March 6, 2019

"A breakaway female cyclist was forced to stop during a prestigious race in Belgium after she started to catch up with the men's competition, which had started 10 minutes earlier."

"Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann described it as an 'awkward moment' when she was held up in Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race after she broke away from the women's pack and caught up with the men's support vehicles. She had developed a two-minute lead 30 kilometers (18 miles) into the 120-kilometer (75-mile) race when officials asked the 27-year old former Switzerland road champion — and the women's race — to stop at a level crossing until the gap with the men's race was restored. The racing event's official Twitter account reported the 'neutralization of our women race at railroad crossing in Sint-Denijs-Boekel... due to a very slow mens race.'"

CNN reports.

45 comments:

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Was she a woman woman?

Henry said...

Ouch. That's a bad look. But had Hanselmann caught up to the trailing men she would have had a huge advantage over the rest of her competition.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

If you can’t stop the absurdity, you can certainly enjoy it.

Curious George said...

So we should expect no bitching when trannies (AKA men who can't compete with men) start dominating your sports. Right?

MadisonMan said...

The entire women's field was forced to stop - not just the lead cyclist.

Bad race planning by the officials.

Martin said...

Gross incompetence by the organizers. Don't ever put them in charge of something important.

edward irvin said...

I'm guessing they stopped her because if she had caught up with the men she would have been able to "draft" off of them, thereby giving her an unfair advantage over other female competitors. Part of the difficulty of going on a breakaway is being out front alone eating the wind on your own while the pelaton works as a group conserving energy.

traditionalguy said...

Did they check to see if she is related to Lance Armstrong?

rhhardin said...

There must be some old men. A 25 year old woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50 year old man.

Henry said...

Why were the men so slow?

hombre said...

BFD. This should have happened regardless of the gender of the groups. However, when the trannies join the women the gap will need to increase to 30 minutes. Just so long as the women, who will normally lag behind the men and the trannies finish in time for supper since they will have no chance of winning.

Curious George said...

"traditionalguy said...
Did they check to see if she is related to Lance Armstrong?"

The whole sport is "related" to Lance Armstrong.

A to the C said...

The year was 2019, and everybody was finally equal.

bagoh20 said...

It was highly sexist of the planners to not expect this to happen.

tds said...

the fastest woman is probably highly doping, the slowest men are probably clean

CJinPA said...

It's 2019, so: Was the woman a man?

Also since it's 2019, we have to bide our time for a bit until we get the actual story.

Ralph L said...

If the men were going uphill, the support vehicles would have to slow, and the women coming down the previous hill could catch up. A little slowdown in front can amplify further back.

Rick said...

Since there are no differences between men and women there should only be one competition open to everyone.

Captain Curt said...

"Why were the men so slow?

Bicycle racing is highly strategic -- it is not simply a matter of going the fastest for the longest.

No one wants to be out in front for most of the race, as it is so much more work being away from the drafting of the pack. So you can get races where everyone is wanting to "out slow" the others for a good portion of the race. This sound like one of those races.

Tommy Duncan said...

Bicycle races involve pace. Sometimes the initial pace is brisk like in the women's race. Sometimes the initial pace is slow like the men's race. Drawing conclusions early in the races can be dangerous.

The women are welcome to challenge the men in a race.

stevew said...

She made up a 10 minute head start in a relatively short time, that's pretty impressive. How stretched out was the men's field (from leader to last)? Clearly the organizers didn't anticipate and plan correctly. Doubt there is anything more nefarious than that going on.

stevew said...

"No one wants to be out in front for most of the race, as it is so much more work being away from the drafting of the pack. So you can get races where everyone is wanting to "out slow" the others for a good portion of the race. "

Good point. The winner wins by finishing first not by completing the race in a specified period of time. Men's and Women's racers were executing a different strategy.

rehajm said...

It was highly sexist of the planners to not expect this to happen.

1- Yeper. They didn't doo a good job anticipating the gap needed for the breakaway in the women's race.

B- I will say bike races are sometimes halted in the name of sportsmanship, like when there's interference of leaders, etc. It;s the relative finish what matters.

(3)- The organizers could have saved face by blocking the races with tractors, sheep and disgruntled postmen like what happens annually the Tour de France.

Kevin said...

Clearly the organizers didn't anticipate and plan correctly.

Were they men? Sexism!

Were they women? How dare you ask, you sexist!!!

Left Bank of the Charles said...

They could have stopped the men’s race and let the women ride through.

TML said...

I've raced bicycles for 30 years. This is insane. They should've allowed her to ride through the support vehicles and continue regardless of the men's race situation. Really stupid call here. And I'll not entertain any nonsense about pack drafting for her. She rode UP TO THE MEN. Any other female competitor could try to do the same and enjoy the same benefits. Ridiculous.

eric said...

There is obviously more going on here than meets the eye.

She was 2 minutes ahead of the other ladies. The men has a 10 minutes head start. This means the women's group made up 8 minutes of that time while the leader made up the whole ten minutes.

I have questions.

1) Did everything we know about gender differences just not apply for this one race? I think CNN wants us to draw this conclusion and we would be idiots to let them lead us by the nose like this.

2) How did the entire group of women make up 8 minutes on the men?

3) Is it possible it's not so obvious as "Women were cycling way faster than the men" but instead, a man, or a couple of men, were going really slow, thus causing the, "Men's support vehicles" to go really slow which allowed the women to catch up?

4) Or maybe one guy crashed his bike? This too would cause the, "Men's support vehicles" to stop or go really slow, thus allowing the women's group to catch up.


Or how about this. I haven't looked up the results of this race. But for anyone who thinks the women were faster than the men from this story, I'll make you a wager. I'll bet the top 6 men came in with better times than the top woman.

Any takers?

n.n said...

Sex difference. Gender nuance.

eric said...

And by the way, she ended up in 74th place.

CTE Confused said...

The men race 200 km. The women 130 km.

Henry said...

@Captain Curt... Thanks for the response. I kind of wondered if that could be the case.

Sam's Hideout said...

One thing not mentioned in most reports is that when the women's race was paused, the leading women kept their time gaps to the main field on the restart. A lead of two minutes early in a nearly 100 mile race is not unusual and usually does not hold up until the finish.

Cyclists are often in groups because being in the middle of a pack you can save a lot of energy--usually cited as up to 40%--compared to being alone or out in front. So a group of cyclists can usually run down a lone leader when they want by continuously changing out the front of the pack to keep all the riders fresh. Occasionally the pack miscalculates and the breakaway wins though.

Yancey Ward said...

Yes, 10 minutes isn't enough of a gap given that cycling races have high variance in pace. I have to assume it wasn't only the break-away rider who had to stop, though.....right? The entire's women's field should have, and likely was, forced to stop.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MartyH said...

There are breakaways in a lot of races. A group goes off the front at the beginning, the field slows to let the gap get big enough so no one can bridge up to the breakaway. Then the pack reels the breakaway in at the end and some sprinter who’s never been near the front until the last hundred meters wins.

Sam L. said...

It's Belgium. EVERYBODY knows they're behind the times on this. Europeans.

MartyH said...

Not to mention she caught up to the caravan, not the racers. Caravan could easily be sixty vehicles. Maybe two Team cars, officials, neutral support, press, medical. That could be a couple of minutes easily.

320Busdriver said...

Men’s egos are ‘frageelay’

JaimeRoberto said...

A break forms in almost all races. The main group will decide how much of a lead the break will have. If the lead is too small, lots of riders will try to join the break. A large break is a danger because there's more riders to share the work and a greater chance that the break will stay away until the end. A large lead is dangerous because you might never catch the break. So the main group tries to find a nice equilibrium. Not too close, not too far.

In the men's race the break got up to 14 minutes at the 38 kilometer mark which indicates that either the break was really fast or the main group was really slow, probably the latter given that they were caught. In the men's race that break was composed of 4 riders. 2 didn't even finish. The other 2 finished 6 minutes down.

The men had an average speed of 41 km/hr over 200 km while the women averaged about 37 km/hr over 123 km. While it is interesting that the woman caught the men, it doesn't really say anything other than how this specific race unfolded tactically.

JamesB.BKK said...

There is no good reason to stop a race. All racers have numbers and RFID devices. I have seen a number of cross country races where lead females pass slower males. No big deal. European style management though.

DEEBEE said...

The pusillanimity of pussi-enemity

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

she raped their egos while she was on her cycle

Ole Eichhorn said...

The key thing to realize is that in cycling, everyone does not ride at full speed all the time. The racing is quite tactical. It is entirely possible for someone to attempt a "breakaway" in one race, while in another race the peloton just dawdles along for a while. The goal is to beat the other riders to the finish line, not to set the fastest time.

For this reason, it is unsurprising that this happened. It doesn't mean the women were capable of riding faster than the men, only that the tactics of their race unfolded differently.

It was most definitely poor organization to have the two races so close together. Race organizers always have a big range of "expected times" and it isn't unusual for a peloton to exceed either side of the range. A full hour between races would have been appropriate.

Rick M said...

The CNN article is very spotty coverage, usually the women ride a much shorter race, like 75 miles vs. 140. And they probably gave her a car ride ahead to retire the gap, it's very common in cycling when an error is made by the organizers.

Rick M said...

Also, if they increase the start gap to 20 minutes, spectators might leave after the men start. To jump ahead to the 20 mile point for instance.