There are many ways to approach a race. You can sit in the pack, and save your energy for the final sprint, you can be the one who chases down attacks to keep the race together – or you can be the one who attacks.
All too often we’re told ‘women never attack to get away’ or ‘they never have the confidence to keep pushing, attacks are always caught’ – it’s a frustrating story to hear and it’s just not true – certainly at an elite level.
Tempting as it is to sit in the bunch, it’s not wholly rewarding – especially if it turns out everyone else has the jump on you in the sprint. Which is why we liked the sound of Alexis Ryan’s appraoch for the Lotto Belgium Tour.
"It’s far more rewarding to be a catalyst than a passive participant."
The four day Lotto Belgium Tour will be the final stage race of the season for Ryan’s team – Canyon//SRAM. Describing her intentions for the race – she said: "My goal for the Lotto Belgium Tour is to not wait for race-winning opportunities but create them. One thing I've learned from being on this team is that it's far more rewarding to be a catalyst than a passive participant."
It's not the first time we've been bowled over by Ryan's thoughtful approach to life and racing - when we interviewed her at the start of the season her words around fighting for the chances you want in life really inspired us.
Discussing the job in hand in Belgium, Ryan added: "I'm expecting this race to have a similar dynamic to those in the Spring, where hopefully I can showcase my strengths."
Ryan performed brilliantly in the early season spring races, and is therefore looking forward to returning to the terrain she seems so suited to, adding: "The Spring races in Belgium are my bread and butter. I'm focused on finishing the season off strong."
The race kicks off with a 4.27km prologue today, then there will be two flat sages and a final hilly stage around the city of Geraardsbergen. Canyon//SRAM’s roster includes Lisa Brennauer, Barbara Guarischi and Mieke Kröger, Alexis Ryan, Tiffany Cromwell and Hannah Barnes.
You can follow the race via the tag #LottoBelgiumTour and Canyon//SRAM will share updates from their own tag @wmncycling.