“It’s to­tal spec­u­la­tion on my part, but I feel there’s been a marked step up and ex­pan­sion of sev­eral na­tional women’s teams”

Cycling Weekly - - News -

I just watched Eli­nor Barker and Eleanor Dick­in­son win Madi­son gold at the Euro­pean track cham­pi­onships in Berlin. I ex­pect they’re ex­hausted but we’ve done our fair share of sweat­ing up here in the stands as well.

Fact of the day: Berlin just hosted only the sev­enth Euro­pean track cy­cling cham­pi­onships – the event be­gan in 2010. More trivia: our Eli­nor/eleanor team are only the sec­ond ever women’s Madi­son champs, as the event only opened for women last sea­son. We also re­ceived the an­nounce­ment that the Madi­son would be re­turn­ing as an Olympic event for men (it wasn’t in the 2012 or 2016 pro­grammes) and added as a new event for women.

It’s a pretty seis­mic piece of news. Why? Well, firstly, I’m a pro­fes­sional cy­clist and also an am­a­teur writer – of course I’m go­ing to use hyper­bole wher­ever pos­si­ble. Sec­ondly, the im­pact this Madi­son in­tro­duc­tion has had on gen­der par­ity in na­tional squads al­ready ap­pears to be ev­i­dent in the re­sults from this Euro­pean champs.

It's to­tal spec­u­la­tion on my part, but I feel there’s been a marked step up and ex­pan­sion of sev­eral na­tional women’s teams. For the Dutch this was seen by road pro­fes­sion­als Amy Pi­eters and An­ne­miek van Vleuten re­turn­ing to/de­but­ing on the track, re­spec­tively. For the Dan­ish it was the re­turn of Trine Sch­midt (2008 Olympian), who won two Euro­pean ti­tles this champs, and for the Swiss it was moun­tain biker An­drea Waldis com­ing fourth in the om­nium.

These three na­tions have all achieved sub­stan­tial depth in their men’s team but, in past years, tended to use just one rider for their women’s squad. Amalie Diderik­sen has been the only fe­male Dane trav­el­ling to World Cups for the last few years; Kirsten Wild the only Dutch fe­male en­durance rider; and Switzer­land’s women have been to­tally ab­sent at World Cup level. The wind has well and truly changed now and squads are ex­pand­ing. The chal­lenge for Great Bri­tain will be to keep up with the gusts...

Olympic and world cham­pion Katie Archibald got into cy­cling af­ter win­ning hand­i­cap races on a High­land Games grass track

Katie Archibald

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