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"We parked in front of a small family’s tin hut at the start of one of the stages, and after our mechanic Adrian had set out and wiped clean all of our race Wiliers, we caught a glimpse of the daughter of the family wiping her own small rusty bike clean with a rag. Maybe that girl…or maybe the hug Carles gave me after he gave me my own El Salvador political party flags to take home as souvenirs our last night in the country might last in my heart longer. My true gratitude is this: due to new friends, my amazing team and the hospitality of a country, I didn’t have to choose between being a bike racer and a person. At least for those two weeks, I was both."

Trusting In El Salvador | Cyclingnews.com

Audio

This week’s women’s cycling podcast from Dan and me.  Dan’s description:

Podcast 2014 Episode 7 – How to Improve the Scenery in New Zealand

It’s an epic and epically rambly show this week with a discussion of the Drenthe series of races. We also talk El Salvador, cyclocross and Clara’s (Hughes that is) Big Ride. We ask you to weigh in on whether or not toasters are sexist. Sarah accuses Dan of being evil and we chat about Sarah’s podcasting exploits, cycling themed cakes, team launches, cool videos, amateur dentistry and snakes that eat crocodiles! Basically this podcast contains all the news and information you need to get you through the week! It’s a long one but we’re pretty sure you’re going to enjoy it, we sure did! (1:25:42 MIN / 82.73 MB)

Click through to our blog to find all the links to everything we talked about this time

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Twitter / KatieHall47

Best podium girl outfit EVAH!!!

1. Mara Abbott (UHPC), 2. Olga Zabelinskaya (RusVelo), 3. Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink)

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Mara Abbott (UnitedHealthcare) won the overall crown at the Vuelta a El Salvador on Sunday, a day after her impressive attack in stage 4.

Abbot, whose late surge up the San Salvador Volcano earned her the stage 4 win, stayed with her teammates during Sunday’s final stage to clinch the victory. Her teammate Hannah Barnes sprinted to a third-place result on the day.

"

Abbott clinches Vuelta a El Salvador victory - VeloNews.com

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"“We were told that the stage would be shortened by 15 kilometers and after all the finish line stayed where it had been,” RusVelo rider Olga Zabelinskaya, who finished second in the stage and kept her overall race lead, said in a team statement. “Then the information arrived that there was a media helicopter crash resulting in casualties. It came as a terrible shock to us, I’m just at a loss for words …”"

Journalist killed in helicopter crash at Vuelta a El Salvador - VeloNews.com

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Twitter / Sharon Laws

My thoughts are with his loved ones.

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Twitter / petervdveen

Stage 2 of the Vuelta El Salvador ended in chaos, with a helicopter crash. This is a race that has far too much drama - last year a car crashed into a whole Team Time Trial team - NOT a race I’d want to ride

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Stage 1
This stage was run through some of the worst traffic I have ever witnessed in a race. We come to expect this here every year but it is a small miracle everyday that we get through without getting the body bags out. That the Giro della Toscana is awarded the highest rating the UCI can bestow on an event is puzzling, to be polite.

***
On the other hand, we lost Sungeun [Gu]. She broke her bike at the 20km mark and made her way back in the bunch just as it was starting the first climb up La Molina. She got dropped again and the group she was in was pulled out of the race at the 75 km mark as the traffic made it too dangerous for them to continue. You get that around here!

***
Stage 2

Then there was the eternally bad traffic. Thankfully the bunch stayed together until the very last lap, which helped to keep all safe. Riders are telling us they are afraid to ride into corners at speed, as they do not know what awaits them around the corner. I had a word with the officials before the race and, apparently, they are aware there is a problem. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that one.

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ORICA GreenEDGE Cycling Australia : News : In His Own Words: DS Martin Barras on Toscana Stages 1 & 2

There have been a LOT of tweets from riders about how dangerous the Giro Toscana is turning out to be for riders, with lots of traffic in the race, and stupid situations that are completely unnecessary.  This is the only .HC race on the women’s calendar, and it’s unacceptable that riders are being put in danger out there.  These are the quotes from Marv Barras’ report on 2 stages, but I’ve seen this confirmed all over twitter, by lots of riders.

I’m glad teams are complaining to the race organisers, but I want a statement from them, about what they’ll do to protect riders, and I want to know what action the UCI will take - not to punish the race, but to ensure races are safe.  I mean, remember the horrible crash in the Vuelta El Salvador, when a car hit the TTT team? (video, with a trigger warning)  That’s what can happen when cars get into bike races.

Audio

Podcast 2013 Episode 4 – Love letters to the peloton

This week’s women’s cycling podcast from Dan and me!  This is how Dan describes it:

This week we catch up on racing across 3 continents, from Merco to El Salvador to the Drenthe races. It’s all kind of awesome. Dan delivers a PSA for car drivers everywhere, Sarah interviews/predicts Loes Gunnewijk to win Drenthe, along with Emma Johansson, Marijn de Vries, Marianne Vos and everyone else. There’s actually a lot that’s happened the last week and a big weekend coming up so jump on in! (1:07:02 MIN / 64.36MB)

Click through to our blog for more information, and the links to things we talked about this week

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"You know the road season has started when there’s racing on three continents!"

Racing round-up: Belgian Cup, California classic, El Salvador – Total Women’s Cycling

I’m writing a weekly racing column on Total Women’s Cycling - click through and read the first one!

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"After 8 stages of racing in 7 days, all I can think, as I reflect back, is “Did that really just happen?”"

Twitter / Amber Pierce - Vuelta El Salvador

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"White knuckle race: Being on the wheel of a Ukranian on the wheel of a Cuban on the wheel of a Brazilian. I now fear nothing in life."

Twitter / @KathrynBertine

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"Vuelta El Salvador Stage 2: Initiated my first UCI break. Didn’t last long & paid for it later on climb, but proud of the effort to try."

Twitter / @KathrynBertine

Video

Inicia Vueta Ciclista Feminina (by elsalvadorpuntocom)