If Team Sky is about inspiring participation, why no women?

Dave Brailsford in a BBC interview says that the Team Sky project is all about inspiring participation.

But I keep on coming back to the same question I asked back at the Worlds in September: where are the women?

It’s not like there aren’t great squads that could do with a sponsor and come ready formed. Say, for example, Equipe NÜRNBERGER Versicherung who have just folded due to their new sponsor running away at the last moment.

Take a look at some of the riders on their 2009 team roster and factor in that Nicole Cooke was due to ride for them in 2010.

Actually, let’s go back to the basics of a team with a British core: Lizzie Armitstead has moved teams this season, along with Sharon Laws, to join Emma Pooley at Cervelo.

Pooley’s pretty happy where she is, but if you say the other two were on the market along with Cooke and all the riders in her now defunct Vision 1 Racing team, then it’s not hard to assemble a race-winning roster of a dozen or so riders without having to look too hard.

Throw in a good handful of young British riders who could benefit from the development opportunity with 2012 in mind and it’s looking pretty progressive.

But given that both Vision 1 and Nurnberger have gone under for want of a sponsor, perhaps women’s cycling is still at an awkward chicken/egg stage where it needs a raised profile to attract committed sponsors but can’t raise that profile without committed sponsors.

I’ve spent the last year or so trying to do something about the profile by writing about women’s cycling where I can but it’s tough to get race information without being at the races, something no one is currently willing to pay me to do.

One solution would be more races organised alongside the higher profile men’s ones, like they do at the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold. Then there’d be no excuse for journalists not having access and the ability to cover the races.

So what are your thoughts on the lack of a Team Sky women’s squad and how women’s cycling can raise its profile?

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