Over the weekend we saw plenty of race action from the National Road Championships over in the Isle of Man, and the Irish Road Championships taking place in Wexford.
Without adequate media coverage, many of us viewers track the races live on Twitter for up-to-date race action. However, something really quite astonishing happened during yesterday’s women’s elite race over in Ireland, the women’s peloton was forced to pull over in order to let the men’s race pass them.
In what immediately blew up Twitter, the live feed informed social media that with just 10km to go, the women’s peloton was told to hang back so that the men’s master’s peloton could pass them.
With angry tweets flooding in, the Irish Road Champs 17 official page attempted to defend the race commissaries decision by tweeting:
However, the internet was not convinced that this was a justified action which led to an angry backlash from the audience who felt the sting of sexism still very much present in pro racing.
Once the race got back on track with 10km to go, it was Lydia Boylan (IRL) from WNT Pro Cycling who went on to take the win with Lauren Creamer (NCC Group – Kuota – Torrel) in second and Ellen McDermott (EDCO Continental) taking third place.
This comes just one week after another race clash debarkle in Germany at the RAD RACE Fixed 42 where the women’s race started just 2 minutes behind the men’s race. Juliet Elliott took part in the event and shared her feelings on Instagram afterwards, explaining what transpired…
Juliet goes on to outline to consequences of the poorly organised scheduling which impeded the efforts of the elite women: “But the absolute worst was the finishing straight. There were guys EVERYWHERE spread across the entire width of the course, guys who weren’t even racing, just ‘along for the ride.’ Again, none moved aside. We weren’t able to have a proper sprint at all and got stuck behind them all…”
While we understand that event organisers have the difficult task of fitting in the races to a tight schedule, there’s no reasonable explanation as to why women’s events, especially at the elite level, are passed over for men’s categories.
Situations such as this reverberate through women’s cycling in a locked-horns battle for equality throughout all levels of cycling. While there are organisers, events and brands working tirelessly to level out the playing field, when pro race blunders occur, such as this, it certainly knocks back the efforts we work so hard for.