Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 - videos, links & things we love

Wow. Just wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. The words "game-changer" were thrown around a lot about the first ever Friends Life Women's Tour (of Britain!) and it really did feel like that, with superb racing and Olympic-levels of support. Of course, I'm a bit of a biased observer, because I saw the race from the front race controller's car, while I was running the live blog and twitter - but here are the videos, blogs and STUFF I liked - and please do add things you've seen to the comments.

There are 5 hour-long programmes on the ITV Player that may be geo-restricted to the UK - and they'll only be up for a month.  If you're not in the UK, try using Hola or Tunnelbear, set to the UK - or a VPN, of course!  The same goes for the BBC reports. All the ITV programmes are in a playlist here, and I'll put a link under each stage - and the BBC ones contain a lot of different interviews.

You can follow the race live blog, for how it unfolded, with tons of roadside photos - you can look at it by most recent first, or oldest first - and there is some amazing coverage, interviews and photo galleries from Cycling Weekly (their FLWT portal), Total Women's Cycling (their portal) and from VeloUk, whose Larry Hickmott was on the camera bike every day.  And of course I adore all the coverage on Neutral Service - especially John's interview with Sjekkie Vos!

I really love this project - Tape du Tour, making little sound-pieces roadside - a mix of interviews with race folk and spectators, and sound-pictures of what it's like.  Follow their website and twitter, it's excellent.

And omne and I talked all about the race on our women's cycling podcast - have a listen!

Update - want to know more about this great photo? Read Tim's blog about his family's day at the race (including how lovely the riders wer, and how it feels knowing Marianne Vos has seen his kitchen table!)

Here's the BBC video following the British Matrix-Vulpine team through the race.

Pre-race press conference with Marianne Vos, Emma Johansson, Lizzie Armitstead and Giorgia Bronzini

All the full results

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Stage 1: Oundle to Northampton, 93.8km

Hour-long video from ITV4

Little start-line interviews:

Brief highlights of the stage:

Rabobank-Liv's view of the crowds

and Rabo's Stage 1 highlights

Wiggle Honda's Stage 1 film

Emma Johansson post-win interview with BBC journalist Nick Hope:

Celebrating!

Stage results

1.   Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, 2:28:17
2.   Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, s.t.
3.   Hannah Barnes (GBr) UnitedHealthcare, s.t.
4.   Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon, s.t.
5.   Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, s.t.
6.   Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain, s.t.
7.   Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, s.t.
8.   Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
9.   Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, s.t.
10. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Specialized-lululemon, s.t.

Wiggle-Honda boss Rochelle Gilmore's audio review of Stage 1, with BBC journalist Nick Hope

BBC report from Stage 1 - Marianne Vos' Strava file - the Tape du Tour sound-pieces from road-side at Stage 1

ORICA-AIS race report with a ton of photos and Emma Johansson quotes - My report on Women's Cycling Magazine's site - stage report on race site - Piece from the Independent newspaper on the crowds

Watching the tv:

***

Stage 2 - Hinckley to Bedford, 118.5km

Hour-long video from ITV4

Brief highlights:

Rabo-Liv Stage 2

Wiggle Honda's Stage 2

Stage 2 results

1.   Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, 3:02:02
2.   Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana-BePink, s.t.
3.   Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, + 00:06
4.   Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, s.t.
5.   Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain, s.t.
6.   Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, s.t.
7.   Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
8.   Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Lointek, s.t.
9.   Aude Biannic (Fra) Lointek, s.t.
10. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products, .s.t.

Marianne Vos' audio interview after her win (Nick Hope) - Rochelle Gilmore's audio review - Marianne Vos' Strava file - the Tape du Tour sound-pieces from road-side at Stage 2

ORICA stage report and photos - My report on Women's Cycling Magazine's siteWiggle Honda report - stage report on race site - All about Rossella Ratto and the rain -  all about the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Best British Rider jersey presenter

***

Stage 3: Felixstowe to Clacton-on-Sea, 90.5km

Hour-long video from ITV4

Stage 3 highlights

Rabo-Liv's post-stage interview with Marianne Vos:

and Rabo's highlights of the stage

Wiggle Honda's video of Laura Trott's crash

Wiggle Honda's Stage 3 video

Stage 3 press conference with Sharon Laws and Marianne Vos

Stage 3 results

1.   Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, 2:11:05
2.   Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, s.t.
3.   Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, s.t.
4.   Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
5.   Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, s.t.
6.   Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, s.t.
7.   Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, s.t.
8.   Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain, s.t.
9.   Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
10.  Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products, .s.t.

BBC video about Laura Trott's crash - my audio interviews - with Hayley Jones, Ciara Horne & Emily Kay of Team GB, and with Giorgia Bronzini and Rochelle Gilmore - the Tape du Tour sound-pieces from road-side at Stage3

ORICA stage report and photos - My report on Women's Cycling Magazine's site - Wiggle Honda reportstage report on race site - all about the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Best British Rider jersey presenter

***

Stage 4 - Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City, 87.8km

Hour-long video from ITV4

Brief highlights

Rabo video:

Wiggle Honda

Press conference video with Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley and Marianne Vos

Stage 4 results

1.   Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, 2:13:09
2.   Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, s.t.
3.   Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain, s.t.
4.   Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, s.t.
5.   Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, s.t.
6.   Lauren Hall ((USA)  Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, s.t.
7.   Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, s.t.
8.   Aude Biannic (Fra) Lointek, s.t.
9.   Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon, s.t.
10. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.

Marianne Vos' audio interview after her win - Nick Hope talks to Emma Trott after she announced her retirement - Rochelle Gilmore's audio review - Independent piece on Emma Trott - my audio interviews with Iris Slappendel and with Sharon Laws - the Tape du Tour sound-pieces from road-side at Stage 4

ORICA report and photos - My report on Women's Cycling Magazine's site - Wiggle Honda reportstage report on race site - all about the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Best British Rider jersey presenter

***

Stage 5: Harwich to Bury St Edmunds, 108.3km

Hour-long programme from ITV4

Highlights video

Rabo's super-happy video

Wiggle Honda mixed feelings video

This moment, the post-race dancing on the podium, made me very, very, very happy!

Press conference video with Marianne Vos, Rossella Ratto, Lucy Garner and Sharon Laws:

Stage 5 results

1.   Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, 2:48:10
2.   Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, s.t.
3.   Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, s.t.
4.   Hannah Barnes (GBr) UnitedHealthcare, s.t.
5.   Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, s.t.
6.   Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, s.t.
7.   Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products, .s.t.
8.   Aude Biannic (Fra) Lointek, s.t.
9.   Elise Delzenne (Fra) Specialized-lululemon, s.t.
10. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, s.t.

Final General Classification

1.   Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, 12:42:07
2.   Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, + 00:30
3.   Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, + 00:35
4.   Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, + 00:38
5.   Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana-BePink, + 00:44
6.   Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, + 00:50
7.   Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain, s.t.
8.   Hannah Barnes (GBr) UnitedHealthcare, s.t.
9.   Lauren Hall ((USA)  Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, + 00:52
10. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, + 00:54

BBC video from the final day, with Vos interview - and final day report - the Tape du Tour sound-pieces from road-side at Stage 5

Vos interview (audio) - Lucy Garner's audio interview about the race - another audio interview with Emma Trott - Marianne Vos' Strava file - my audio interview with ORICA DS Marv Barras before stage 5 - and with Optum-Kelly's Lauren Hall, Janel Holcomb and Jade Wilcoxson - and with Helen Wyman

ORICA report and photos - My report on Women's Cycling Magazine's site - Wiggle Honda reportrace's report -

Huge crowds!

UPDATE! Optum p/b Kelly Benefits on the podium

And UPDATE! Final montage video and podium video, from the race orginsers

and here's a feature with Marianne Vos' parents - and their cat!

Marianne Vos, Hannah Barnes and Lizzie Armitstead talk about the race

***

MORE!

Some rider blogs and other things

We finished the tour how we started: with plenty of smiles, hugs, hive fives and laughs. We achieved most of what we set out to do which was to get stage and GC results, and to also make it a hard and aggressive race against the other teams and provide a good show for the media. Personally, I was really happy with how I rode in the difficult terrain. It was a great way for me to end the first half of the season, and I am confident now for the second half. As always, I had such a good time with my "away" family. Thanks to my team mates and staff for another memorable week, and for working so hard.

Every night we could watch a whole hour of highlights on television, which was a complete novelty to us. Not only did they show the race, but cut in all the exciting and important sections and included really great commentary and behind-the-scenes extras. We were given the opportunity to show how good women’s racing is and they wrapped it up in a beautiful package to show the world. I am so happy and proud to have been part of it all and give a heart felt thanks to all involved who made this week possible. Here’s to the future of this awesome sport!

You might be wondering:  "Isn't this what rock and roll is all about? What's the big fuss?" Well you have to understand that the little band that is women's racing was turned overnight into The Supremes, The Runaways and The Spice Girls all rolled up into one. The Big Time! Girl Power! Marianne Vos was undoubtedly the lead with Rabobank as the back up singers and we would like to think that our team was the lead guitar that pitched in with couple of solos alongside Rosella Ratto, Suzanna Zorzi, Sharon Laws, Lizzie Armitstead and others.

The ITV4 hour in the bar added another dimension for us. Let’s be honest, road cycling is possibly the worst spectator sport ever. Pick a spot on the side of the road, wait for the vanguard to approach, count the motorbikes at the head of the race – by my count 50 police and tour motorcycles – then the cyclists flash by.

I mean flash, these girls were seriously flying and I think only about half of the time were Sheryn and I able to satisfy ourselves that Chloe and her teammates were safely present in the peloton. No time to analyse this though, as it’s back to the car and on to the finish, or do we take the risk and try to glimpse the peloton one more time? Never a simple choice and one we have a long history of getting wrong.

Back to the ITV4 hour this is where we got to learn the real story of the race. Many of the competitors and the team staff gathered in the bar to watch the race. The comments in the room put some meat on the bones of the race.

  • Nettie Edmondson's blogs on Cycling Tips, part 1 on Stages 1 & 2 and part 2 on stages 3-5, including

There were thousands of people out, lining the roads, watching and cheering at the team presentation. Other than the Olympic Games and World Championships, I don’t think many of the girls had experienced such crowds. I think some had ‘stage fright’ and didn’t want to line up in front of such excited fans. With 20 minutes to go, I gave up waiting, lined up at the front and tried to take in as much of the atmosphere as I could.

We did a short, neutral lap of the town, lined with supporters and school kids, screaming at the top of their lungs. It was so uplifting and really made us feel like this was something special. The men’s peloton might shy away from this kind of treatment, but this is a rarity in women’s cycling. To hear people excitedly saying, "I can’t believe we get to stand so close to them!" was pretty cool.


***

The future

It's definitely going to happen!

Article on the BBC about the future - and an interview about the race with Guy Elliott

Want to help shape the race?  If you went to any of the stages as a spectator, please fill in the race survey, and you could win a prize!

***

I'm going to be podcasting in more detail about this - both about how the race unfolded and about the details of what it's like doing the coverage backstage, but if you have any questions, please do ask me in the comments.  And of course, anything you've seen and liked, put it there too!

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