The demise of Women's cycling

Talk about competitive road cycling in all its forms
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knedlicky
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby knedlicky » Fri Aug 17, 2012 21:14 pm

ddraver wrote:Brian Moore (of all people) made a good tweet about this along the lines of there are 8 monthly magazines for women with a readership of 20 million (or 20 mags with 8 million..?) Why not start there?

Aren’t most women’s magazines (perhaps not all, I don’t know what the likes of Cosmopolitan might have in it nowadays) orientated more to the female equivalent of the male ‘pipe and slippers’ type?
Although having said that, I’d be surprised if the magazines didn’t sometimes occasionally have articles recommending sport-type activities to prevent overweight, osteoporosis, etc - but more likely power-walking a couple of years ago, and zumba nowadays, nothing as 'extreme' as cycling.

Maybe if just the local papers covered women’s races it would help – I went to watch a women’s race Wigan-way a couple of years ago, but the local press had neither an advance article or a subsequent report. It could have taken place at the North Pole.
The recent women’s Route de France was extremely well covered in the local French press, both before (which resulted in good crowds along the route too) and after. The different stage towns also made a fuss and an occasion of it (smaller festivity versions of what goes on when the TdF visits a town), which I imagine also helps interest and acceptance.

It’s not just a matter of sudden national magazine or TV coverage, but the local press, local council, local tourist agency, all need to regard any women’s cycling event as something worth covering and advertising.

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knedlicky
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby knedlicky » Fri Aug 17, 2012 21:17 pm

Off the thread topic, but still …
mroli wrote: the problem with squash is that (like hockey) it does not translate well to the small screen. The ball is too small, moves too fast and is hard to pick up.

Don’t agree with this as an argument - ice hockey is televised and very popular in the USA, Canada and many European countries. I’m sure the people there don’t have better eyesight.

JonGinge wrote: They don't start elite men's and women's marathons together any more. They wanted to avoid male athletes pacing the lead women

I think this isn’t true overall, it varies with location and organiser; some elite still do start together.
Although why women shouldn’t use males as pacemakers, when males have male pacemakers, but usually there are no female pacemakers, I don’t know.

Cakegirl
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Cakegirl » Fri Aug 17, 2012 21:26 pm

OK I'll be the token female forumite!

I've no idea how to start racing or what sort of level I need to be to even try. There's not much provision locally. A lot of girls only seem to want to ride the track. Other than that it might be a 40 minute crit where I'm guessing I'd be shelled straightaway - all that petrol money and travel time and not even a decent training session out of it. I'm not in the first flush of youth and I'm quite small so riding fast on the flat isn't my best thing. Yes I do intervals and specific training for that and have improved a lot, but outright power ..nah, not so much.

However if I enter a sportive, I get 4-6hours of riding in fabulous countryside, challenging hills, use and improve my full range of skills, nail it up a few climbs and get into a bit of a sprint at the end with the lads, and finish -well certainly top half of the entry. Hillier the better! If I puncture not all is lost, if the weather is bad I can decide to ride more sensibly and stay upright. If other commitments mean I can't train as much, then I can still challenge myself.

So: flexibility, ease of access, terrain, duration are better on the alternatives to racing. I still have a hankering to try though.......
If everything's under control, you're obviously not going fast enough.

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TheBigBean
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby TheBigBean » Fri Aug 17, 2012 22:03 pm

mroli wrote:@TheBigBean - the problem with squash is that (like hockey) it does not translate well to the small screen. The ball is too small, moves too fast and is hard to pick up. The comparison there is to tennis and football where the ball is bigger, easier to pick up and the dimensions of the court/field are easier to show on tv.


That is the generally held belief, except that during the commonwealth games it was very popular - people could see the ball during that time. I know that I'm the only person who wants to watch it outside of the commonwealth games - I'm just making the point that women's cycling is very similar in its lack coverage. The perception is that it is not as entertaining as men's, and one race at the olympics won't change this, especially as the bulk of the viewers won't watch cycling again for another four years.

Separately, the PTP scores for the women's race do indicate that it is somewhat more predictable than the men's race, especially as the bulk of people picking (like me) have never watched a women's race before, but were still able to score highly in women's race.

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Le Commentateur
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Le Commentateur » Fri Aug 17, 2012 22:12 pm

My other sport is cross country skiing and I am a big fan of biathlon. It is interesting to compare the Cinderella sport of women's cycling with these sports. The governing bodies have had the advantage of having set up the modern structure of the sports, at least at world cup level, to give equal emphasis to male and female sides, including TV coverage. One of the problems the UCI probably has is that the big races are all owned by private companies, who have no incentive or interest in promoting a women's event – this may be as much a cultural thing (right-wing working class heritage) as much as a strictly financial one.

The other problem is money. With biathlon I've noticed that Germany in recent years has had more successful female biathletes than the men, so these women are big stars at home. This has also created a situation where cross country skiers now want to switch to biathlon because it is potentially more lucrative. But anyway, for this sport they have an arrangement with the armed forces, police and customs agency so that they are officially employed by these organizations but are mainly training/competing – it's a roundabout method of enabling state sponsorship of the athletes, instead of relying on short-term business sponsors such as exist in cycling.

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Le Commentateur
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Le Commentateur » Fri Aug 17, 2012 22:23 pm

TheBigBean wrote:
mroli wrote:
Separately, the PTP scores for the women's race do indicate that it is somewhat more predictable than the men's race, especially as the bulk of people picking (like me) have never watched a women's race before, but were still able to score highly in women's race.


That's largely because a certain Dutch rider is dominant. If there was more money and structural stability in women's cycling she wouldn't be winning so often. Another way of looking at it is to say that the difference between 1st place and 30th place in men's cycling is so miniscule that for armchair connoisseurs it is unpredictable – a lottery.

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OCDuPalais
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby OCDuPalais » Fri Aug 17, 2012 22:55 pm

Le Commentateur wrote:My other sport is cross country skiing and I am a big fan of biathlon...



You have other sports!?!...You utter strumpet.

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OCDuPalais
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby OCDuPalais » Fri Aug 17, 2012 23:11 pm

Cakegirl wrote:
I've no idea how to start racing or what sort of level I need to be to even try.


Ironically, given your sportive experience and predilection for the hills, you'd probably cope better with higher-end (regional) women's racing than the equivalent men's racing: without knowing any more than you've mentioned, that is (i.e. have you got much experience of riding in a fast moving bunch? would you say you're adept at following wheels and knowing which way the wind is coming from on a twisty-turny course? etc). My other half started riding seriously last year, and she's already riding the women's National Series with the likes of junior World Champion Lucy Garner, Para-Olympian Sarah Storey, etc. Obviously, I'm biased and think my woman's amazing: but essentially, if you're committed and get good coaching/support, etc, I'd say it's "easier" to achieve results and get noticed in women's racing than men's (it's never truly easy: but the sheer numbers of men racing mean that the basic level is fundamentally higher). Unfortunately, the rewards are nowhere near comparable.

Give it a go, though: despite one or two current sponsorship blips, I reckon we're about to enter a glory phase for women's racing.

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Wheelspinner
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Wheelspinner » Fri Aug 17, 2012 23:47 pm

JonGinge wrote:
greasedscotsman wrote:OK, we all know that women's cycling doesn't get the coverage, sponsors and races that the men do, but what would you do about it? Or maybe it's just doomed to the boom and bust Olympic cycle and there is nothing anyone can do about it!
I'm surprised races like the Giro Donne aren't pushing for TV airtime. I'd watch it


Possibly a silly question, but since the Donne was on at the same time as the TdF, would you have watched it *instead* of Le Tour, or been happy with watching it later on?

For a broadcaster, that's a big problem if you do both live. Split your audience, double your costs, make advertising revenue twice as hard to generate and hope it was worth it. Plan B is replay the recorded action later, but when? And who will watch it if the results are already known, or just as importantly, the cycling viewer (you) has already used up his allotted TV time watching the TdF. I watched very little of Le Tour this year simply because I don't have the time, even with recording it, let alone setting aside hours to watch another event, no matter how good it is.

The scheduling of (road) races is the single biggest hurdle for women's cycling I think. Track is easy because the facility is fixed, and you can run it day or night all year round if you have to. Road? You have local councils, police, traffic, community groups for and against, then you get weather.

And to be honest, even though that CN article notes all big women's races are "filmed", that's a hell of a long way from being recorded in such a way as being suitable for TV broadcast to a wider audience. Commentary teams, all the local feature bits etc make a broadcast interesting. I don't enjoy watching La Vuelta on telly at all because the footage is so crap by comparison. Not even HD. Sniff.

In the current environment, *any* sport is going to struggle to break into the big time in terms of sponsorship and TV coverage, simply because that means another one will have to be booted off the screen.

Gladiator
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Gladiator » Sat Aug 18, 2012 09:11 am

I think its a real shame that womens road cycling isnt shown on tv. Unlike a lot of other female sports, the action, tactics and general team performances relate pretty well to mens cycling, just a tad slower thats all, but pretty much the same viewing experience. Compare that to say womens football and theres a vast difference in ability if you are used to watching top flight mens footie so isnt so great to watch.

But womens cycling doesnt suffer with that as cycling is cycling, the root core of it doesnt change be it male or female and is simply relative. If ITV2 showed the Giro Donne i would watch it, it just needs someone with balls at ITV to go for it, also i believe ITV have now got a reputation as being a cycling tv station due to their Tour and Halfords coverage but its almost like they dont realise it, someone over there needs to wake up and realise they could get even more viewers, especially if they started showing more womens races.

And us blokes and cyclng fans can do our part by watching womens races (and lets face it, the womens Olympic road race was better than the mens) and promoting it for the girls. We dont like to admit we live in a mans world still but we do and sponsors know it when it comes to sports so us guys should give the girls a hand up and start shouting that we want womens races on tv. Once you get the ball rolling, sponsors will see its popular and want to get involved.

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lloyd bower
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby lloyd bower » Sat Aug 18, 2012 09:30 am

rozzer32 wrote:It's not just women's cycling though, it's all women's sports.

Every week you get men's football matches live, no women's.
Every week you get men's rugby matches live, no women's.
Every week you get men's golf matches live, no women's.

Insert cricket, basketball, darts, snooker, hockey etc into the above. Go have a look on Sky Sports and see what women's events they show.

Cycling is just as bad as any sport. But it isn't as profitable to as it isn't on tele every weekend so the money isn't pumped into it. It's a viscous circle and I can't see it improving.


Yeah, sad but practically the only women's sports that near to equivalent coverage as men's sports are tennis and athletics. Tennis at the slams, the women get equal pay, more I guess as they don't play best of 5.

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greasedscotsman
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby greasedscotsman » Sat Aug 18, 2012 09:55 am

Wheelspinner wrote:Possibly a silly question, but since the Donne was on at the same time as the TdF, would you have watched it *instead* of Le Tour, or been happy with watching it later on?


If I'm honest, I'd watch the Tour rather than the Donne, if they were both being shown live. But then why not put the Donne at a time when it's not trying to compete with something like the Tour? How about putting it back a few weeks so it's between the Tour and the Vuelta? I did enjoy watch the Eneco Tour and San Sebastian, but I'd be quite happy to watch the Donne instead.

esspeebee
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby esspeebee » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:50 am

I'd rather watch the Donne than the Eneco Tour. I can't imagine I'm the only one, either.

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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby oldwelshman » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:04 am

mroli wrote:@OfftheBackAdam - there was plenty of interest during the Olympic Women's Road Race. The road where I was was mobbed and it was horrible weather.

Agree with @Rozzer - if the TV Channels put women's sports on, people would watch them - they watch women's tennis, they watch women's golf. I think it is a real shame that some products aimed solely at women would rather sponsor real tat, or put their money into "worthless" advertising than promoting professional sport.

@TheBigBean - the problem with squash is that (like hockey) it does not translate well to the small screen. The ball is too small, moves too fast and is hard to pick up. The comparison there is to tennis and football where the ball is bigger, easier to pick up and the dimensions of the court/field are easier to show on tv.

I think pretty much everyone agreed that the women's road race was more exciting than the men's - I just wish the UCI would do something to encourage women's racing.

The fact is that this was the olympics and had nothing to do with the fact it was a ldaies cycle race, people just wanted to be part of olympic games, it was same with the marathon.
The sad fact is that fewer general public are interested in watching cycling live.
30 years ago city centres were packed with thousands watching the kellogs series crits. Herne hill and Leicester had large crowds for track events and the milk race crowds were huge.
These days there are so many other distractions. In those days you only have bbc1/2 and ITV so people got off their arses more. Kids mostly just want to hang around and do Fxxk all and play games on playstation lol

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Jez mon
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Jez mon » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:30 am

Every time I've been to see the ToB the crowds have been fairly sizeable.

The thing about the UCI promoting more women's racing is, at times I kind of think that the UCI has bigger problems than the lack of a well established women's sport.

If TV rights to cycling were organized a bit more aggressively, then maybe we could see some progress. I.e. If you're going to show the tour, you have to show some other races (including some women's racing). But this is a balancing act...if the TV companies turn away, then you're a bit f***ed!
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dave25
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby dave25 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 13:17 pm

Womens sports are never given the same coverage as mens. Do you really think that if the tv bigwigs were going to start showing more womens sports they would start with cycling? Of course they wouldnt. Mens cycling barely gets a look in , so why would womens cycling even get a chance?
Surely if we are looking for an equal footing, its the likes of football, cricket, rubgy that at least have half a chance that we should be pushing, to open up that acceptability of female sport.

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greasedscotsman
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby greasedscotsman » Sat Aug 18, 2012 13:36 pm

dave25 wrote:Surely if we are looking for an equal footing, its the likes of football, cricket, rubgy that at least have half a chance that we should be pushing, to open up that acceptability of female sport.


Nope, I don't care about an equal footing. I'm not interested in watching football, cricket or rugby of any sort. Makes no difference to me if men or women are playing. Anyway, the original question was how to stop the demise of teams such as the AA sports drinks squad, post Olympics. My suggestion is to stick with the same volume of cycling that's currently shown, but loose the races, such as the Tour of Turkey or the Eneco Tour in favour of the major women's races.

Or do we just accept that there's is nothing that can be done and that's the way it is?

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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby mrushton » Sat Aug 18, 2012 14:34 pm

It needs to generate income for sponsors. ITV4 showed the TdF and this year was pulling in 1 million viewers+ per night - major numbers for a minority channel. For some reason a lot of women don't find womens sport as interesting as mens (a discussion on Mumsnet) so you are starting afresh. Womens golf and even tennis don't pull in the same numbers as mens games - but broadcasting is aimed at male viewers - look at the commercials. If a womwn referee makes a decision she is derided by male broadcasters as not being up to the job.

Cakegirl
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby Cakegirl » Sat Aug 18, 2012 21:14 pm

OCduP, thank you! Your comments give me some hope!
Bunch riding, staying on wheels and twisty-turny: all hopefully not too bad as club history, few fondos (insane bunches at start); and I'm really pretty teeny so you can usually find me on the leeward side underneath somebody's chainstay.
Well done and best of luck to your other half for doing so well on the national scene, too!
If everything's under control, you're obviously not going fast enough.

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ddraver
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Re: The demise of Women's cycling

Postby ddraver » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:33 am

knedlicky wrote:
ddraver wrote:Brian Moore (of all people) made a good tweet about this along the lines of there are 8 monthly magazines for women with a readership of 20 million (or 20 mags with 8 million..?) Why not start there?

Stuff

Sorry, removed for space

I know what you mean but even the FHM's and maxim's etc, have interviews and articles.on sport. There is no reason that VickyP, Jess Ennis, Laura Robson etc couldn't have articles in Cosmo or Glamour, or Heat but the won't. Theyll have pictures of Kerry Katona without any make up on or how to get that Summer look.

I'm afraid I do think that if we re going to improve the standing if women's sport then we need to get women watching. I have some vocal friends on face book that come Olympics or SPOTY, will whinge about the disparity between men's and women's sport, but in reality, they could nt name or recognise any female sports.stars apart from the Ennis's and the Adlingtons. However ask them who Jennifer Aniston is dating and they'd be all over it. Ask them who is the captain of the England women's football or rugby team is and they'd have no idea...

Personally I don't have time to watch more sport, women's or not, after I ve kept up with the cycling and rugby. So you re asking me (sort of) to watch LESS of those in favour in women's races.
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