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22 Jun ’11 Comments (55) Adventures, Cycling Tips, Recently Spotted, Women's Cycling

The Bike Industry Needs More Women Like Liz Hatch

Liz Hatch Photo
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The name Liz Hatch is a sensitive subject in the women’s cycling peloton .  The sexy blonde has made many pro women cringe.  Last year I mentioned her name during an interview with Team Vera Bradley and they weren’t happy.  Why?  Some call her a wanna be. Not fast enough to compete with the great girls.  Some call her a sand bagger.

Here’s my personal take on Liz Hatch

People tune in to the sport to watch her.  They want her autograph.  How many female cyclist have hit the pages of Maxim?  Guys drool over her and line the streets of the races she partakes in.   On one flip of the coin you could say this is a negative spin, but for me I encourage it.   She flaunts her good looks and is proud as a good looking female.  Who cares if she isn’t the fastest in the peloton?  She’s out there and could kick my butt.  She is the only female cyclist I know of with 11k+ followers on Twitter. We need women like Liz Hatch for more people to be interested in cycling as sport, where do we find them?Liz Hatch Photo

Is Liz Hatch different than women’s beach volleyball?

When you think of beach volleyball, you think of women in small bikini’s throwing themselves across the sand.  Normally they are tan and in great shape. The fact they are normally 6ft+ doesn’t hurt. Guys tune into this.  Girls idolize this.

Going back, there was Marla Streb.  She was a killer fast mountain biker with long hair and a killer smile.  One of the first of her kind in mountain biking. On her book she posed naked with her hair flowing. Did she sell out? I don’t think so, she harnessed and utilized her femininity to sell books and get more women on bikes.

What do you think?  Where could the bike industry be if we had more pretty icons in the peloton?

 

55 Responses to The Bike Industry Needs More Women Like Liz Hatch

  1. R.White says:

    Most sports have the same thing – a particularly marketable attractive female athlete that isn’t the best in the sport but is the one that draws the most attention, brings in fans that otherwise wouldn’t be there, gets lots of endorsements, spreads the word about the sport, etc.

    Danica Patrick in Indy Car Racing, Anna Kournikova in tennis, and Natalie Gulbis in pro golf are good examples on the ladies side. They get the sport extra attention, new fans, and provide a marketing boost.

    If they are genuine athletes in the sport, and get more people interested, then GREAT!

    • Shifter Not Fixer says:

      I see this argument a lot, about each sport having it’s hot chick, and that is great! It engages a broader range of public in the fringe of that said sport.

      You bring up an interesting point with Danica and Anna, because they were both, at one time, highly ranked individuals in their given sport. Let’s look at Danica- 4th at her first Indy500, races against men, is probably my vote for most talented in terms of pure sporting ability. Anna Kournikova- Was ranked 8th in the WORLD at her peak, and that’s not a bad place to peak.

      There are women who are beautiful, and post results, and those who are just beautiful, and post results in other ways. Other cyclists that appeared in Maxim prior to Liz Hatch were World Champions, but most of the models appearing before Liz were probably not cyclists. Lucky for her, she has enough cycling to be seen as a “cyclist” or a “pro cyclist” and enough model to for the people who aren’t into cycling to take notice. Tara Llanes, former world champion, posed prior to Hatch in Maxim as well but no one seems to remember that… but that’s when Mountain Biking was all the rage… and many have posed after.

  2. Sara says:

    OMG, I’m split on this one! I have no issues what so ever with a woman with looks who likes to flaunt them (even I do every do and then!). That’s perfectly okay with me, and given the way athletic clothing wears, form fitting, it doesn’t hide a thing – that’s not all together bad, either. If it causes guys to look at me/us, that’s okay (as long as it’s not leering). The perspective that we are PEOPLE needs to be maintained, though.

    Here’s the the split! Being sexy and sex are two different things. People often don’t discern a difference.

    Overall, I do have issues with the “sex sells” maxim. That approach is an unfortunate fact of this western market-based society. My OP is that it knocks women down a few notches, undermines respect. Example – when I was younger, I could almost see the realization in a guy’s eyes when he was “engaging” me in a social setting that “oh – she has a brain in there…” “Sex sells” says “body”, and that’s it. OMG, she’s really a person????

    I know Liz is a smart woman. I think she needs to push that to the front, right along side her natural gifts (are you listening, Dannika Patrick?).

    Just sayin!

  3. steve says:

    As long as it promotes sport I can’t condemn things like this. Colleen is a close friend was a pro beach volleyball player until last year. The women’s part of the game is much more popular than the men’s (part of it is Title IX as there are about 30x as many female than male middle school, high school and college indoor volleyball players in the US), but part gets the attention of people who don’t know the sport and it can get them on the beach where, surprise surprise, they find it is an exiting competitive sport. It also is a gateway to local tv and newpaper notice and lead all the way through the Olympics – I believe women’s beach volleyball was the #3 ranked sport in share during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

    I think I sent a note on the custom bike Trek made for Colleen. At 6’7 she didn’t fit on anything stock and she doesn’t have the money for a custom frame. She commutes on it and gets enough attention that she is doing her share to promote biking. She attracts kids – particularly teenage girls – like a magnet attracts iron. They notice her image, but then they realize she is a bright and articulate person who is following her dream … and then some of them listen.

    Back to biking and image. It may seem tawdry to most, but those who do it are gaming the system and getting recognition that would normally cost an enormous amount of money in promotion.

    ___

    happy Colleen on her bike

    http://www.6footsix.com/.a/6a00e550b0482c883401310f239d30970c-pi

  4. stack says:

    Your argument rests on two notion with which I must disagree.

    First, that womens’ sports – or women participating in non-gendered sports – only has marketing appeal if there is something lascivious about the participants or the activity itself.

    Second, that the best way to grow womens’ cycling is to increase spectator interest in professional races.

    My interpretation of your statement is that the best way to grow the sport is to encourage more sex appeal among professionals, so as to attract a larger viewing audience. I would suggest that when Hatch is “flaunting her good looks” to appeal to spectators, broadcasters, and sponsors, she is undermining the ability of the sport to attract new female participants. Adolescent girls attrition rates from athletics is already extremely high, when participation has documented links to increased self esteem and numerous other positive outcomes. The lionizing of Hatch (along with Danika Patrick, Jenny Finch, et al) sends the message that cycling (and womens’ sports in general) is only a venue for girls, preferably pretty ones, to put themselves on display for male judgement.

    I believe that the way to grow the sport is to completely ignore its professional side (which is the antithesis of USA Cycling’s approach). Instead, posit cycling as the sort of activity that does not require complex facilities and constant adult supervision, and is a fun and healthy activity that simultaneously provides an outlet for transportation, exploration, and the sort of quiet solitude generally missing from most teens’ lives. The sport is both expensive and dangerous, and the communities most children live are plagued by transportation networks that make riding unsafe on the street, or a lack of legal trail access for riding off-road. As a result, interest in the U.S. will always be less than in other parts of the world where simply riding a bicycle, particularly riding one relatively far and relatively fast, is a much more fundamental part of children’s lives.

    If you want to see more girls riding and racing bikes, then create more opportunities at the grassroots for them to have an easily accessible and safe venue where they can get hooked. Simply throwing another naked model in their face will do nothing to grow the sport.

  5. Joe Rookie says:

    When I see those Maxim shots, I feel as if I need a shower.

  6. nate horton says:

    Shower………..yah I get that. I say more Jeannie Longos.

    • Cary mcKinney says:

      Jeannie Longo was an amazing female athlete, however her downfall was her attitude. I am not going by what I read either. I had her as a customer and she was horribly rude. So everytime I read something about her after that, and how aggressive she was and how arrogant she was,I believed it. She was her own worst enemy for female sports promotion.

    • Brian Griffin says:

      Actually, Longo’s downfall was her missing three out-of-competition doping controls, and her husband’s buying EPO for her from China…

  7. haraw says:

    I don’t think the author understands the concept of a “sandbagger” – that describes someone who dominates a lower category. Professional riders are forced to compete in the fastest event of the day. Plus, Hatch doesn’t get good results, ergo not a sandbagger.

    • Haraw,

      The sandbagger comment comes from Liz not doing well, or so they say, in the states and moving to Europe to ride in “sub-level” races to do well.

      Thanks for the explanation!

  8. Fred says:

    LIz Hatch is an attention seeking, no talent, surgically enhanced bimbo, and you think the sport needs more people like her? Really? I can’t think of a worse role model for young women, or a worse representative for the sport.

    • Cary mcKinney says:

      Half of the mens sports world no matter what sport it is is what you just said, but rarely does anybody say anything about them. Except maybe surgically enhanced….but 3/4 of them are on steroids or something else, including the male cyclists.

    • Kate says:

      Good for the Sport? What is good about an attention seeker of LH’s type attracting those who don’t give a crap about cycling?. Anyone coming to the sport to watch her is NOT, repeat NOT interested in Women’s cycling. Just gawkers who are trying to convince themselves they wouldn’t be better off in a strip club.

      Sexy chica’s have always been USED by the car and bike industry to attract the pseudo enthusiast. Isn’t it time we moved on? I thought we had evolved?

  9. Sophie says:

    This is an interesting topic, and I think that everyone makes strong cases. I think that there doesn’t necessarily need to be “more” women like Liz Hatch, in that I think if we try to bank on looks alone to grow the sport we’re going to be in trouble. I think that ALL the women cyclists are gorgeous and strong, even if they aren’t the classic “bomb shell.” I mean, look at Evelyn Stevens. She’s gorgeous! But I don’t think she should try to market herself based on her looks.

    If it gets more money into womens’ cycling from a pedestrian POV, great, but even in the men’s peloton it’s not as if the fan base is drawn from anything wider than the current cycling base. If we want to be taken more seriously, we have to get the current men’s cycling world to take us more seriously. Liz Hatch is not the way to do that.

  10. Tamberlyn says:

    The question is whether I think this promotes the sport of women’s cycling … no. But it does promote the absolute perfection of the woman’s body. I do think these are lovely pictures of a beautiful woman. As a straight woman, I really do appreciate the beauty of the eye of the photographer and the hard work that this professional cyclist has accomplished.

    This is a Men’s magazine and it is what it is. Sex sells. And they want to sell magazines. So sell it girl!

    Personally, I like them. I like to see the whole field. I enjoy the fact they let us know that she is not the top in her field.

  11. merider says:

    I’ve defended Liz on more than one forum before. I don’t get why folks have such a reaction one way or another to her. And I agree with the comparison to volleyball. Misty May and Kerri Walsh used to play in bikinis that might as well have been thongs and pasties while putting on a show often described as lesbian parody. Those two whttp://bikeshopgirl.com/2011/06/the-bike-industry-needs-more-women-like-liz-hatch/omen were (are) smart, smart, smart. It’s still a man’s world, baby, and women who use what they have to work it are not bimbos. Instead, they recognize the weakness of the male and how little his attention span is. I wish Liz Hatch was still in the sport (although not formally, for all intents and purposes, she’s retired). At least she drew attention whether it was negative or positive. And as for her being a role model for young women (Fred) – since when do women in sports have to be role models? Men don’t. Look at the many male athletes out there acting hideous (without morals and in lewd ways), and yet getting paid big bucks (that women never receive). No one expects those men to be role models (or if they do, they seldom criticize them or punish them as much when they don’t act like role models; instead, forgiving them because “boys will be boys” – the same double standard that’s been around for centuries is still alive and well today!).
    Whether we need another Liz Hatch is up to opinion, but we do need more interest in women’s cycling, whatever that takes.

  12. Cary mcKinney says:

    I’m curious why people always come out of the woodwork to say that women shouldn’t use their looks when men use everything in their arsenal to succeed in business or anything else. It’s not a fair world. It NEVER will be…EVER. As a famous general once said, ” A fair fight is only for the ill prepared.” Unfortunately that seems to apply to all of us. Even in life. That is why you find rich and poor, successful and not so. It’s pretty much the way our society has always worked. I wish I was on the silver spoon side or genetically gifted but I’m not. You don’t hear me whining about it, or criticizing the good looking or athletically gifted for it though.

    • Fred says:

      Let us know when a low-tier, no results, no skill male athlete in any sport gets endorsement contracts just for their looks, AND then tweets a picture of themselves with a dildo.

      I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong at all with women athletes getting their due. I am whole heartedly suggesting that LH is not the person to base any argument at all in support of women athletes. Take away the silicone and she’s nothing.

    • ilovecycling says:

      Fred is right….
      sorry to say but LH is speaking as if she is a pro ,or even a spokeswoman of the peloton, but never really was a ‘ pro’ compared to most others …
      she is known only by her sexy pictures – showing her brestimplants – and is selling herselve as a ‘ popular female rider’ that way
      what experience did she have before joining the Lotto ladies team ?
      she did crits in the USA, then participated( no more then that) in a race in Italy – after doing nothing else but training for years- not combining it with a job like most of her teammates do …
      She is known for years in the male peloton for her strong ‘personel intrest ‘ in the riders too …
      For those who think she still is a rider …. follow her and the Lotto Ladies team :
      http://www.cyclingfever.com/team.html?_ap=riders&team_idd=ODA3Mg==

      ‘Is Liz Hatch different than women’s beach volleyball?’
      Yes, she is , totally …. she is nothing but a ” wannabe” ….

  13. merider says:

    Fred, you are incorrect. She was hired as a pro racer for Lotto last year (and this year) and supported that team until she was injured and unable to continue riding. I do not believe for one minute that she was hired to ride with the likes of Grace Verbeke and Rochelle Gilmore because of her breasts. Also, you are incorrect- she did not post that picture on twitter. Her teammate did after putting it in Liz’s bag as a joke. Regardless, who cares? What? Because she’s a woman, how dare she have a photo out there holding a dildo? Let’s go back to wearing chastity belts too, while we’re at it. I do not know Liz Hatch but I’m not bothered by her success no matter how she got there, and unlike any other female pro racer, she brings forth the most reactions, and that is attention for and to the sport. Take away the silicone (and her other physical beauty assets), and she’d be just like every other mediocre pro racer out there who gets no attention good or bad because of her (lack of) perceived looks. I’ve always believed Liz Hatch gets more “picked on” because she’s attractive than she ever does reap any benefits. And as a woman, I find it sad that she’s often given little credit for her cycling abilities just because she’s pretty. I hope some more like her come along soon.

    • Fred says:

      No, I’m afraid you’re incorrect, or at a minimum ill-informed. She wasn’t hired for her talent, on or off the bike. She hasn’t ridden in support of anyone, she’s not strong enough to ever be there when needed. She was hired because of connections through her Euro-boyfriend. Plain/simple.

  14. Taranis says:

    This is the worst premise ever. Need more sexy female bikers.

    We need more female bikers. That’s it.

  15. merider says:

    Fred – sorry, but you sound like one of those losers on RBR who slams on Liz Hatch, a woman they don’t know, for some self-serving reason. That or this young woman shined you when you made clumsy advances toward her at a past local crit . One or the other, because your comments sound similar to another small group of anonymous internet posters who never really followed her career, and yet feel entitled to say whatever nasty comment they want about her behind a computer screen. Plain/simple.

    • Fred says:

      Is there anything I’ve referenced about how she got her contract or the lack of any meaningful results or the fact that she’s never actually supported her new teammates at a time that matters that isn’t true?

      You can label me as a loser if you like, but you still haven’t addressed the arguments presented. I’m guessing it’s because you can’t refute the truth.

  16. bicycletyro says:

    I think that some of the issue is that many female cyclists seem to take on a feminist perspective. After all, they are strong athletic women, but on the other hand, many are anything but. I prefer to be feminine, not feminist, and at this point in the game, I think that women’s sports in general need more attention.

    Cycling events even seem to place the female cyclists at the begininning or the day before as if they were the “warm up band” for the “real” event, which is the men’s cycling. That has always irked me. Yes, I’d like to travel to an event, but I can’t always make it there on the Thursday or Friday night.

    The whole thing is jacked and I welcome anything at this point that draws attention to it or improves it.

  17. Joel says:

    Is she even IN the women’s peloton anymore? I don’t see her in any results at all.

  18. Jen says:

    I think there is a big difference between looking sexy, wearing athletic bikinis, unzipping jersey to show sports bra and dressing up like an amateur porn star. Why do Liz, Willow and Heather need to take it to that level?

  19. Courtney says:

    What cycling needs is more women. Period. The last thing woman need is another barrier to the sport. Period. Objectifying woman in this capacity is creating additional barriers to all woman who see them that do not fit the tan, tall, sex-driven mold. Images such as the one in Maxim, and racers who objectify themselves for the sport are not drawing more participants, but allowing this objectifying behavior to continue and give merit to it.

    Being athletic IS sexy, no matter what shape it takes. We don’t need to be objectified or drooled over because we fulfill a male fantasy.

    There are far better role models for women in cycling. I’m empowered by every local woman who gets on a bike, races for the first time, and those who race amateur and bring home championships. Nationally there are many more women who are empowering, whose attention we should be giving, not because they are sexy and ride a bike, but because they ride a bike. More worthy of our attention are Rebecca Rusch, Kristin Armstrong, and Katie Compton, just to name a few.

  20. 170crankin says:

    There are remarkably beautiful talents racing domestically in the peloton. Take a second look — maybe they all need professional marketeers behind them to solicit photo shoots in dude mags. They would do just fine in those moments AND they would have the results to back them up. LH does not have the results. Period.
    And in all honesty…that might be the biggest bummer about her hollow rise to fame and popularity. I don’t really care about the shallow nature of using looks for gain, smart people can see through the veil of “the babe” look and take it for what it is….the big problem is that she has a very patchy, hollow background as a racer and really didn’t deserve the hype she got as a “pro”… long live beautiful women but please let’s keep it real.

  21. merider says:

    I came back on here since I follow Bike Shop Girl on twitter (enjoy her blog) and took another peek. I am, yet again, astounded at the continued negative comments about “LH” (wasn’t aware that she went by initials only) but certainly not surprised. I had to laugh (cynically) yet again. My reasoning for defending this young woman is simple. It gets all up in my crawl that a female pro racer is being picked on for being a pretty face who uses that to better her situation (oh, gasp!, she unzipped her jersey! – and her boobs might be fake!). Really? Is any of this new or remotely shocking? (are we in 1980 all over again?!) And really – is Liz Hatch all that bad? I’m confused. At age 41, and not hiding my face on the internet, I’m here to defend a woman in the sport I love, because I believe she is being picked on and singled out “because of” her looks and not because of her lack of athletic talent (which I think I tried to say above). What other female pro riders who don’t podium or do much of anything other than fill out and support their teams get this kind of negative attention? I’m certainly not suggesting those women should. But I find it hypocritical that Liz Hatch is so held to a standard others aren’t just because she is trying to use her pro status and looks to better her financial situation. I think the critics are jealous. By the way, I’ve seen Liz Hatch’s Maxim Photos. Big deal! She’s not naked and spread eagle, holding a tire pump! She’s posing in provocative photos that look to be a throw back to the 80s. Kind of like that Cyclepassion Calendar (that at least two of my male cycling buddies dig). So what? Your head must be up your ass if a mere photo or two (none porn) bugs you. And get over it, ladies (or gentlemen). It (a focus on women’s looks) exists and isn’t going to change anytime soon. Those of you who keep posting the same crap diatribes about Liz Hatch over and over sound nothing but jealous (by the way? – same stuff that’s being posted here has been posted on a good four bike forums, so none of it is original or by anyone with any real or honest credibility. If I’m incorrect, please do identify which pro female rider you are who’s ridden with Liz Hatch and can really speak to her “lack of” loyalty, showing up for her teammates or peloton and, oh yeah, f*cking her way to being a pro racer). I won’t stop posting, by the way (and I hope Bike Shop Girl will allow my opinion) because I refuse, as a woman, to punish other women for playing a system we have no control over. Maybe in years to come, we will. But punishing the WOMEN and expecting them to not pose/participate/perform is ridiculous. Want to change things? Look to improve/change the men (sons) in our society… Oh, and good luck on that! > (sorry, I am terribly pesimisstic on this one).

    • In a weird way I am excited and glad this has made such progress in getting folks to talk about the issues that surround women’s cycling!

  22. nycslade says:

    I think several people above have gotten to the heart of the issue here, which is that it really comes down to the need to get more women/girls riding in the first place. There have been numerous studies done that indicate that sexy images of female athletes serve primarily to increase interest in the athlete herself, not the sport, so whatever these images may or may not do for LH’s career, they will not do anything to bring sustained attention to women’s cycling. The only way to do that is to grow the sport at the grassroots level. More people will become interested if it is their daughter, sister, mother, etc. competing. If USA Cycling is not engaging with local clubs/communities to bring more young people (male or female) into the sport, then that is a major issue that no amount of sexy photos will be able to redress.

  23. Marcia says:

    This is a very complex issue, though, overall, I disagree that the bike industry, or women’s sports in general, needs more women like Liz Hatch (i.e., more [hetero]sexualized female athletes). Though she as an individual may feel empowered, the argument that her (sexualized) presence is beneficial or empowering for women’s and girls’ sports is unfounded: Recent research has found that sexualized media content does not, in fact, increase interest or participation in women’s sports: http://www.thenation.com/article/162390/sex-sells-sex-not-womens-sports

    From a social justice perspective, it seems more fruitful to think of ways in which we can increase girls’ and women’s participation in sport without continuing to (hetero)sexualize female athletes under the guise of empowerment.

  24. sandra upegui says:

    Does she have any results?

  25. Interesting topic especially since I just started cycling this summer. I have no clue who Liz Hatch is, but if she’s out there doing what she loves, more power to her.

    I feel it will always be hard to attract women to cycling regardless of how many women are in the sport. I was in a LBS and talking to a woman that does race. As she told me how much she spends on supplements, her diet, going to the different parts of the US to race and how much she trains, I knew it wasn’t a lifestyle for me.

    Cycling is also one of the most competitive sports I’ve seen. It’s not just about how good you are, it’s also about the look. Most of us don’t “look” good in cycling clothes. We don’t carry of the “look” of being athletic. It “looks” aggressive and intimidating when someone on a bike cycles by and you wonder if they are out to run you over.

    There isn’t a “softness” or femininity in cycling for women. Manufacturers see “softness” as pink or pastel colors for a bike or a weakness in the sport. It’s hard to find a balance as women between aggressiveness and being feminine.

    I have fallen in love with cycling but none of my friends show any interest because of the intimidation factor. I just cycle off by own and enjoy the ride.

  26. c says:

    Not sure how videos like this promote a postive outlook towards women’s athletes.

    http://www.theaustinfit.com/coverage/236873-US-Pro-XCT-3-Mellow-Johnnys/video/337592-Willow-Koerber-Ice-Bath-Post-MJC

    Ofcourse as a man who enjoys both cycling and the female form…I watched. Hot women in cycling will not get me more interested in the sport. Just like the fact that when Lance was dating a rock star, it didn’t make him more interesting to watch race. If promoters would bring some extremely aggressive and close women’s road/cyclocross racing to cable or internet television…I would watch it.

    If I want to see breasts…I can do that easy enough. Give me exciting racing!!

  27. Anna Lang says:

    I realize this discussion started some months ago, but I can’t resist chiming in. Fred, you’re absolutely correct on a number of points, and I commend your insight and perspective on the situation. Merider, your words made me cringe, particularly if I assume that you’re female and at all athletic. The original post compared LH’s m.o. to professional female volleyball players and to Marla Streb. My response: not even close. Yes, pro beach v-ball women are attractive, but they did not get there by being hot. They’re amazing athletes and they beat other women >in competitionbecause< she was fast! Got it? These women are are accomplished athletes first; photo shoots come second. My personal position on LH: I've never spoken with her so I can't say anything about her personality or why she made the choices she did. I have been told the details of her journey as well as that she is kind and a loyal friend. That said, this discussion shouldn't be about her as an individual, but about the person/caricature she's presented for public scrutiny…my opinion is limited to that. As an accomplished athlete, competitor and engineer to boot, I take great pride in what I've accomplished and worked for. My efforts along the way are more meaningful and long-lasting than the fleeting praises from others. I expect that value is shared by my closest competitors. I find the recognition and attention towards mediocrity and image detract from true performance, accomplishment, and greatness, and in my opinion this behavior reverses women's decades-long efforts towards equality. Yes, I went there. Why can't we be athletes, engineers, scientists, and professionals first, and have our accomplishments recognized objectively, not just because we also happen to be female and (potentially) attractive? Someone criticized Jeannie Longo as being too aggressive — why, because her performance as a competitor wasn't feminine? She looked mean while she attacked? Or because she wasn't showing cleavage while she did it? Competitive sport is beautiful, and we as a society should strive to do a better job of appreciating it in its purist state. What LH's actions do is put the spotlight on a woman's sex appeal, not a woman's accomplishments. I'm not opposed to sexy photo shoots, but do it with a real contender!

  28. shaundra says:

    Women who exploit themselves for attention in any industry are not doing anyone a favor. They promote an unattainable, unhealthy body image for women and encourage men to be dissatisfied with the normal, healthy women in their lives. The sport may have some moments in the media, but no respect is built because these athletes are using sex to sell it.

    • Susan says:

      Thank you, stack, courtney, nycslade, marcia, and shaundra. Your comments express how I have always felt about encouraging girls and women to feel good about themselves, and to have fun being active without worrying if they are attractive enough while doing it. My sister and I have always been active and I hope that our example encourages my daughter and nieces to join in the fun, whether or not they look like models.

  29. kira says:

    wow. How about this bike shop girl. YOU pose nekkid.

    Why should anyone do anything “for the bike industry” they are pros. their job is too race. If they want to pose nude that is their right but for you to say more pros need to act like whores so the sport can grow. Wow. selfish much?

  30. Grant says:

    There is more to anybody than what we see—even to people who seem to be overexposed in the media. I am hesitatant to play the mellow card here, because it might come off as an unfair trump, or changing the rules, but there are so many strong feelings on this, and it seems to me that Liz Hatch–regardless of what she looks like and how fast she rides–is being de-humanized, reduced to what we see plus race results. What nobody is commenting on, because nobody can, is what kind of person she is inside her skin and when she isn’t racing. Is she kind? Is she compassionate? Does she help people who need it? Is she honest? And so on. I don’t mean to elevate the discussion if that’s not part of the game here, but whichever side of the LH discussion you’re on, keep in mind that there’s a huge part of her that none of us knows.
    Some will say, “This (being discussed in public) is the price she has to pay for fame.” Her looks can’t protect her against feeling sad about all that, though.

    • MERIDER says:

      100% agree. Is she kind, compassionate, etc? I don’t know her, so I couldn’t tell you. But for me, personally, doesn’t matter. She doesn’t know me and I’d hate for her to judge my character and call me names without ever having me me. What’s being overlooked often in these kinds of discussions is opportunity. Would you turn down an opportunity to make money (for security – let’s face it, female pro racers don’t make much of a salary) and to advance your opportunities just because your critics think you should be winning every accolade in order to receive offers to model and garner such attention? It’s just silly, all of it. And by silly, I mean…jealousy.

  31. LosFelizRider says:

    Liz Hatch is awesome! She’s a real cyclist (not THE best? who cares?), she promotes bicycling as a sport and a profession, and she’s authentic.

    Sexiness and sexuality will always be a part of athletics and sport and that’s fine :-)

  32. Mats says:

    Liz Hatch is done injustice in many comments here. True, she has come to the sport late and may not be the most talented of riders, but that’s hardly the point. She loves riding her bike, ha s a clear position towards the deplorable state women’s professional cycling is in, and has given very lucid comments on what is needed.
    And how right she is! Bradley Wiggins himself just signed his support for a new women’s team formed and led by another cycling lady who utilized her stunning good looks a lot, Australia’s Rochelle Gilmore. What divides these two riders is perhaps their ability and past achievements in the sport, but that does not set them apart in terms of character and spirit.
    Liz’ compassion and her clever observations have done more for this great sport than many victories based on questionable training methods.

  33. MERIDER says:

    Anna,
    I just stepped back on here after many months. With all due respect, we will have to agree to disagree. Reason being is that you are using the very argument that makes me cringe. Just because the athlete (male or female) isn’t supremely talented or accomplished but yet able to use his/her attractiveness to his/her earning potential/advantage does not make that individual less an athlete pr asset to the sport. Of course, I’m being snarky. We both know that it’s the women who deal with this and not the men. I’ll repeat my point – Liz Hatch may have been (far) less talented than other pro females she rode alongside when racing, but that did not make her talentless (although, one could subjectively call her mediocre, I suppose. I won’t, simply because I don’t have an ounce of talent in me when it comes to racing and no team would offer me a contract). The rest…is gravy – for her. By the way, I had a friend (a young woman hoping to race in the future) tell me that “LH” may be back riding next year. I expect more nasty comments on bike forums all over again…sigh. Lucky for me, I’ve lost interest in the forums. But the discussions, especially on this topic on excellent blogs like this one, still interest me. And I still stand by my earlier posts and comments – they are my opinions, of course, so take it or leave it.

  34. Grant says:

    This whole discussion is a psychobiological mess, but if LH looked totally average, would the anti-LH comments still be coming? Is she being held to a higher performance standard because she looks that way? That doesn’t seem fair. Do the anti-LH’ers feel the same way about singers, fashion models, actors, anchorwomen, and others who benefit from their looks, or is cycling being singled out? I have seen two pictures of LH and wouldn’t recognize her if she was looking me in the face, but let’s talk about her results. Is she a pack-filler, and if so, so what? She’s contributing that way. Is she always last? And if she was unnatractive and always last, would her detractors be as vehement, or would they be rooting for the underdog and talking about her in glowing terms, saying she exemplifies the spririt of competition and personal challenge?
    Like I said, a psychobiological mess here. Imagine how she’d feel if she knew we weirdos were yakking about her. The discussion is intellectually stimulating and to some, even titilating. But it has run its course, and I’m outa here.

  35. Moose says:

    Personally I find female athlete’s attractive period. Some more than others, but, there is something special about a lady athlete.

  36. Bill says:

    Nothing wrong with attractive. I have Maxim or revealing photos. I think they look better in cycling clothes rather than no clothes.

  37. Rachel Kelson says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Liz Hatch being involved in the cycling scene. I think women should be free to dress however they want regardless of sporting excellence.
    However, what I do this is wrong is you writing that we need more women like Liz in the bike industry. You are obviously referring to her beauty and the way she dresses, putting more value on a women’s aesthetics rather than her ability and competence.

  38. larryhogue says:

    Late to the comment party here. I included the Liz Hatch “Come Ride With Me” video on my blog post about indoor cycling workouts because I wanted something that wasn’t all men (and also wasn’t an indoor spin class). This was about the only thing I could find. It was a good length for a workout, had good music and some great cycling shots. I thought women doing indoor workouts might find this more motivational/inspirational than watching a bunch of guys climbing mountains in Mallorca. And I had no idea who Liz Hatch was. The video stuck to what it was like becoming a bike racer at her advanced age (26?), training, compact crank vs regular, developing women’s cycling, and shots of her riding through the beautiful Mt. Tam/Stinson Beach route in Marin. Of course, she’s attractive to look at in her bike kit, and I wondered if this is the reason she’s the only woman pro cyclist who’s received such a profile. I guess I should have been cynical enough to jump to that conclusion right away!
    While I won’t criticize Hatch for playing up her looks, there should definitely be similar video profiles of Kristen Armstrong, Amber Neben, Evelyn Stevens, and whoever the other up-and-coming women cyclists are (I don’t really follow bike racing that much, except, stereotypically, the Tour and the Olympics). If there are any videos featuring women riders that are also good for viewing while indoor training (and are also free online!), I’m looking for suggestions.

  39. LGullion says:

    I just bought my first bike to take up this challenge to even make it up a steep hill…lol… But I was always exercising before my two babies and now cycling can offer me a way to tow my little ones along. I think I would love to look like Liz!! I don’t want to be the best just in shape and she is definitely motivation for the less competitive women out there.

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