pigeons has already given us the nice sensible version of stuff you ought to know about if you are swotting up for a test or job interview, so I thought I’d join in with my collection of moments to make you put your hand up to hide a cheap snigger if you ever meet someone in the peloton and they tell you that it is entirely a deadly serious business carried out be skilled and highly responsible professionals who treat matters seriously all the time.

Manel Lacambra, ex coach of Cervelo and the US is probably one of the most admired DS’s in the game, so it’s lucky for the US team that he went out to beforehand to check the course at the Tour of New Zealand. So he could warn them to beware of that ditch on the left. The one with the tractor and minibus tracks leading in to it.

That’s from his own You Tube account which is well worth a little explore. Bonus kudos for anyone who can explain the joke that he and Ronny Lauke from HTC find so funny.

There’s a great story about Groucho Marx told by one of his kids of going out for a trip in the car and breaking down on a level crossing. On seeing a train heading towards them, Groucho’s response was to check his watch and say "Ah, good. The 11:30 is dead on time." The women’s peloton has its own Groucho in Aussie rider Bridie O’Donnell, and thanks to Twitter we all get to share her sense of humour. And so it seemed entirely appropriate that when she somehow got lost on the Ronde van Drenthe, she should ask directions from a male version of herself. "There’s a war going on on that side." And I think that in the Dutch commentary I can definitely hear the words "pissed off Australische dame."

"On the morning of May 9th, the gentle rain witnessed the grand opening of the UCI Women Road World Cup Tour of Chongming Island 2010 at Chongming Public Stadium." Now why don’t more race reports begin like that. Something nice and literary that makes you expect it to continue with references to Patriarch's Ponds and Anna spilling the oil. And from the few photos I’ve found on the incredibly hard to navigate web-site they also have the greatest podium ceremony around. After all, who else brings a dragon on stage? A Dragon. And if you look carefully down the right hand side of that page you will also see a small video from 2009. Small in any sense of the meaning small that you can think of, but maybe that means we’ll eventually get something from 2010.

One of my favourite things about women’s racing is that even though there’s not much money around, most of the riders make the best of things and find ways of making things work. So while Brad Wiggins was out with his team of crack nutritionists and fleet of swanky buses scouting out the climbs of the Tour de France, Lotto rider Ash Moolman filled a rucksack with Lycra and carried her bike onto the train to do her Giro recce, presumably apologising in basic Italian to all the nonnas that bashed their shins on the pedals as they tried to squeeze past. I had half a mind to steal the photo at the top of this page, but instead why don’t you go and read the whole story, plus all the other interesting stuff on her Femme Velo blog. Although those of you at present or recently snowed in might feel a little less less of the Christmas spirit towards her when you read that husband Carl’s solution to dealing with winter weather is, erm, to make some refreshing Pimms.

Following the then rumours that the Tour de l’Aude would be cancelled, one of the supposed reasons was that all their volunteers were getting a bit old, and that no new faces were appearing. Perhaps that explains some of the strange prizes given at the end of some races. So hats off to American rider Tayler Wiles for her good-natured and diplomatic description of this award from the Tour de Charante-Maritime:

Most "graceful" award: So at one of the races I did they called up three girls, announced a bunch of stuff I couldn't understand, and gave them all flowers. I knew these girls weren't in the top 5 so I asked one of them what they had won. She told me it was the most "graceful" award! She laughed pretty hard, as did I, because we both knew that what they mean by most "graceful rider" is really the "hottest" rider hah! The three girls that went up were definitely some of the prettiest in the peloton.

That’s from the great blog Tayler writes. She’s riding for Peanut Butter & Co next year so I hope they get her to write lots more stuff.

My Macchiavellian side wants to think that this was a cunning Italian cunning ploy to help their favourite win. During the time trail at the Giro di Toscana, when Noemi Cantele crossed the finish line it was all nice and clear like this

yet when Marianne Vos’ turn came, then suddenly that high arch had mysteriously deflated.

Coincidence?

And finally for a couple of seasonal links, apparently getting rid of Emma Silversides for Christmas means no dead kittens. Do we want that one explained? Or shall we not spoil the mystique.

And because that’s not a happy image to finish with, did you know that Luxembourg rider Nathalie Lamborelle rides ‘cross on a pink bike.

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