Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armitstead were all over the news before this Sunday's track Revolution. Read their thoughts on British Cycling, the UCI, and how much they both love cycling - and find out how to watch the Revolution this week!
There was a lot of UK media about the Dutch v GB women's racing at this weekend's Revolution track event - and especially the mini-omnium race between Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armitstead. If you're in the UK,you can watch the Revolution on Wednesday 5th December, on ITV4 at 8-9pm GMT - and I will lay money that streams will pop up - check back to the comments here on Wednesday to see what we can find.
The media flurry has given us some great opportunities to hear more from Vos and Armitstead. Here's an interview with both of them from the Guardian. I was very interested - but sadly not surprised - in what Armitstead had to say about British Cycling:
Armitstead, as always, will find her own way. "People don't realise I don't have a coach. All my inner strength and confidence comes from me. It was my first Olympics and my first big test. I ended up being surprised to be there [racing Vos] and surprised by how good I was. Now I know what I can do."
Why doesn't she have a coach – when British men, from Bradley Wiggins down to the least celebrated young male rider, are given everything they need? "It's circumstantial," she says. "In women's road racing we don't have a specific coach in Britain. I'd have to work with a track coach and I would struggle with the approach of certain coaches."
There has been talk that British cycling may finally set up a women's road team. "Yep," Armitstead says, sighing politely. "If something was put together it would be because of media and political pressure. They would have to be seen not to be sexist and to be forward-thinking. But, in my opinion, there would be no passion from the employer. You want to work for someone who wants the best from you – and who is interested in what you can achieve. Right now I'm far happier where I am rather than riding for someone who has me forced upon them. I think the staff [at GB Cycling] are quite traditional. It would have to be an infusion of new staff to run the women's side."
There's so much more really interesting stuff in there - including quotes from both Armitstead and Vos about sprinting against each other at the Olympics, and how much they both love the sport - click through and read it.
And Marianne Vos has a bigger profile and more of an interview on the BBC Sport website - Marianne Vos: Is she the world's greatest cyclist? What I love about this is the characteristic Vos passion and love for cycling, and her positivity and optimism that even when men's cycling is in a dark place, that can work in women's cycling's favour. Check out these comments:
"We showed how beautiful cycling can be if you race clean and race with passion. We don't have that big platform every year and you have to take the opportunity when you have it. I'm really happy people were able to see that."
"Of course I'm not happy with where the sport is now but the women can help show the whole of cycling a different sport to the world," says the 25-year-old.
"The last few years the UCI (cycling's governing body) wasn't really interested in putting any effort into women's cycling. But men's cycling is having a hard time while women's cycling is running smoothly. So now the UCI can do a lot.
"The traditional view of cycling as a men's sport is a hard thing to change but now it is the moment. The UCI can help us with asking the media to give us more coverage, the organisers of men's races to put on more women's races and the biggest men's teams to add women's squads."
It's fantastic to see the great personalities of these total superstars in our mainstream media. I can't wait to see how they raced against each other too - Vos with Ellen van Dijk, Vera Koedooder, Nina Kessler and Amy Pieters representing Dutch women's racing; Armitstead supported by two Junior World Champions in Lucy Garner (road) and Elinor Barker (ITT), Katie Colclough and world and Olympic Team Pursuit champion Joanna Rowell. I can't imagine it was anything other than explosive!