Well my last piece on women's cycling elicited a few interesting responses. Some felt I was being a bit harsh on women and not encouraging them to ride up a grade and so on. Nothing could be further from the truth. Until we get more women's fields with stronger competition I would fully expect that those women looking to improve would choose to ride in a higher grade.
One such example is the ground breaking entry into the Trust House Tour of an elite women's squad. Five women – Sarah Ulmer, Melissa Holt, Annaliisa Farrell, Penny Warring and Suzie Wood – will line up against some of NZ's best male riders to gain some serious racing. Most of these women will be representing NZ at various competitions this year and this aside, I am sure will show many of the guys a thing or two.
We'll be at the Trust House Tour, bringing you all the action, including how the women get on. The Trust Tour has been going for a while now thanks to the efforts of Jorge Sandoval. It seems to have found itself a comfortable place in the calendar now after being held at numerous different times over the past ten years. It used to be in Easter the two times I lined up. The tour has seen some class acts racing in Wellington over the years. One that springs to mind is 2002 winner of the green Points Jersey in the Tour de France, Robbie McEwen.
This years race is sure to be another barnstormer. Some big kiwi names have won this event over the years. Chris Jenner, Julian Dean, Ric Reid and Brian Fowler to name a few. Lat year's event was won by Robin Reid riding in the Avanti team. He's sure to be back this year and the word is that both the Yates brothers are on fire at the moment too. Matt recently won the Tour de Vineyards. An indication of who some of the favourites might be will come from the Stortford Autos two day tour being run by the Ramblers club in Hawkes Bay this weekend. In the South Island riders will have a last chance to hone their legs at the Main Divide Classic from Darfield to the top of Arthur's Pass the Saturday before the tour starts.
All in all, there's plenty of racing on in February. So make the most of the sun, turn your computer off and head out and do some miles. And for all those women out there keen on getting into some more cycling (in particular those down in Wellington) check out capital cycling's excellent women's cycling page here