Cecilie Ludwig praises OVO tour for attitude towards women's cycling
Danish cyclist Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig believes the women's event is riding high - and handed out special praise for the world championships in Yorkshire and the OVO Energy Women's Tour.
The 24-year-old, who finished 30th in the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in September, one place ahead of Britain's Lizzie Deignan, was overwhelmed by the crowds that turned out.
Speaking at the Rouleur Classic in London this weekend, she said: "Holy moly, there were lots of people watching it.
"Lucky for us there were plenty of people on the road. I love it when there are loads of people out there cheering, so that was really cool."
Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten won the race, while Ludwig's compatriot Mads Pedersen took victory in the men's race.
The Dane also hailed the OVO Energy Women's Tour, which has now been held in the UK for the past six years and consisted of six stages in 2019.
It has been a part of the UCI Women's WorldTour since 2016 and has had an equal prize fund for men and women for the last two editions, increasing from €35,000 to €90,000.
"The OVO women's tour is one of the greatest examples of the organisers wanting women's cycling" she said.
"They are extremely good at knocking on doors and schools and making people in the area aware that there is a women's cycling event passing by, to go out and cheer!
Ludwig is known within the cycling community as one of the most flamboyant characters in the peloton - her post-race interviews going viral because of her outpouring of emotion after big results.
But the rising star, who finished third at La Course and the Tour of Flanders in 2019, insists she is simply being herself.
"I don't think too much about it (the fame). People who know me know that I'm a bit crazy, but in a good way. It's just because I'm comfortable in front of a camera and then I'm just being myself - it comes pretty natural. I don't think 'I have to put on a show now'," she added.
"There will always be someone who is negative. You can't make everyone happy, you're not an avocado! I'm just trying to be who I am, take it or leave it."
Ludwig also thinks it would be good for the women to have a personality like Peter Sagan from the men's side of the sport - the three-time world champion who has become the face of cycling in recent years.
"I think it would cool to have a female Peter Sagan. Everyone loves him, he can do so much, he's an artist on the bike. So he's good and fun. I think that could be good for women's cycling," she said.
In order to further her career the youngster has moved to FDJ Nouvelle Acquitaine-Futuroscope for the 2020 season after three years with Bigla Pro Cycling.
And while she has challenged for a number of the biggest races on the calendar, Ludwig believes she still has a little way to go before she challenges the very elite in the peloton.
"If I want to be amongst Annemiek and those really top riders then I need to improve. But that's a good thing. It's good to have a goal and improve year by year.
"I needed a new environment and inspiration to develop as a cyclist. I still feel I've got a lot to learn because there is not one area where I feel like I've learnt it all.
"I guess I am still young. Annemiek started cycling really late and she's crazy good. For me it's good to start early and I've got many good years to come.
"Flanders is one of my favourite races, I think that would be iconic to win. But every woman wants to win that race, so it's going to be super hard."
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