Dreamy British cyclist demonstrates what to wear when it gets hot and steamy in China

Nicole Cooke may have won Olympic Gold in a downpour but she did so smothered in wet-look Lycra. This can get rather stifling in the hot and humid conditions in Beijing.

Thankfully, fellow Team GB rider Victoria Pendleton has a secret weapon up her sleeve. No sleeve. In fact, no togs at all. She plans to rule the roost at the 2008 Olympics by cycling in the nude, as this magazine cover reveals:

Want more pix of Victoria ‘pin-up’ Pendleton? There’s a photo set here. 12 fetching shots of Ms Pendleton in Jimmy Choo high heels and Amanda Wakeley designer dresses. Yet another reason China installed cold showers for Beijing’s blokes.

Well done, Nicole Cooke!

Earlier today, she won Britain’s first Gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Back in January I produced this film on the launch of Team Halfords Bikehut, a team built around Cooke:

In the audio you can hear the Welsh wonderwoman talking about her preparations for Beijing, including riding the course and visualising the victory.

World-beaters endorse powerful go-nowhere bike

British Cycling – the national federation in charge of the all-conquering trackies at the UCI Track World Championships in Manchester – is endorsing an indoor bike that measures power. The Wattbike is not so much for Team GB’s trackies – they will use hub power meters on real bikes – but the machine could spot undiscovered talent.

Rower Rebecca Romero has shown that it’s possible to successfully transition to cycling from another sport and there must be lots of gold medal prospects out there who don’t even know their power-to-weight ratio is ideal for cycling.

The Wattbike – which made its public debut at the World Track Cycling Championships in the Manchester Velodrome and which was plugged by the BBC’s excellent trackside reporter, Jill Douglas – will be rolled out at lots of non-cycling expos and events.

Software captures data 100 times per second, and offers real-time feedback across 25 different parameters for users and coaches.

“We have designed the Wattbike so that it can be used by everyone, for everything” said Dusan Adamovic, Wattbike’s Technical Director.

“We believe it will work for school children and senior citizens, cardiac rehabilitation patients and Olympic athletes. Our aim has been to create the first indoor bike that accurately measures performance. We knew the bike had to feel like cycling on the road, both on the flat and when climbing. This is why we have worked closely with British Cycling throughout the bike’s development. We share their vision of cycling being about fun and fitness, for people of all ages and abilities.”

Peter King, CEO of British Cycling, said:

“British Cycling prides itself as an organisation that operates on the cutting edge, and in Wattbike we have the perfect partner. Together, we have developed a piece of equipment that will support us in everything from increasing participation to underpinning our World Class Pathways and International success. The Wattbike will provide a positive benefit to every level of the sport by linking indoor and outdoor cycling and helping us continue to make a substantial contribution to the health, education, participation and performance agendas.”

David Brailsford, British Cycling Performance Director, said:

“The GB Cycling Team have played an important role in the development of the Wattbike to ensure that it is capable of supporting and making a valuable contribution to our World Class programmes. The Wattbike is already assisting the GB Cycling Team in identifying our future stars and its potential in terms of indoor competition in schools and clubs can only be positive in terms of the number of young people coming into the sport in the future.”

Why does Murray’s wrist get more coverage than Cooke’s win?

To mark tomorrow’s International Women’s Day, the House of Lords yesterday held a debate about women’s rights, including women’s access to sport.

Lib dem peer Lord Addington said: “I have been provided with figures from the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation. Only 5 per cent of sports coverage is given to women’s sport and there is still no woman professional player in a team sport in this country.

“In some papers, the closest that you come to women in sport during the winter season…is the WAGs syndrome. Whether X’s wife is going to leave him after a drunken night out seems to be about as close as we come to seriously covering women in sport.

“I think that it is sad that…only 20 per cent of women take enough exercise. At the very least, there is a huge on-cost to the Department of Health.

“What pressure are the Government putting on the media, especially the public-access media, to give more attention to women’s sport generally? When will we pay attention to those who succeed in their own fields?

“A classic example was when Nicole Cooke recently won the French cycling tour. On the same day, [tennis player] Andrew Murray received a minor injury to his wrist. She won; he might have won. I suggest that some attention should be given to this problem.”

Lord Addington is right, the British media largely ignores women cyclists. But not The Observer. Last Sunday’s edition is already a collector’s issue for male and lesbian cycle sport fans: the Sport Monthly mag, in a homage to a famous Lance Armstrong cover pic, featured Victoria Pendleton in the buff on her bike.

Despite picking up the 2007 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award in November, Ms Pendleton did not make the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

She told The Times: “‘You have to be realistic. I’d love to be more famous, have lots of people supporting me, people knowing my name, but I need a tennis racket, or a golf club, or to play football. Being a female I don’t stand a chance.”

Want more pix of Victoria ‘pin-up’ Pendleton? There’s a photo set here. Click ‘multimedia’ for 12 shots of Ms Pendleton in designer glamourwear. The pix also feature British Cycling’s £12,000 track bike.

QR.tv’s vodcasts are back!

If you’re a subscriber to the Quickrelease.tv video podcasts you won’t have had any fresh vids since November. Sorry about that, I’ve been busy on a whole load of other projects.

To make up for it, I’ve today posted two videos. They were both done on lo-res video cameras but look really good on an iPod screen. The first video is a better quality version of the Nicole-Cooke-at-the-Team-Halfords-Bikehut launch which I published to YouTube yesterday. Watch until the end for the arrival of bike cops, preventing BBC TV news reporter James Munroe from filming in the Royal Parks.

The other video is a sub-30 second short called SMIDSY (sorry, mate, I didn’t see you). I published a lower quality version of this to YouTube a few days ago. For the iPod version (ie not available on the Quickrelease.tv YouTube channel) I’ve now added a little bit of extra footage of the LED-clad cyclist and also changed the music. It’s now set to Tchaikovsky’s Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite.

Click to open the Quickrelease.tv podcast on iTunes. The .M4v files can also be played directly here. Playback requires Quicktime. The SMIDSY video is here.

There’s also an audio-only podcast from the press conference, available as an MP3 here or via iTunes. Audio features interviews with Chris Boardman (talking about new elite, time trial frame etc) and Paul McClenaghan on Halfords, plus the press conference speeches of Nicole Cooke and Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling.

Eurosport to televise Women’s World Cup

With the current mess in men’s pro-cycling it will be a refreshing change to watch women’s cycling instead. Eurosport is to televise the final two hours of the next round the Women’s World Cup series.

Welsh wonderwoman Nicole Cooke, last year’s winner of the series, is in the lead of this year’s event, too. She races for the Raleigh Lifeforce squad. Here’s a quick view of her on the Muur of Geraardsbergen, leading the Women’s Tour of Flanders, 2007:

The next race in the World Cup series takes place on 1st September in northwest France, at the GP de Plouay. More details on Womenscycling.net.