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most successful and important female

knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
edited November 2007 in Pro race
A female friend recently bemoaned the lack of attention by the UK media to women’s cycling, especially given the recent successes of Nicole Cooke, with which I could agree. My friend, however, then went on to claim that Cooke was the most successful and important female rider in the last 5 years, with which I felt I couldn’t agree, even though I couldn’t counter with X and Y have had more success and are more important.

In case the topic comes up again, who would others say have been the most successful and important female riders in the last 5 years?
For example, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, Oenone Wood, Hanka Kupfernagel, Marianne Vos, Edita Pucinskaite, Nicole Brändli, Nicole Cooke, Judith Arndt, Joane Sommariba .... or ???

Posts

  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    For the past five years, several riders would have to be in with a shout, Cooke, Pucinskaite and Vos . The 2002 "cut-off" would exclude the greater achievements of Longo, van Moorsel, Luperini and Pucinskaite, which are probably greater than the current riders. It remains far more difficult to rank the acheivements consistently because of the changing nature of the womens calendar - how does the Tour de L'Aude compare with the formal "national" tours?
    Of the current crop, Cooke probably has the best collection of results for the monuments and GTs though has been unable to match them with equivalent Worlds and Olympic success. Having said that, I'm not overly sure that the Olympic results amount to a huge deal, particularly for the women. I think Cooke will struggle to dominate in the same fashion in the future. Partly due to injury and motivation and partly because Vos will probably be awesome if and when she goes full-time on the bike.

    What would be interesting is a female equivalent to www.cyclinghalloffame.com where all the riders have been ranked over the decades based on their success in the big tours, classics, worlds etc. It tends to settle these sort of discussion quite quickly.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    I'm intrigued by your repeated use of the word "important" Knedlicky. Is the most successful rider the most "important"?

    Ruth
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    I'm intrigued by your repeated use of the word "important" Knedlicky. Is the most successful rider the most "important"?
    Ruth
    Well no, not at all.

    With ’important’, I meant impetus on the profi cycling scene (domination or challenging), and media interest and coverage, the combination of which would best influence and encourage younger riders.
    This isn’t necessarily the most overall present and most comprehensive successful.

    The results show how well individual riders do, but not necessarily their ‘importance’.
    For example, in men’s cycling, riders who do well in Classics often can become insignificant in influence if they don’t register in Tours. While riders like Indurain and Armstrong, whose achievements are more or less restricted to the Tour de France have had great influence.

    I think Cooke falls short of 'important', because UK media regards her more as an exception rather than a success amongst many, so in that way she unfortunately doesn't promote her sport.
    For the media, there may not be the amusement value which Eddie the Eagle provided, but my impression is that they still portray Cooke as an oddity rather than someone to be followed by the masses ... so rather as another example of how the British supposedly love or at least accept of the eccentric.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Are we talking about women on the world professional scene, then, or, say, Cooke as a figurehead in the UK? At the world level I would have thought Cooke is right up there with the likes of Vos on the world scene, such is her consistency and catalogue of achievements.

    In the UK, however, she has been, and continues to be, stupendously important for women's cycle racing. I don't think she's seen as 'eccentric' at all. I think she is a fantastic role model, with an image of being determined, hard-working, honest, a team-player, and of course incredibly good at what she does. She seems to do a huge amount of PR work in the very limited time she has in the UK each year, such as this I spotted just yesterday: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/web/si ... n_talk.asp I wouldn't underestimate the influence Cooke has had on the constantly growing number of teenage girls who are competing in crits, road races and on the track. (And some of these girls have skills that put even experienced riders to shame.) OK, the numbers aren't yet huge, but look where they were 10 years ago! I don't think you'll ever get vast numbers of young girls taking to cycle sport, but Cooke, her success and the way she conducts herself are very significant and important IMO.

    Ruth
  • ricadusricadus Posts: 2,379
    It depends where one lives, of course. In Italy Vera Carrara is the one getting her face in all the magazines.

    You could perhaps argue that if one can identify any particular rider then that itself might be an indication of the current lack of strength in depth from that country – Cooke, Ljungskog, Longo... The Australians have a cluster of top riders – evidence of a a better organisational structure for the sport there or are they all freaks?
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    ricadus wrote:
    The Australians have a cluster of top riders – evidence of a a better organisational structure for the sport there or are they all freaks?
    Undoubtedly evidence of their better organisational structure - and an example that is being followed elsewhere, including in the UK. (Though I think I'm right in saying that their talent-nurturing process isn't quite so good now as it was before, a squeeze on funding or something.)

    Ruth
  • bryanmbryanm Posts: 218
    Isn't this a bit like arguing that football isn't our most succesful sport, yet receives more coverage than most other sports added together?

    Whilst Nicole Cooke is a massive talent in world cycling, cycling isn't really followed by the masses in this country. Womens cycling even less so.

    re Australia, to a large degree Australian sport peaked at the Sydney Olympics. They funded success when the games were held in their own backyard. We should learn from them.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    bryanm wrote:
    re Australia, to a large degree Australian sport peaked at the Sydney Olympics. They funded success when the games were held in their own backyard. We should learn from them.
    That's a good point. You can already see the focus and efforts being raised for 2012 and it would be so easy to collapse in a heap after the Olympics and let everything go to pot again. I wonder how many of the sports governing bodies will be seriously planning beyond 2012? I realise there will be plans to utilise the facilities post 2012, but that's not really the same thing as sustaining the country's enthusiasm for sport and the energy and aspirations of the elite sports men and women.

    Ruth
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