Back in 2014 we published an article outlining the key issues in professional women’s cycling. One of those issues was the huge disparity in prize funds for men and women, the example we gave at the time was the 1.3 million euro prize fund for the men's Giro compared to 17,600 euros for the women’s Giro Rosa.
Times, however, are a-changing. This year, the Prudential RideLondon Classique – the UCI Women’s World Tour race taking place at the festival of cycling on Saturday July 30 – will offer its female winner the same prize pot as the men’s winner.
It just so happens that the men’s race – putting up 100,000 euros, offers the richest pickings in the world. Making this clearly the most lucrative women’s race and a major payday for someone in the female peloton. The news of this prize fund boost came shortly after the Tour de Yorkshire announced a major increase that meant the winner of the women's one day race got more cash than the overall men's winner.
Not content with offering the equality that few race organisers do, RideLondon have launched a ‘#PedalParity’ campaign to encourage other organisers to do the same.
The hashtag has already seen plenty of use. However, although thankful for the prize equality, some have pointed out it would be good to see the women tackle the same course across Surrey as opposed to a shorter crit race.
— RacingCondor (@RacingCondor) June 22, 2016
The movement has also gained the approval of last week’s Women’s Tour Winner and World Champion Lizzie Armitstead, and Olympic champion Marianne Vos.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director for Prudential RideLondon, said: “We believe in equality in sport. We are proud to have made the prize money in the Classique exactly the same as the Classic, thereby making it the richest women’s one-day race in the world.
“With our #PedalParity campaign, we hope to encourage other events to follow our lead and recognise that the world’s best women’s riders should be rewarded equally with the world’s best men.
“They train as hard, race as hard and commit themselves to their sport just as the very best men do."
Rochelle Gilmore, the owner and manager of Wiggle HIGH5, said: “To have parity will get people to view women’s sport as a professional sport and I hope it will open up the dreams for women wanting to become professionals."
Gilmore, who will again be commentating on the women’s race for BBC television, added: “Prudential RideLondon is giving women the opportunity to go home with the most prize money they have ever won on one day. It makes the event really special."
Seventeen of the world’s top UCI Women’s WorldTour teams have confirmed their participation in the Prudential RideLondon Classique. The race will form part of the world’s greatest festival of cycling, with more than 100,000 riders expected to participate in events over the weekend of 30-31 July 2016.
The individual winner of the Prudential RideLondon Classique wins 25,000 Euros in prize money and the winning team is awarded 10,000 Euros. There will be three Continental Tyres Sprints classifications in the race offering a further 12,600 Euros in prize money.
The race will be shown live on BBC TV for the fourth successive year. It was the first women’s race in the UK, outside the Olympic or Commonwealth Games, to be broadcast live.