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But as we made another sweeping left hand corner Vos looked behind her and obviously didn’t like what she saw. She swung out leaving Anna and Lucinda Brand a bike length in front of me. Do I swing with her or do I stay here at the front and hope Lucinda takes me to at least 200metres to go?

Letting go of Marianne Vos’ wheel is almost as hard as accepting that Santa isn’t real. If you’re lucky enough to have her wheel, usually you’ll fight tooth and nail to keep it.

People talk about life decisions; if you make one decision your life will take one path and if you make another decision it will go on a completely different tangent. That’s what this decision felt like. I chose to stay at the front and with Lucinda.

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Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour: When the going gets tough | Chloe Hosking

Audio

The latest women’s cycling podcast from Dan and me - he describes it

Podcast 2014 Episode 38 – Look At All The World Cups

This week we talk our way through Plouay and what the world cups have been like this year (hint: they’ve been amazing!). Then we talk about the Para-cycling Road World Championships in Greenville, South Carolina. And proving that it’s been another action packed week of women’s cycling, we then turn our attention to the Tour de l’Ardeche and Boels Rental Ladies Tour, both of which started during the week. Of course it wouldn’t be a podcast if there wasn’t a bit of mountain biking and a whole lot of insanity in there too (so there is). We talk about our most amazing bits of transfer news and of course rumours. It’s a big episode and there’s something in it for (literally) everyone, so if you’re an everyone, or related to an everyone, you should probably listen up. (1:33:59 MIN / 90.23 MB)

Click through to our blog for all the links we talked about this time - our week in women’s cycling!

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I often shake my head when I watch things like downhill mountain biking. I can’t comprehend how these guys have the guts to throw themselves down a mountain like they do. But when you actually pause to think, what we do is ten times more stupid.

While they have body armour, full face helmets and have ridden the course multiple times before they race, we have skimpy little lycra outfits, tiny tyres, light as feather helmets and generally have never seen the descent before in our lives. Still we kamikaze down them with little thought.

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Tour de l’Ardeche: Suicide Attacks | Chloe Hosking

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"In the end my suicide attack with a little less than 2km to go essentially acted as a giant lead out for the entire peloton; not my brightest plan. But it’s in races like this, when you’re racing on a mixed team, that you an afford to try something a little bit different. Today it didn’t work out but it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all."

Tour de l’Ardeche: Suicide Attacks | Chloe Hosking

Loving Chloe’s race blogs - click through for a great story, well-told

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Tour de l’Ardèche Stage 1 - Wiggle Honda

Won by Wiggle’s Giorgia Bronzini

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Last year, when I was racing at the Holland Ladies Tour I received a message from Lauren Kitchen who was racing Ardeche with her Wiggle Honda team. The message was simple; “Never do this race.” She told me later that on some days the peloton climbed more than 3000 altitude metres an most stages started on climbs.

After hearing that I had got the call up for the race I got straight on the race website to see just exactly what I was getting myself into. Lots of climbing, that what I was getting myself into. It didn’t matter, I was just happy to be racing.

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Tour de Ardeche; The Big Guns | Chloe Hosking

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There are tons of reasons why I love riding my bike. Everything, from seeing new beautiful places, and enjoying some time alone on solo rides, to the competitive part of the sport; the tactics, speed, and action.

However, one of the things I love the most is all the friends I’ve made over the years. I get to meet fantastic and inspiring women from all over the World, and together we not only race, but also have fun off the bike.

Just thinking about some of the fun we’ve had makes me smile. We’ve tried to win a trip to Africa, made a “Beat it” music video, and played a practical joke on Chloe, making her panic in the shower because she thought a man called Arnold was entering the room. There are a ton of other fun stories, which I could tell you if you ever decide to come for a ride…

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Guest Blog by Julie Leth: 10 reasons why you should ride. | Chloe Hosking

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But this blog isn’t so much about the race last Sunday as it is about dealing with disappointment when you don’t perform to the standard you – and others – expect from yourself.

Talking about disappointment and underperformance is such a taboo subject in this sport of ours, which is odd because there are inherently more downs than ups in professional sport and cycling more specifically.

More often than not a voice recorder is shoved under our mouths and we’re meant to recount how enjoyable our experience was and why it was so fantastic. But what happens when you would rather forget it?

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Dealing with Disappointment | Chloe Hosking

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For me though, the highlight of the 2014 Giro Rosa came during the first stage.

The race organisers managed to lose the bunch that Chloe was riding in. The final car came around the last corner and Chloe’s bunch hadn’t yet come through. The Polizia put barricades in the middle of the road, and then allowed cars to park right in the middle of the race.

We tried to explain that there was another bunch still coming, but to no avail. When the riders came around the corner, Mum ran onto the road and started dragging the barricade off it. When a police woman, still not believing that there were riders on the course, tried to stop her they became engaged in a tug of war over the barricade. It is an image that will stay with me for a long time.

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Guest Blog: Chelsea Hosking on The Giro Rosa | Chloe Hosking

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"The professional women’s peloton last week raced one of its biggest events of the year, the Giro Rosa, but did so without one of its main media advocates, CJ Farquharson, a photographer who contributed to Cyclingnews, her own web site womenscycling.net, and to numerous women’s teams and race organisations."

Vos and Pooley lead praise for photographer, and women’s cycling advocate CJ Farquharson | Cyclingnews.com

CJ is one of the big reasons I fell in love with women’s cycling - I’ll really, really miss her work

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As we came out of the tunnels we hit the lake and it was game on. Still more than 10kms from the bottom of the climb I hadn’t expected teams to be pushing the pace so hard so early but since Elisa and I were there I decided to keep surfing trains. By this time Rabobank had appeared and there were now three teams fighting for control of the peloton. It was fast!

With 2km to the base of the climb I dropped Elisa off onto Emma Johansson’s wheel and watched the front of the peloton race away. I was shocked to look behind me and see a splintered peloton. Only 15 or so girls remained at the front and behind was carnage.

As I dropped backwards like a stone through water I saw Mara Abbott pulling a group behind that included riders like Evie Stevens and Emma Pooley. They had obviously been caught out by the surge of pace.

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Giro Diary: Stage Nine | Chloe Hosking

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The highlight of my day came 1km from the finish. I had been promised weeks in advance by the Zampine (the Ornavasso sporting cheer squad and friends of Elisa) a beer and a push in the final kilometres of the stage. And, as promised as I rounded one of the final corners of the 15km climb I spotted the Zampine.

“Ciao Zampine,” I yelled, waving my hand in their signature paw wave.

Like a crowd at a football match when their team scores the group of ten or so erupted into cheers, “Ciao Chloe! Ciao Zampini!”

Andrea, one of the ring leaders of the group, ran down towards me with a cold beer in his hand and turned to run alongside me as he reached me. He handed me the beer and as I passed the crazy, cheering squad of Zampine I raised the beer to my lips and and poured it down my throat like it was water on a 45degree day. Amazingly, as I did so, the cheers got louder.

With a huge smile on my face I handed the beer back to Andrea and he fulfilled the second part of his promise, giving me one final push before I passed the group.

"

Giro Diary: Stage Eight | Chloe Hosking

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The issue was all of a sudden we were climbing again, up an uncategoried climb that rivalled the gradient of the Murr de Huy (or at least it felt like it). The same screaming noise that had come from my legs on the first 7km reared it’s ugly head again but I tried to channel my inner Jens, ‘shut up legs’.

There were two big groups agonisingly close to me; I felt like what I imagine my dog feels like when I tease him with treats. Holding them just out of his reach, he would pop back on his hind legs to try and snatch it but I would raise the treat a little higher just before he got the chance.

The catch with this metaphor is that after I had my fun I would always give him the treat. Today, I didn’t get my treat. Today, I didn’t get to that group in front of me.

"

Giro Diary: Stage Seven | Chloe Hosking

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Even before the team meeting I could feel my legs hurting. With such a mountainous day ahead of us I knew my job would be early on in the race meaning I would still have drag myself to finish line, most likely more than 30minutes after the winner had crossed the line.

And I wasn’t wrong.

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Giro Diary: Stage Six | Chloe Hosking

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Today’s fifth stage of the Giro Rosa from Jesi to Cesenatico was most likely the last chance for the sprinters to come out to play this year. With the peloton moving into the mountains tomorrow I was determined not to miss another opportunity as I had a few days earlier in Frattamaggiore.

Hitting the half-way point of the tour the tiredness and hunger hit me hard last night but as we rolled out of the beautiful – and busy – starting town of Jesi I could tell it was one of those where you get on your bike and your legs just want to party.

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Giro Diary: Stage Five | Chloe Hosking

Really love this blog - excellent insight into team tactics, and what it’s like in the sprint from the inside