Emma Pooley also claims no individuals at British Cycling should be subject to sexism accusations

Emma Pooley says that the reaction on Twitter to Pete Kennaugh’s tweets saying that no one cared about the women’s Giro d’Italia is evidence that people actually do want to watch more women’s cycling.

Responding to Pooley’s comments in a Guardian article which questioned why Sky didn’t also create a leading women’s team that could have helped her to win the Giro d’Italia Femminile, Kennaugh said that Sky wouldn’t financially back such a team because it is a race that “absolutely no one in the UK has absolutely no idea about.”

The two-time and current British road race champion has since deleted his tweets and issued an apology.

“The response to what Pete Kennaugh said on Twitter was people saying that they do care about women’s cycling and they want to see more of it and that’s exactly the point of it [her comments],” Pooley told Cycling Weekly on the eve of the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire, the first road race she has competed in since winning silver at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

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“The point is not whether I would have won it or not, it’s whether little girls are watching cycling and are inspired to go cycling. The point is the trickle down effect of grassroots sport.

“He is welcome to his opinion. The response to what he said was more educational and said more than what he said himself.”

Pooley finished second on GC in both the 2011 and 2012 Giro before winning three stages on 2014. She told the Guardian that Sky should have set up a women’s team to go alongside the men’s WorldTour outfit, but believes her comments were distorted.

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“I felt I was misrepresented in the article because it made out that I was angry that I never got the support to win the Giro,” she said.

“That wasn’t the point I was trying to make. I was trying to give a counter example to the men’s Tour de France and the Sky team, in the fact that there wasn’t a women’s one.

“But it made out that I was like ‘I wanted to win the Giro, [but] no one give me support’ but that wasn’t what I was trying to say.

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“The comments I made in the press was that I do think there was an unfairness and discrepancy with the general support of the road squad.

“For a while there wasn’t a women’s development team – even though I would never have raced in a U23 squad because I only started when I was 22 – but I thought on principle that Sky should have supported a women’s team as well.

“I said that in 2012 as well and I wasn’t only the one; I wasn’t some kind of mad radical.  A lot of people questioned why there wasn’t a women’s team and I think the question has to be asked of the people who ran the Sky team and British Cycling.”

After a week of sexism and discrimination allegations against British Cycling and its staff, Pooley – who is targeting selection for this year’s time trial at the Rio Olympics – was keen on emphasising that she had never encountered sexism from the national governing body’s staff.


She added: “That [sexism] is not an accusation you can level at any individual coach or scientist at British Cycling. They all do a brilliant job. They really don’t care what’s under your skinsuit, they just want you to win a medal.

“I have never felt that British Cycling was sexist in what they offered me in terms of support for the Olympics. I just think that, though it sounds heartless, they just care about medals. That’s their job description.”

  • Gary Jogela

    He would only have noticed the blokes in it probably (sorry,only just read article)

  • NitroFan

    I agree so apparently do the ASO! Shame about the plane this weekend but at least some steps in the right direction. Chapeau Mr Prudhomme

  • Chris Williams

    I watched London (think last year) it was all one have a go for about 50m look back and sit up, then someone else does the exact same thing etc etc – totally bored.

  • The Awakening

    If we want more and more people to ride bikes, then it is IMPORTANT to support Women’s Cycle Racing.

    Women and young girls need to have their role models and heroes as well.

  • John

    Slightly sad. Give it a fair trial – I believe that women’s racing is generally less likely to descend into the sort of negative tactics which have become too common in mens’ racing. I’m not saying it never happens, but attacking racing seems more prevalent with the lasses. Just promise yourself that you’ll watch half a dozen races with an open mind before you make a decision. I certainly feel that, for some reason, the womens races at the olympics and worlds seem to be more entertaining most years.

  • Stevie

    The ‘twitter outrage’ will be focused on another so called scandal in a day or two once this is old news. People like to show support for causes on social media for likes, follows and retweets. Its all in the name of boosting their ego and deemed social worth.

    I hope that the hole left by Sutton’s departure can be filled with someone who is capable and experienced enough to pull it off. The worst thing BC could do is just to put a woman into the role who doesn’t have the relevant experience just to appease people.

    Investment is needed at school level to boost participation in womens cycling. Spending money at grass roots would be far better than televising as much womens cycling as possible.

  • Chris Williams

    Agree with lots of people on here – no interest in women’s racing – Twitter is not be all and end all to people views

  • Stevo

    Your loss, I reckon.

    What do you make of mixed events, e.g. Egmond-Pier-Egmond, where Marianne Vos finished ahead of Laurens Ten Dam in 2013?

  • Joe Morris

    I have watched and followed cycling for over 40 years and have no interest in watching woman’s racing.

  • Cricket21

    It would be great so see more Women’s racing.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    Hi Lee, yeah wasn’t very convincing.

  • Lee Wingate

    Eerrr…. No it doesn’t!