Monday 29 June 2015

Fun at the Women's Tour

The Women's Tour was in town the week before last. I wasn't able to go down to watch all of the stages as I was working all week, but I did make it down to Marlow to see the final stage.

Having been to Marlow the previous week to meet the Wiggle Honda girls for a press ride to recce this stage I knew where I would need to go to track down the event.

Actually, it wasn't that difficult since all the bunting and road closures that I found when I got into the Marlow area were a sure sign for exactly where to go.

The first people I saw on my arrival, even before I'd picked up my media accreditation badge were the race doctors. Very handy as I was due to write a story about the doctor's role in the race for Cycling Weekly.

After quickly introducing myself and picking up my badge I caught up with the doctors, Will Mangar (right) and Matt Gray, who had been the first to the scene when Lizzie Armitstead crashed immediately after winning stage 1. It's always good to be able to be able to get one of your key interviews done early so you can focus on other aspects of the event for stories.
My next job was to sort out how I was going to get to the finish town at Hemel Hempstead. I didn't have a car, there were no direct trains and the indirect trains would not get me there in time for the finish.

Marianne Vos (centre) club run
The race route was around 100km, but there was a 40km short cut across the Chiltern Hills. World and Olympic Champion Marianne Vos was not racing the Women's Tour due to injury but she was in the UK to co-present TV coverage with Ned Boulting for ITV. On a few stages she had led a group ride to get from the start town to the finish town via a direct route.

On this day she was planning to do the same, but I felt too unfit to join her. I would have had to bust a gut to keep up with Marianne Vos's leisurely pace. (I had already experienced that a few days earlier when riding with the Wiggle Honda girls!) 
Hannah Barnes Best British rider
I feared I would arrive in Hemel Hempstead a sweaty, tired mess, trying to interview pro racers. They would look fresher after racing 100km than I would look after riding 40km! Travelling in a car was the most sensible option.

Thankfully, Sarah from Pro Women's Cycling website put me in contact with Alistair, who was driving the Press car that week, and is also the President of Scottish Cycling. So I managed to travel with him and Larry from VeloUK Cycling Mag to Hemel Hempstead. Really grateful to the guys for helping me out.Once those tasks were out of the way I managed to chat to different folks, take a few photos and enjoy the day - especially the victory of Hannah Barnes on this last very hilly stage. All in all, it was a fun day.

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