The peloton rides through a scenic landscape.

Wheel Talk Newsletter: The thought was in the right place?

The UCI's decision to move RideLondon made sense in theory, but the move forced race organizers to cancel, so who wins? No one.

La Vuelta stage 5, 2024.

Thank you, as always, for opening this week’s Wheel Talk Newsletter. Tour de Suisse, the final WT stage race before the Giro d’Italia Women, is wrapped up and what a race it was. Demi Vollering proved once more that she will be hard to beat come August (the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift) but all hope is not yet lost for the rest of the riders eyeing that yellow jersey. Elsewhere, Kristen Faulkner was named to the USA’s Olympic track team, opening the door for her to compete in the road race as well. And the UCI’s new calendar will mean RideLondon Classique is forced to cancel its 2025 race.

Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées was this weekend. The event was cancelled by the UCI mid-race last year when riders were forced to protest safety conditions. After the riders took a stand the race director Pascal Baudron threw what can only be described as an adult temper tantrum, stating that “it is not worth organising a race to see all those months of effort ruined for the whims of spoiled children.”

Well, the organization appointed a new director for 2024. Elisabeth Chevanne took over as both president and director of the event and by all accounts, things went smoothly this year.

Vittoria Guazzini of FDJ-Suez followed up on two podium finishes at Volta a Catalunya to win the opening stage into Lourdes. She edged out Josie Talbot (Cofidis) to win the bunch sprint with Marcela Prieta of Pato Bike BMC coming third.

Guazzini spreads her arms in disbelief after winning GP Samyn
Vittoria Guazzini wins GP Samyn earlier in the year.

Usoa Ostolaza (Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi) won the second stage atop Col d’Aubisque solo, 26 seconds ahead of Valentina Cavallar of Arkea-B&B Hotels. The effort secured her the overall victory as well after the third stage went to Talbot.

The Australian won the final stage solo by 53 seconds over Lotte Claes of Arkea-B&B Hotels and 84 seconds ahead of Giada Borghesi in third for BTC City Ljubljana Zhiraf Ambedo. Ostolaza finished safely within the peloton and the riders ahead of the race were not close enough to her in time after the second to challenge her lead.

In the end, Ostolaza won by 31 seconds over Cavallar and 58 seconds ahead of her teammate Yurani Blanco in third.


Racing Continues…

At the National Championships!

Most of the European peloton will be headed home to compete in their respective National Championships. The week will be peppered with various time trial and road race results and next weekend we will see a bunch of colourful jerseys on new shoulders.

FirstCycling is a good place to keep track of the races as they happen.

Wheel Talk Podcast

We’ve got a two-parter for everyone this week. The first is Loren and I breaking down Tour de Suisse, and the second is Matt de Neef’s fantastic interview with Ruby Roseman-Gannon.

Obsessions: Loren – Her new gravel bike!, Abby – Our Tour de France Femmes coverage plans!

And as I noted in the episode, starting next week Wheel Talk will only be available on its own podcast feed. If you’re not subscribed, now is the time to do it! This will help us expand our content and offer you more bonus episodes in the future plus we have our own space, hooray! 

Let’s Discuss

The RideLondon Classique 2025 cancelation.

Shortly after the UCI released their 2025 Women’s WorldTour calendar RideLondon Classique announced they would be forced to cancel their event. The reasoning was that the UCI shifted the dates for the event one week later from May 23-25 to May 30-June 1, so that the race was closer to the Tour of Britain, in the hopes that more teams would stay to compete in both events.

There was a bit of back and forth after the announcement, with RideLondon organizers claiming the UCI had not consulted them about the change and the UCI claiming they had.

“We were extremely surprised to be informed by the UCI that the 2025 Ford RideLondon Classique had been moved on the WWT calendar from the last complete weekend in May to a new date a week later,” Event Director and CEO of London Marathon Events (LME) Hugh Brasher said.

“There was no consultation or prior warning and the news came despite LME previously being advised by the UCI that there would be no changes to the calendar until 2026.”

The peloton rides past Buckingham Palace
The peloton races outside Buckingham Palace at the 2019 edition of Prudential RideLondon Classique

Brasher went on the say that as it’s a major event requiring road closures that takes place in central London it would be impossible to reschedule the race in 2025. The larger RideLondon event, which sees up to 50,000 cyclists participate in events like the RideLondon Essex sportive and FreeCycle, a non-competitive ride around closed streets in London, will take place as planned on their original weekend.

The UCI responded by saying they had been engaged with Brasher and RideLondon organisers to shift the dates of the race and that they regret the cancellation of the 2025 edition.

“The dates Ford RideLondon Classique requested are not available as they clash with the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, which is part of a three-event block of racing in Spain,” a UCI spokesperson told CyclingNews. “It should be noted that these three Spanish events are held consecutively to reduce team travel. In addition, a fundamental principle of the UCI Women’s WorldTour is that no events overlap.”

There’s no question that the cancellation of RideLondon for 2025 is a blow. There are so few WorldTour events that take place outside of mainland Europe and anyone who has seen images of the two stage races held in Britain knows how big a crowd the races usually draw.

Lorena Wiebes raises her hand in a three after winning the final stage of RideLondon this year
Wiebes won all three stages of this year’s edition.

The UCI’s decision to move the race was arguably a step in the right direction. For the teams, the staff, the environment, heck so many reasons, the calendar needs a redo. The block of Spanish races is a perfect example of how it could be, and having RideLondon and Tour of Britain back-to-back would have made a heck of a lot of sense.

There have been talks within the UCI about completely reforming the calendar for 2026, with fewer races on the men’s side so WT races don’t overlap. That is not currently an issue on the women’s side and clearly, the UCI is getting ahead of the problem by not allowing RideLondon and Vuelta a Burgos to happen simultaneously.

I’ve written before about a more linear calendar for the women, and while it’s not perfect I stand by what I wrote last year. Of course, it’s difficult. With so many moving parts and many races organized by different companies, to line everything up so it works well for everyone. It’s a real shame RideLondon will not take place, but I back the thought process behind the date shift.

But the dueling statements from the organizers and the UCI are strange; the two sides can’t even agree on the basic facts of what happened, and that miscommunication ended up costing the women’s peloton three days of high-profile racing, in an innovative, fan-friendly format in a key market. As is usually the case, things could have been done differently and maybe we wouldn’t be talking about this.

A picture worth a couple of words

Since you’re asking, no I will never get over this finish.

Neve Bradbury and Kasia Niewiadoma pictured during the third stage of the Tour de Suisse Women 2024.

A perfect two-woman team time trial resulted in a team 1-2 on the stage. A first professional victory for a genuinely good person. The whole of the third Tour de Suisse stage was so good, from what was going on up the road to what was going on in the chase. 10/10.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift only has two re-releases left on her list and she will be done with the project of reclaiming of her masters. The two left are her self-titled debut album and Reputation, the album that … well … was a whole new sound for Swift.

Sleuths on the internet who have far more free time than I do have deduced that Reputation (Taylor’s Version) will be next, and honestly, it makes sense. To wrap up the whole thing with her debut album is Swift’s kind of poetry.

However, there is a divide regarding when she will release the last two re-records. Some think it will not be until next year.

In 2021 Swift released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version). Then in 2022, she released Midnights and she spent the year sitting on that album. By 2023 she had moved on to Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) and then this year she dropped the all-new The Tortured Poets Department. So, with that logic in mind, 2025 is for the last two re-records.

That being said, Swift recently let slip at the 100th Eras Tour show that the tour would end in December. Previously, fans thought the tour would run through 2025, especially since she’s added a whole new set since touring South America, Asia and Australia. It does not seem that will be the case.

Fans are torn. Will she follow the pattern or will she want to release the last two albums while still on tour and wrap up the whole thing with a nice black and green bow when the tour ends? Only Swift knows, until then we will continue to speculate, wildly.

Until next time!

One final bit of news today:

SD Worx-Protime announced that Mischa Bredewold will stay with the team through 2027! It’s been a good fit for the young Dutchwoman, and it will be exciting to see what kind of role she grows into with the team.

Alright, that’s it from me. Thank you for reading this week’s Wheel Talk Newsletter. Until next week you can find me on Escape‘s Discord.

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