Training video producers The Sufferfest will continue to sponsor the UCI Women’s Road World Cup this year and they’ve added an extra prize for the rider who shows the meanest display of determination and courage.
The organisation, responsible for sending hordes of cyclists to ‘Sufferlandria’ during their training sessions, sponsored the competition last year, but for 2015 they’ve added a new award.
After every race, one woman will receive the ‘Suffer Prize’, for presenting “determination, courage and suffering to help a team mate, to animate the race or simply to get to the finish line against the odds."
At the end of the season, alongside the overall World Cup winner, one racer will receive the overall ‘Epic Moment of Suffering’ prize and $1,000 USD.
When women’s racing far too often plays second fiddle to the men’s peloton, we’re excited to see such qualities highlighted in the fierce ladies we know in the pack.
Sufferfest’s director commented: "Women's professional racing is incredibly difficult and tells inspiring stories of effort, sacrifice and resilience. We want to share these stories and The Suffer Prize presented by The Sufferfest is our way of showing how outstanding these athletes are."
UCI Vice-President, Tracey Gaudry also welcomed the news: "As a former professional cyclist I have witnessed many inspiring demonstrations of courage and gritty determination within the professional women's peloton. I am delighted that, together with The Sufferfest, we will be able to highlight some of these amazing stories."
The first World Cup event, Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe, took place on March 14 and was won by Wiggle-Honda’s Jolien D’Hoore.
The ‘Suffer Prize’ went to Lizzie Williams, of Orica-AIS – who crashed twice and suffered two mechanicals.
Williams battled on and struggled back to the race caravan, and only gave up when she ran out of bikes to be put back onto, saying: "It was probably the worst day on the bike that I've ever had, but you have to take the good with the bad in this sport."
The UCI Women’s Road World Cup consists of 10 one-day events, and last year’s overall winner was Lizzie Armitstead of Boels Dolmans.
It was recently announced, following the first ever Women’s Team Seminar on March 7 2015, that in 2016 the World Cup will be replaced by the UCI World Tour, made up of a mix of one day events and stage races – totalling 30 days of racing.
This new World Tour has been well received amongst the peloton, and it triples the number of high profile UCI race days in the women's calendar.