Wild Cats on Wheels; the Women’s Race!

Early morning and the Belgium skies were still deciding on the weather to be cast on the gruelling races ahead. Myself, C and Coach M wrapped up for 10 degrees (nicely mellow compared to last year!) and prepared ourselves for the ladies race on the Paterberg. This was my first real close up of the Women’s Omloop and I was intrigued to see how this compared with the men’s race – I could not have anticipated such excitement!

Coach M and C checking the gadgets

All was pretty calm as Boels Dolmans’s Lizzie Armitstead climbed her way up the hellish cobbles ahead of the others.  (click photos to enlarge)

The race’s future winner, Team Giant-Shimano’s Amy Pieters, paces herself up the groove very well. These ladies will have been pleased to miss the chaos that was to follow shortly in the same spot!

Another rider of Team Giant-Shimano in hot pursuit…

Once the peloton started to come through, it would only be a matter of time before someone would need to slow down, creating a rippling domino effect of despair! Only those at the front of the peloton could hope to escape the potential demise in their race success…

Here, the spectators start jumping to assist those in serious trouble on the cobbles. The help can be useful to keep the flow in the peloton, but only if one or two need it! (This happens in the men’s race too on occasion…)

And others just have to jump off and get walking, fast!

At this point I stopped shooting film and decided to take in the domino effect of more than one or two needing help, and several jumping off to walk. This created chaos, especially for those trying to stay upright in their pedals and for those really hoping to still get a top 10 place!

What was noticeably VERY different to the men’s races that I’ve seen was the sheer verbal and electrical menace that took place between each other. These ladies became wild cats, and they were taking no prisoners when it came to any show of weakness in the peloton!

It reminded me of the days back at high school when I was in the netball, rounders and hockey teams, and after a competition we would sadistically bitch about each others performance as we took our hot showers together!! (Luckily, I rarely screwed up, so suffered little, but for others… not so nice!)

Whilst I don’t condone this kind of treatment of fellow humankind, it does demonstrate the feminine fighting power to get through the pain and suffering, even if it has to be screamed out. Who knows, maybe this helps the peloton as a ‘collective’. It certainly makes for a more vibrant spectator sport!

Those who found a little space had a more solitary suffering…

And a few looked very very young!

And still the spectators keep their backs busy…!

And even Coach M couldn’t take the suffering any more, as he helped one or two ladies find their feet in the cleats to fight another day!

The Top 10 winning results (taken from CyclingNews.com):

1. Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano     3:30:15
2. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica – AIS
3. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
4. Liesbet De Vocht (Bel) Lotto Belisol Ladies     0:00:06
5. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
6. Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Futurumshop.Nl – Zannata
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Specialized – Lululemon
8. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Hitec Products
9. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
10. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team

Read here for the Men’s Race!

Originally published: Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at 00:17 in Living matter, Monologues

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