Equal Time.

Last week I wrote about the Olympic gold medal and approaching retirement of Fabian Cancellara. In the interest of fairness (and to avoid any Title IX litigation), I should also mention that Evelyn Stevens is also retiring at the end of the season.
If your first response is, "who?".... well, first off, you suck. Read up, you dolt. There are literally a million articles out there about her. She was one of the personalities and compelling stories that helped elevate women's professional cycling from "footnote" to "just above the footnotes". Much more needs to be done, but things are moving in a positive direction.
If Evie (I can use the overly familiar nickname because I am a super-important cycling blogger who has never had the pleasure of meeting her) was just a compelling story used in a NBC Sports "human interest" manner, I wouldn't mention her. Sorry, don't care.
However, she has the palmar├Ęs to justify the attention she's received. In other words, she's pretty awesome. Maybe not at the Marianne Vos level of awesome (again, if you don't know, fuck you), but pretty darn awesome. You have to be to be the current world hour record holder, medal multiple times at the World Championships, win a bunch of major races, and help teammates win a bunch more. All kinds of awesome.
That she rose in the manner she did, rather than from some cycling-centric environment, likely was inspiring for a lot of women (and men), getting them to give road cycling a shot. It made the sport more accessible, and showed anything was possible. Of course, that plot line ignores that she was a genetic monster with untapped potential, but it's a nice story, and if it motivates people to ride I'm all for it.
If men's cycling took a hit with Cancellara's retirement, women's cycling took a far larger hit with Steven's. I can only hope that the growth seen over the time she was in the peloton continues, and new riders step forward to fill her shoes.
They may not be very big shoes, but they were really awesome shoes.


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