What makes a good team in pro cycling and why it’s hard for female cyclists to make a living plus the benefits of compression tights and advice on sport psychology
Off the Front is presented by Elizabeth Emery
Team Sunweb road racer Coryn Rivera has enjoyed an absolutely stellar spring and recently extended her contract for another three years. Having turned professional at the age of 16, she has been racing for 14 years. During that time, in four cycling disciplines (road, track, cyclocross, and mountain biking) she has won 71 U.S. National Championships. This year she won the Tour of Flanders, making her the first American ever – male or female – to win the prestigious classic. She talks about racing in Europe, team dynamics, equity in the sport, and being a Filipeno-American female athlete.
Julie Emmerman has a degree in Clinical and Sport Psychology and shares her insight into team dynamics among other things. She works with professional and amateur athletes of all ages as well as with non-athletes undergoing life transitions. Julie started racing mountain bikes as a doctoral candidate and now races professionally on the road. Her current team is Visit Dallas/DNA Womens UCI Professional Cycling Team
Lisa Hunt is an expert on the benefits of compression. She is the North West Territory Manager of 2XU, which offers world-leading performance and compression apparel. Lisa explains how and why compression works and the 2XU products she thinks most suitable for cyclists.
Podcast length: 46′ 41″
More Off the Front episodes here
Coryn Rivera on how she joined Team Sunweb and why it’s a good fit for her:
“The team has been talking to me the last couple of years and seen what I’ve done here in Europe and my talents back at home but I wasn’t quite ready to make the jump over because I was still finishing college at Marion University. So the timing was just right this year to go full on with a European schedule not that I graduated last December.
We all have the same goals or the same vision for the day or the long term or for the race. It makes everything really easy and there’s clearly a good chemistry within the team too regardless of language or where we come from or our age we are all usually on the same page and I think that goes to show in our performance on the road when it’s the moment and not much communication is needed between teammates because we all kind of get it and we’re all on the same page. It’s a really special feeling and I don’t think it happens often and everywhere so I think it’s all pretty amazing for us all to click in the first year.
Coryn also shares her thoughts on the challenges facing female cyclists and what could be done to improve their status:
“We sacrifice just as much if not more than the men and I don’t think we race any less than them as far as effort goes. And we’re having longer distances in our races and we race hard and there’s a lot of team work involved. It’s hard sometimes when you see like at Flanders, which is one of the most prestigious road races on the calendar where the winner or the men’s race wins 20,000 Euros and the winner of the women’s race makes 11,000 Euros. You still have to split that with your teammates and as a female you’re pretty much left with nothing and you didn’t work any less because of that number. So it’s a bit frustrating and hard to make a living at this sport depending where you’re at and I feel there should be a minimum wage where you’re able to live and you can actually call it a profession. For female cycling at the moment I think half of it is still a hobby and people ride for free so that they can have an opportunity to just race. So I think it’s a really touchy subject and I think things are moving in the right direction but a bit slower than everyone would like but there are a lot of things within the sport that can be improved.
“I think there needs to be better regulation between the UCI and the teams that can be called a professional team, that you’re treating your riders well, and that your riders are happy and they are well taken care of and this is actually a profession. That’s one angle and then exposure with the media. What I hear most is that people want to watch our races more. It’s hard when people want to stay informed and involved when really there’s no information about what’s going on while we’re racing super hard.”
Julie Emmerman on Hear Her Sports
Coryn Rivera on Facebook and Instagram & Twitter @corynrivera