The low profile of women’s professional cycling
I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’m a keen follower of the top echelons of professional cycling but my knowledge of the peleton is completely focused on men.
I know only a few names of the professional women like Rochelle Gilmore, Bridie O’Donnell, Tiffany Cromwell, Josephine Tomic, Anna Meares and that’s about it. However, I could recite for you a long list of Australian men who ride professionally in Europe and many of their key international rivals as well.
The main reason behind this deficit in my knowledge is the low profile that women’s professional cycling has in this country. The only time you hear about women’s cycling is during the annual World Championships or the Olympic Games which isn’t very often.
The low profile of most women’s high level competitive sport is not restricted to cycling and many very successful female athletes lament the fact that their male counterparts are like superstars and barely anybody knows their name.
However, one of the things I’d like to achieve with this blog is to firstly educate myself about the professional women’s peleton and in my small way pass on that knowledge to others.
My first step has been to start following some of them on Twitter. I’ve been following many of the men on Twitter for a year or two but I’ve only just found some of the women who I’ve mentioned above who tweet quite regularly. It’s a great way to keep up with the ‘gossip’ and news straight from the riders themselves.
I’m also going to report occasionally on the progress of the Aussie women particularly those in Europe. I should also let you know that my main focus is on road cycling with a passing interest in track. There are some fantastic women also competing in mountain biking, triathlon and other disciplines but my main focus (and obsession) is on road.
I commend the occasional mention of the women on SBS Cycling Central but there really isn’t enough of it. Maybe the arrival of Sophie Smith at SBS will help the cause. I was pleased to hear that the women’s road race at the upcoming World Championships in Copenhagen will be broadcast on SBS and of course so will the men’s. I’m really looking forward to watching both of those great spectacles.
I’d love to hear the views of others , both men and women on this subject. How can we all help raise the profile of women’s cycling and women’s sport in general.