For the 2nd year running, The Sufferfest is the Official Sponsor of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup. But this year, we’re really focusing on The Suffering with the introduction of The Suffer Prize.
Absolutely unique in the world of cycling – men’s or women’s – The Suffer Prize is awarded to the rider in each round of The World Cup who best demonstrates the Sufferlandrian values of riding through PAIN, MISERY and AGONY in the pursuit of HONOUR, GLORY and VICTORY. The judging panel is made up of the TV production team, the Chief Commissaire, the Race Director and the UCI. After all 10 rounds of the World Cup, the Sufferlandrian community will be able to vote upon which rider deserves the $1,000 USD CASH PRIZE for ‘EPIC MOMENT OF SUFFERING.’
Race: Sparkassen Giro (2 Aug 2015)
Winner: Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Rabo-Liv team.
Story: Katarzyna is a 22 year-old climber from Poland who is currently leading the Young Rider classification of the 2015 UCI Women’s World Cup. She put in a surprising performance on a course that would normally not suit a climber like her: multi-lap, flat, full of sharp corners and with only one 600 meter steep climb. Nonetheless, Niewiadoma launched herself to the front of the peloton numerous times causing the group to break apart not only on the climb but also on the flat sections.
“It was not my kind of race, but I enjoyed my work: to make it hard on the climb, attacking on every lap. For sure I Suffered – I think I Suffer more in these kinds of races than in hilly ones, so, yes, I Suffered a lot.”Full race report here.
Winner: Lizzie Williams, Orica-AIS
Story: Williams crashed twice and had two mechanicals. She twice battled her way back from the caravan to the bunch before ultimately withdrawing because she was out of bikes to ride. Not only that, after she completed her interview for The Suffer Prize, she discovered that her team had left without her and she was forced to find her own way home.
“It was probably the worst day on the bike that I’ve ever had, but you have to take the good with the bad in this sport. I had a bad day and hopefully tomorrow will be sunshine and no crashes. You’ve got to get back. You can’t give up. If you’re going to give up, you might as well not be here. I’ve come all the way from Australia. I’m not going to give up just because I have a tumble. I got to the front and hit the cobbles tenth wheel, feeling really positive, and 500 metres later my derallieur broke off and snapped into my back wheel. That was the end of my day. I had no bikes left. I had two bikes and they were both broken.”
Lizzie’s interview is at minute 5:35 in the video to the right.
Winner: Jolanda Neff, Swiss National Team
Story: Neff, the World Champion in MTB, racing in her first ever Road World Cup, made it into the final break of six. She was dropped on the big climb before the finish, chased back gloriously with 1k to go and then attacked for the sprint.
“It was very new for me. (As a MTB World Champion), my races are normally 90 minutes and this was 3 hours. The suffering was most in the climbs – especially on the last lap when there were riders off the front. I really tried to hold onto a wheel and really tried to keep in touch – that was definitely my Suffer moment.”
Winner: Annemiek Van Vleuten, Bigla Pro Cycling
Story: She attacked, rode solo for 10k, got caught on a climb, fought to hang on, recovered and then attacked again in the final to finish 4th at The Tour of Flanders.
“They caught me and I was already in front and I was – really Suffering there to hang on because I wanted to go over the top alone, but then they came over me and that was really hard. “
Winner: Luxembourg National Champion Christine Majerus, Boels-Domans
Story: As a domestique, Christine’s job was clear: get to the front of the group and SUFFER – setting a high pace to bring back a break and control the peloton. Not only did she do that, but she also won TWO Queen of the Mountain primes!
“It was a tough day – I had to work for my two leaders. It’s all about finding the right speed…as I have to keep going and do it again and again — at 90k I was empty. I know I do it for a good reason and so I’m a happy domestique today!”
Winner: Hongyu Liang, China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling
Story: This is the only World Cup her team gets to participate and one of the few races where she gets to race against the top riders in the world. She was the most active rider in the race, launching several attacks and being brought back by the peloton. She rode in front of the race for her team captain and Chinese national champion. She finally succeeded to break away when a rider attacked and she managed to bridge. They worked together for about 20km, forcing the peloton to increase the pace and chase them. They were caught 5km to the finish, with the race ended in a bunch sprint.
“It’s not easy to stay in front of such a strong peloton, it was hurting a lot. Getting this prize in such a great race is a very good achievement for all my hard training and a source of motivation for the future.”
Winner: Charlotte Becker, Hitech products
Story: Charlotte was always on or near the front, and pushing to get away. This was a race where riders were marking each other a lot in order not to let the favorites get away, whilst being careful not to show their hand too early. Becker didn’t care about hiding and was in a couple of breaks early on. She was one of four riders that got a good gap on the penultimate lap, and then again on the last lap she rode away from the pack and went solo for about half a lap. She was really aggressive all day and finished off with an impressive solo effort.
Winner: Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Rabo-Liv team
Story: Katarzyna is a 22 year-old climber from Poland who is currently leading the Young Rider classification of the 2015 UCI Women’s World Cup. She was awarded the Suffer Prize by The Sufferfest for a surprising performance in a course that would normally not suit her. The race is a typical city course: multi-lap, flat, full of sharp corners with only one 600 meter steep climb. A sprinter’s paradise. Niewiadoma launched herself to the front of the peloton numerous times causing the peloton to break not only at the climb but also on flat sections. Happy to be recognized by her suffering, she said that fast and chaotic races like that are not her favorite, but she enjoyed that one very much because of the mission that was given to her (to make it a very hard race attaching on the climbs) and for accomplishing it.
Winner: Amanda Spratt, AIS-Orica
Story: Amanda had a clear mission in the Vargarda World Cup: Make it a very tough race for the other teams. And why did she receive this mission? Simple: to put her team mate, Swedish National Champion Emma Johansson, in the best possible position to win her home World Cup. Unfortunately tactics didn’t work in Emma’s favor, but we saw a very strong Amanda giving her everything at every possible opportunity and causing chaos in the peloton and damage to herself and others for the sake of an exciting race.
“I Suffered a lot out there today. My role today was to make it as hard as possible once we got to those seven finishing circuits. I had to pick my moments and keep attacking. I did Suffer – I stopped looking at my HR as it was maxing out…I was chewing a fair bit of handlebar out there!”
Winner: Evelyn Stevens, Boels-Dolmans
Story: The final World Cup round was made for Evelyn Stevens – exciting, full of tough climbs where all you need is power and boldness to attack. And that’s what Evie did: she attacked, and attacked and attacked again. Her teammate from Boels Dolmans, Lizzie Armitstead (who eventually won the race and the World Cup title) said before the start that the team’s tactics were to win the race, it didn’t matter with which rider. Stevens took that to action and, after launching herself to the front on every climb, finished among a small group and celebrating her team mate’s win.
“The plan was to make it really aggressive. Once I started going, might as well keep going until I can’t go any more. I attacked, got dropped, came back, attacked, got dropped, came back attacked….I suffered quite a bit. But that’s what bike racing is. If I don’t suffer at the end, then I don’t think I worked hard enough.”
Suffering is a highly subjective state of being – nonetheless, we love figuring out how Suffered more than the others. To determine who wins The Suffer Prize each race, a jury of four individuals (the chief commissaire, the TV director, a V2 executive (UCI media crew) and a UCI representative) picks a winner based on the following criteria:
The winner is announced 10 minutes before the end of the race.
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