One of the many disadvantages of being a female cyclist is that there is rarely any TV coverage of women’s pro races. And by “rarely any TV coverage,” I mean that even videotaped-off-a-TV-screen-by-a-digital-camera coverage of the women’s TdF is impossible to get a hold of. Reading up on what happened after the fact is the most one can usually do.
With the ladies wrapping things up yesterday in the 2011 Ladies Tour of Qatar [preceding, as in all things, the men], I wasn’t too happy about following the three day stage race via the written word. But Cyclingnews has provided excellent summaries of the events that unfolded in what sounds like a race full of sprints, unexpected occurrences [like a lost breakaway on Stage 3], and domination by HTC-Highroad. The latter quickly moved into position on the second stage, with team member Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) sprinting to take a win in the last 100 meters. Though Monia Baccaille (Ita) of MCipollini-Giordana and nine other women broke away from the peloton in the third stage, HTC-Highroad kept the pressure on and the breakaway in sight. Monia Baccaille took a win last Friday, with Ellen Van Dijk finishing fourth. The latter, however, managed to retain the golden jersey to win the 2011 Ladies Tour of Qatar in what has been accurately described as a "team effort." The ladies of HTC-Highroad dedicated the win to the late Carla Swart.