Nicole Hanselmann downplays importance of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad incident
Mar 10 2019 02:52 am CET

Nicole Hanselmann downplays importance of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad incident
Nicole Hanselmann downplays importance of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad incident
Bigla Team

Bigla's Nicole Hanselmann has become famous in the world for catching the men's race at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The rider was forced to stop and the women's competition was neutralised while the other peloton moved away.

Hanselmann launched an early attack at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and managed to catch the back part of the peloton of the men's race. The women's race was neutralised in a move that has been labelled worldwide as part of the inequality between both genders in the sport, but the rider said that it was only bad planning.

The rider talked to the Olympic Channel about her feelings at the moment and inequality between men and women in cycling. "I felt a bit sad because I was in a really good flow at that moment," she commented. "But now, I'm actually quite easy about it. I'm not angry. Maybe they just need to put more time in between the men's and the women's race. I don't know.

"Actually, much progress has been made to treat us more equal. We had team presentations at the same time, they mixed up the men's and women's teams together. And we have similar starting times which is nice for us so we get more publicity. I think it was a really well-organised race and they just made a mistake in planning. I think it's nice for the women to get similar publicity and race close to the men."

Hanselmann thinks that races like the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad give women's cycling the visibility that is needed. "If you just turn on the TV you only see men's races," the Swiss rider commented. "Sometimes there are highlights from the women's races.

"But mostly we have different races in different places, different dates. Actually, it helps us to have races like this when we start together."

But the rider sees a bright future for the women in the sport. "I think generally it's in a changing process now," she explained. "You see there are more men's teams involved in women's teams and it's getting more together right now. But I'm an athlete so I'm not that much involved in the process.

"It's kind of difficult because we have different races, different distances. So if we get more similar races, same sections in the race, it helps us a lot to close this gap and I think we are on the right track."




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