Nice tongue...but no names and to team...any ideas?
Nice tongue...but no names and to team...any ideas?

Most of the images and words we see of cycling are of the men – you know, struggling heroically up a mountainside in France or Italy…sweat dripping from furrowed brows, every sinew strained to breaking point etc etc.

Too often cyclists seem like little more than whip-stick thin weird-looking creatures with strange habits and shaven bodies.

A Swiss team member struggling with the hill, the rain and the wind
A Swiss team member struggling with the hill, the rain and the wind

There is much about cycling – not least its deep undercurrents of homo-eroticism and the continued troubles it has with drugs and all manner of sophisticated medical technology – that seems just a bit too weird for a lot of us. What is it that is so attractive about watching a hundred blokes or more bobbing their skinny arses in the air?

Two British team members having a laugh...
Two British team members having a laugh...

But after spending a few days in the rust-belt city of Geelong attending the pre-events for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2010 World Road Cycling Championships (the 2010 Worlds) I have reviewed my appreciation for the sport.

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Well, at least I’ve reviewed my appreciation of one cohort of its competitors.

US team member Amber Neben of Lake Forest, CA
US team member Amber Neben of Lake Forest, CA

The women only get two big races at the 2010 Worlds – the 23km Time Trial race later today and the 127 km Road Race on Saturday.

And because Collingwood and St Kilda have apparently arranged for a repeat of last weekend’s AFL Grand Final, the crowd for the womens’ big event of the week – the Road Race from Melbourne to Geelong – looks like it will be watched by a couple of blokes and their dogs.

But for mine they deserve greater exposure than that…

A member of the Swedish team
A member of the Swedish team

So here is my small contribution to the long overdue increased exposure for the women of cycling…for mine a far more attractive proposition than watching a few skinny blokes…

A member of the Thai team
A member of the Thai team

and another...
and another...

These are some of my shots  from the few hours of course familiarisation the riders were given on Tuesday afternoon.

As you can see there was a fair bit of rain about but the sun peeked its face out from time to time…

An Australian
An Australian

and another...
and another...

I was out on the Time Trial section of the course at the eastern end of town and was able to stick my head out of the car a few times to grab some shots between squalls.

Hope you like them.

A member of the Mexican women's team
A member of the Mexican women's team

And, while I can put a name and a country to a few of the cyclists here, if you can identify those that I haven’t been able to I’d appreciate that assistance…

A Russian team member...
A Russian team member...
Canadian time-trialer
Canadian time-trialer

And if you do have any names etc that I’ve missed above please register, log on (it only takes a few seconds) and leave any information and thoughts you might have.

* The Women’s Elite Time Trial race (22.9km) is on Wednesday 29th September, starting at 3pm.

* The Women’s Elite Road Race from Melbourne to Geelong (127.2km) is on Saturday 2 October, staring at 1pm.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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