The cycling year slowly comes to an end now September has started. It’s a weird feeling from longing for the wheels to start turning in January, anxiously checking results from countries like Argentina and Gabon and searching the internet for all the new team kits to longing for a day off when September comes. It’s the work of the seasonal, cycling laborer. And you know what, I love it.
Reflecting back upon the year, a lot has happened but most notably my involvement in Women’s Cycling stands out. When production company VSquared called me out of the blue in January if I would be interested in a job as a reporter for the UCI Road Women World Cup series, I said yes but with a but.
I had never done any voice-overs in English. In the end, the ‘stupid English accent’ as my husband always says with a smile when I speak the language, turned out fine. Including Dutch pronunciations of all the Dutch and Belgian riders and place names.
From the Ronde van Drenthe in the province where I grew up to the GP Plouay in beautiful Brittany, it was a life-changing experience. I did English voice-overs, interviews with riders and even hours of live commentary in a language that is not my own. It worked out great, thanks mainly to the incredible support of Rochelle Gilmore, the Vsquared production team and the UCI women’s cycling coordinator Andrea.
In April Sweetspot’s Guy Elliott called me, out of the blue again, and asked me to become a co-host for the inaugural UK Women’s Tour on ITV. “Are you sure, I have never done any on-camera work?” Yes we are, you need to do this. And it was an amazing experience to be in the UK seeing first hand how exciting women’s racing is and how big the crowds were there! And not for women’s cycling as a support act to the men. No, women’s cycling as it is.
Along the way I have see exciting races with Ellen van Dijk’s super solo in Flanders to Linda Villumsen almost making it to the top of the Mur de Huy. From the machine that Specialized-lululemon become on a time trial bike to my fellow Dutchies Chantal Blaak and Lucinda Brand’s thrilling victories in Vårgårda and Plouay. I got to know riders, their qualities, their skills, their humor and their intelligence and got a huge amount of respect for each and everyone of them.
Women’s cycling got me hooked this year and I hope for more next year. I hope to show more and more people who these athletes are, to tell their stories and show their achievements on livestreams on the UCI Youtube Channel, on ITV and on Eurosport.