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Laura Kenny, Britain’s most successful female Olympian, has announced her retirement at the age of 31. Throughout her illustrious career on the track, Kenny amassed an impressive collection of accolades, including five Olympic gold medals and seven World Championship titles. Notably, she became the first British woman to clinch a gold medal at three consecutive Olympic Games, solidifying her status as the most successful female cyclist in Olympic history. Kenny’s remarkable achievements were recognised with a damehood in the 2021 New Year’s Honours. Despite stepping away from active competition, she has expressed her desire to remain involved in the upcoming Olympics in some capacity.

Team SD Worx-Protime was forced to skip last Thursday’s Classic Brugge-De Panne. The team has a number of riders struggling with injuries, while some of its star riders are at a training camp. Chantal van den Broek Blaak was involved in a crash at Nokere Koerse, as well as Lorena Wiebes, who would have normally spearheaded the squad’s Brugge-De Panne campaign. Due to a dislocated shoulder, Wiebes had to take a break from racing.

Safety is paramount in cycling events, and ensuring that all riders have a fair and safe environment to compete in is essential. It seems like there might have been some issues with the organisation of last week’s Trofeo Binda and the management of the road for the riders who were not in the leading group. Riders who were not in the front group but less than 1 minute back were confronted with open roads, oncoming traffic, passing cars and red lights.

The organisers of the 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships, hosted in the Leuven area in Belgium, have revealed some preliminary details of the races scheduled for October this year. The elite women’s event, covering a distance of 133km, is slated for Saturday, 5 October. The race will commence in the town of Halle, continue to the southern outskirts of Brussels, then traverse the Forests of Brabant and finish in Leuven. Kasia Niewiadoma of Poland took the World Championship title in the previous edition held in Italy and is keen to defend the title.

Chloe Dygert has faced some health challenges in the past couple of years, including a bout of the Epstein-Barr Virus, cardiac arrhythmia, and quad surgery. Despite these setbacks, she participated in the Classic Brugge de Panne last week after missing her season debut in Australia due to an Achilles tendon injury. However, she will unfortunately miss out on competing in Paris-Roubaix this year. The U.S. time trial world champion is now focusing on regaining her fitness for the Olympics, making it her primary goal for the year.

British Cycling is looking for future female track endurance riders. If you are female, born in the years 2009, 2010 or 2011, are eligible for a British passport and not currently in the sport of cycling in a club or team, this may be an opportunity for you! The Talent ID Initiative aims to identify the next generation of talented young athletes, with those successful going on to join British Cycling’s Talent Development and Performance Pathways. If you believe you have the potential to excel in track endurance cycling, you can sign up before Friday 26 April. More information can be found here.

 

Results

Gent-Wevelgem: Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx – Protime) ahead of Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) and Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ)

Classic Brugge-De Panne: Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) ahead of Charlotte Kool (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health)

Zwift Blog

In Abi Smith’s latest blog, she delves into the experience of settling into her new squad. Embracing change in a professional sports environment like cycling can be both challenging and rewarding. Abi’s insights provide valuable perspectives on adapting to new surroundings, forging connections with teammates, and navigating the early season races. Check out her blog post here.

 

This week in cycling history

Hanka Kupfernagel

For over 20 years, the German rider, who was born on 19 March 1974, shaped the international women’s cycling scene. She topped the world rankings in road cycling for several years, was the first woman to win gold at the Cyclocross World Championships, earned a total of 18 medals at World Championship events, won silver at the Olympic Summer Games, and became the German champion 35 times. In 2016, she retired from her professional career. After three and a half years out of competition, she participated in the German Cyclo-Cross Championships 2019 at the age of 44, finishing the race in second place. Today, Hanka can be found coaching at various cycling camps and organising sports events. She still participates in MTB marathons and in her spare time enjoys beach volleyball, golf, skiing and horseback riding.

Regina Schleicher

The now 50-year-old German-born sprinter Regina Schleicher won the 2005 UCI World Road Championships, and was a national champion. Her father, who was a cycling coach, played a significant role in her career, guiding her to numerous successes, including U23 national titles, elite national titles, and a victory at the Road World Championships in Madrid in 2005. Schleicher relocated from Germany to Northern Italy early in her career to benefit from better weather and training conditions. However, in 2007, she suffered a serious fall that resulted in major injuries, ultimately leading to her retirement in 2010. Following her retirement from professional cycling, she pursued a career outside of sports. She completed training as a pre-school teacher and later ventured into beekeeping. In recent years, she has been running a bee farm in Camaiore, Tuscany, supplying locally sourced honey to regional markets and tourists.

 

WorldTour highlight videos

Catch up on all the action from the latest World Tour races. Watch the recap of Trofeo Binda right here.

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