— Hannah Barnes (@bannahharnes)
"— Sharon Laws (@SharonNLaws)
“I turned up on day 1 and thought ‘oh my God’. It was nerve racking but everyone was really friendly and because of that it didn’t feel that it was ‘professional’, simply because everyone was SO friendly. Everyone was just getting used to their bikes and their kit.
Everything was really good. Especially riding with the men and listening to all their stories. It was really nice to get to know everyone.
“It’s serious but everyone had a good laugh even though some was at my expense. Everyone got along really well and it was just really nice to be there with them. The other “Brits”, Sharon (Laws, the 2012 National Road Race champion) and Rachel (Heal, Hannah’s Sports Director) were there so I didn’t stand out as the only Brit. But they all took the mickey out of my accent a little bit."
CD: You have said your 2014 options are limited and the crash may have ended your road cycling career, why is that?
Sharon: There are a number of reasons;
My contract in Europe is currently linked with a South African team, Momentum Toyota, who will not be investing in Europe next year.
Teams which are ranked in the top 10 get free entries and accommodation at events. The ranking is based on the riders UCI points. As a result of the accident my season has been a disaster and I only have 15 UCI points compared to 182.5 last year. Unfortunately because of the points system teams want riders with good UCI points this season irrespective of how good you were in 2012 and how good you might be in 2014.
There are very few women’s teams that are able to pay salaries and many girls who want to race. Some girls receive support from their federation or are still young enough to live at home with their families. If you don’t have outstanding results then teams would prefer to take riders who they don’t have to pay. I don’t get any federation support and have to support myself so I have to be able to earn something from riding to pay my expenses.
There is also a UCI rule that the average age of a women’s UCI team has to be below 25. I’m already 39 which also makes me less attractive to teams."
If anyone ever wonders why people complain so much about the UCI, this is a clear example of how the rules and their mis-management of the women’s sport actively hurts riders’ careers. I really feel for Sharon, she’s been such a great rider, I don’t want to see her cycling career finish on a low.
I am not a happy bunny….
"— Sharon Laws (@SharonNLaws)
So good to see Sharon back making suicide attacks, after breaking vertebrae earlier in the year!
Answers, advice to first-time Giro riders, and funny stories from Vos, Iris Slappendel, Martine Bras, Sharon Laws, Loren Rowney, Linda Villumsen and Emily Collins
As I was flying in the air I just remember thinking “where on earth did he come from?” We were going about 55kph according to my Garmin. I had hardly any road rash as I literally land like a stone. Helmet was smashed and clothes ripped. I was in absolute agony. I never realised you could hurt so much. I felt like someone had smacked me with a very large baseball bat. I had to wait over 30 minutes for an ambulance and it was one of the most horrible experiences in my life.
I fractured the L2 vertebrae (T8 and T9 were also found to be fractured but they thought these were old injuries!), broke four ribs – one in two places, six necks of the ribs, six transverse processes of thoracic vertebrae, had a comminuted fracture of the collar bone, lung haemo-pneumothorax, mild pulmonary oedema and a secondary infection in my lung."
I interviewed the incredible Sharon Laws about her horrific crash in March, and how it felt coming back to racing. Sharon is amazing - click and read!
Hope everyone who crashed today was ok, thunder and lightning and oil on descents makes it hard to stay upright #ouch— Lizzie Armitstead (@L_ArmiTstead) June 7, 2013
What a welcome back to bike racing; rain, thunder, lightening, carnage! Was happy to stay upright #officejobmoreappealingtoday— Sharon Laws (@SharonNLaws) June 7, 2013
Who made it rain soap on the Basque roads today?! Whole peloton must have come down. I downhilled like Wiggins, crashed only once, though.— Marijn de Vries (@marijnfietst) June 7, 2013
The told us the descent between 54 and 59 was dangerous but watching riders crash in every corner like thrown dice was not what I expected.— Liz Hatch (@Liz_Hatch) June 7, 2013
Never went downhill so gingerly. My a$$hole was puckered so tightly I doubt I’ll use the toilet this week.— Liz Hatch (@Liz_Hatch) June 7, 2013