Who is your cycling heroine of 2018?
Welcome to your special round-up of this year’s awe-inspiring cycling heroines, as voted for by you…
From the super-cyclists doing the seemingly impossible to the professional athletes who have proved why they’re competing against the best in the world, to the regular riders who get those miles in while juggling full-time jobs, here are your shout outs for the cycling heroines of 2018.
In 2018 Jenny Graham, pictured above, became the fastest woman to ride around the world, arriving back in Berlin after taking just 124 days to circumnavigate the globe. You can read our full-feature interview with Jenny here, where she talks about her on-the-bike ear-worms and the universal power of cheese puffs. Jenny was not only a fantastic, fun interviewee – she was also the most-voted-for heroine by you lot.
Kristina Vogel won two Olympic golds in her career as a track cyclist, a career that was cut tragically short earlier this year when a crash in training left her paralysed. The Dutch sprinter has shown incredible resolve and resilience since then, declaring her ambition to become a source of motivation for others. Kristina, we are in awe of you.
Here’s what Insta user, @drtonylyons, had to say.
“She has always been more than a world and Olympic champion... her sense of fun, her love of everything she does and her enthusiastic character made her a champion personality. Since her life-changing accident, this has continued to shine... and her resilience, her positivity and smile continues to inspire cyclists, as well as a much broader audience 🏅🏆🌈”
Monika Sattler AKA RadMonika
By completing the entirety of the 2018 Vuelta a España route just hours before the professional men’s peloton, Monika Sattler proved she is a force to be reckoned with in endurance sport.
Let’s not beat about the bush here: it also makes a brilliant statement about the fact that women should have their own professional Vuelta a España event, using the same courses, the same infrastructure and the same crowds as the men’s. You can read all about what motivated her to take on the feat, here.
Donnons Des Elles Au Vélo
The lack of a three-week Tour de France race for women was a recurring bone of contention this year, with Juliet Elliott beautifully explaining why all the arguments against it are a load of stinking bull in this article she penned for us.
To highlight this inequality, a team of 13 riders named Des Elles Au Velo, took on Le Tour the day before the men’s professional race as a protest against the lack of a women’s equivalent. The squad of 13 women (most of whom were teachers), smashed out the 3,351km route, in the process raising awareness of the sexism that surrounds the most prestigious cycling event in the world.
Ayesha McGowan is on a mission to become the first female African-American professional cyclist and, in so doing so, intends to create a role model in the sport that wasn’t there for her when she was growing up. We’re huge fans of McGowan’s work, as are Insta followers, Claudiascore and Melso25.
claudiascore: @ayesuppose All day, every day
melso25 Absolutely @ayesuppose. Representation matters!
Read our feature interview with Ayesha here.
Cover star of our last print issue, Helen Wyman, has been flying the flag for British women’s cyclo-cross for more than a decade. Not only does Wyman shred it on CX courses at the highest level, she also vocally champions women in cycling as a whole.
Her 14 years of competition have included four years as an active member of the UCI Cyclocross Commission – where she has made significant progress for the sport towards equality for female riders. Helen is an ongoing inspiration.
It can sometimes feel like Marianne Vos has been around forever. And that’s largely because she’s been winning bike races across multiple disciplines since before some of the current pro peloton made it out of the junior ranks.
After taking a year out in 2016 and having an injury-struck 2017, some non-believers at the beginning of 2018 were beginning to whisper that ‘The Cannibal’ was a fading force. Oh how wrong they were. This season we’ve seen Vos bite back at her critics through stage wins, GC victories and one-day triumphs.
Sure, van der Breggen and van Vleuten are the strongest riders of the last couple of years, but they have a long way still to go if they want to challenge Vos for the title of Greatest Of All Time.
Anna van der Breggen
Anna van der Breggen is the undisputed Queen of the Classics, effortlessly dominating the rest of the field in almost every road race she competes in. Her 2018 season was no different, with her storming to a handful of monumental victories throughout the spring.
Because of this, one can be forgiven for forgetting that van der Breggen – despite her illustrious one-day career – has never taken a road world title. Until this year, that is, when she crossed the finish line in Innsbruck some three and a half minutes ahead of Amanda Spratt. Incredible.
Annemiek van Vleuten
If van der Breggen is the Queen of the Classics, then her compatriot, Annemiek van Vleuten, is Queen of the rest.
2018 saw her conquer both stage-races and one-day classics in formidable fashion before going onto claim the overall UCI Women’s WorldTour title.
Perhaps her most memorable moment of the year, however, came at La Course. The race will go down in history; not only as the day where the Dutch doubled-up, but as a day where two titans of the sport went toe-to-toe to create one of the most memorable finishes of all time. The Hinault-LeMond battle on Alp d’Huez has got nothing on this.
Amid the recommendations of cycling superhumans and elite athletes, we saw many suggestions of regular riders who deserve to be held up as heroines, too.
From Facebook, Erica Chambers said:
“I nominate my friend Lisa Bywell. We have been cycling together for nearly a year. We've thrown strops (together and separately), we've laughed at each other (Me at her when she fell off in one of "CAN'T UNCLIP" moments... Her at me when I ran over a squashed squirrel and squealed like a child), we've made faces behind each others backs when we're being dropped by each other (Well I have...), drunk an awful lot of coffee in various fine coffee spots around the Surrey Hills and then we've guarded each others modesty during that "I have to go now" moment at the side of the road.... And lastly - she's made me really, really enjoy cycling. No-one else has been able to get me up to meet them at the Post Office at 6.30am. She's my cycling heroine of 2018.”
While alexandraussie off the ‘Gram said : “Mine’s @jenpettenonfor inspiring all of us mums out there that it’s never to late to be the best you can be & that you can balance a family, work, training & travel to achieve in the sport that you love 💕 x”
And Heather Collins goes one step further: “Me!! Because I love it - but every day in every way it can be a struggle. Many days I don’t make it but when I do 🤪...... I am my own hero. I take inspiration from too many to mention - and I thank you and your page for that inspiration. Xxx”
Be your own heroine. BOOM!
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