Roundup: Women’s MTB Wednesdays – Issue 6

Welcome to issue six of the Women’s Wednesday roundup, a regular roundup of some of the most notable achievements by women in the cycling world. We want to showcase all the women working to advance our sport, so we plan to share news, race results, our favorite video clips, and more. You can help us find more content from radiant women by using the #PBWMN Instagram tag.

News

The countdown is on for the first Downhill World Cup at the end of the month in Lourdes so we’ve probably seen the last of the team announcements by now. Some of the more notable moves include Loana Lecomte signing with Canyon, Katy Winton returning to a factory program with GT after a year as a privateer, Mille Johnset signing with Commencal 100%, Bex Baraona moving from Ibis to Yeti, and Junior World champion Izabela Yankova signs with Specialized.

We also saw Frida Ronning join The Union, Louise Ferguson take a ride with Nukeproof, Jenny Rissveds and Team 31 switch to Ibis bikes from Specialized, Morgane Jonnier sign with Rossignol, Haley Smith on a new program with Maxxis, Isla Short on a program self-managed with Hunt Wheels and Juliana Bicycles, Raphaela Richter joining the Ibis Factory team, junior racer Vanesa Petrovskas joining the UR team, Hanna Steinthaler joining the Cube Actionteam and Haley Batten signing with Specialized Factory Racing. You can see a full list of all team changes here.

Rachel Atherton has announced she is planning her comeback after injuring her Achilles in 2019 and giving birth to daughter Arna. We can’t wait to see her again between the bands! Someone we won’t see between the World Cup strips this year is American racer Lea Davison, who has retired from international XC racing after a career that began nearly 20 years ago.

The Freeride Mountain Bike Association has announced the addition of the FMB World Tour women’s division and the Red Bull Best Line women’s competition this 2022 season in an effort to provide more opportunities for female freeride athletes. You can read all the details here.

In non-racing news, if you haven’t watched Jill Kintner’s “Bandit Hill” creative animation, give her a watch. The project showcases his ride while creatively telling a magical little story about the creatures in his Red Bull helmet coming to life.

The dialogue surrounding mental health, eating disorders and women’s health has never been more dynamic. Both Evie Richards and Isla Short have opened up in interviews about eating disorders and the pressures of cross-country racing, while the former World Cup cross-country racer and current cyclo -cross Maghalie Rochette created the Menstrual Health Podcast Series in partnership with Rapha on women’s health on working with the menstrual cycle and female physiology. One of her guests on the show is 2021 XC World Cup winner Haley Batten.


Chelsea Kimball looked more than comfortable in the air at Freeride Fiesta. Photos by Jose Duch.

Races and Events

The year kicked off with the Freeride Fiesta where we saw Chelsea Kimball, Hannah Bergemann, Camila Nogueira, CJ Selig, Sierrah Umhauser, Brooke Trine and Ana Julia Gutierrez riding the massive course.

The Australian National Championships took place at the end of last month, with Rebecca McConnell winning an incredible 16th Australian National title with nine consecutive Elite National victories. Ellie Smith won the National Elite Women’s title with a victory of just 0.43 over 2021 champion Sian A’Hern. In New Zealand, it was Sammie Maxwell who became the 2022 National Elite XC Champion, while Jess Blewitt and Jenna Hastings won the Elite and Junior DH titles respectively.

On the XC side, Jolanda Neff won the Internacionales XCO Chelva, while her Trek teammate Evie Richards won the Copa Catalana Internacional Banyoles.

The World Cup DH races will start on March 26 in Lourdes, while the World Cup XC schedule will start on April 8 in Petropolis, Brazil. As for the Enduro World Series, that will begin on June 4 where the season ended in the Tweed Valley.

Alicia Leggett has curated a great roundup of runners to watch in 2022. While our race prediction crystal ball isn’t always correct, she made some guesses about which runners might be the next rising stars and athletes to watch in the coming months as we look forward to getting back to racing. Last year we put our money on Hattie Harnden, among others, and she had an amazing 2021 where she became the youngest female EWS winner in history.


Technology

We’ll have more bike checks as soon as the racing season really begins, but in the meantime Christina Chappetta traveled to Bellingham to ride with Hannah Bergemann and check out her Transition TR11, Liv released a 29er version of their trail bike Embolden value, and HKT Protect announced a range of products in collaboration with Veronique Sandler.

Video: A Day with Hannah Bergemann – Pro Bike Check & Interview
Liv launches the 29 version of the Embolden Value trail bike
HKT Protect Announces Vero Sandler Collab Product Line


Podcasts

There’s nothing quite like getting to know someone or exploring a topic during a long interview. Here are some of the podcasts we’ve listened to recently.

Miranda Miller on the Brett Tippie Podcast
Podcast: Harriet Burbridge on Manifesting Your Own Results, Crankworx and Women’s Mountain Biking
Fever Talk by Maghalie Rochette: Menstrual Health Series – How to have a healthy and regular cycle? with Dr. Georgie Bruinvels and Olympian Haley Batten
Podcast: Abby Hogie on Downhill, Women in Sport and Team Beyond Racing


Interviews

Interview: Isla Short on her progress, feedback from XC, eating disorders, endometriosis, and more.
Interview: Evie Richards – From Eating Disorders and Anxiety to Rainbow Stripes
Meet the 7 women who send Freeride Fiesta
Getting to Know: Junior World DH Champion and Val di Sole’s Wyn TV Privateer of the Week – Izabela Yankova
Interview: Vali Höll reflects on his winning season – “I don’t want to need luck to win a race”


Videos


Social Highlights

As always, there’s a lot to celebrate right now, and we love to see it. We’ve shared some of our social media favorites below and keep scoring #pbwmn on Instagram to help us find more content from all the rad ladies out there!

Celebrating all the runners who work together to advance our sport. Don’t forget to use #PBWMN on Instagram so that we can find your content and interact with it. We can’t wait to share some of our favorites on our social media and in our women’s roundups.

Wiley C. Thompson