Riders competing in the Women’s Tour in June will for the first time receive the same prize money as their male counterparts in the Tour of Britain.
The sponsor of both races, OVO Energy, has increased the women’s prize fund from €35,000 to €90,000 in order to establish financial parity. The general classification winner of both races will receive €14,600, with both male and female stage winners also taking home the same amount.
Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, who won the Women’s Tour in 2016, said: “I’m so excited about the Women’s Tour; the race is the pinnacle of women’s professional road cycling in the UK and it’s an important step to offer equal prize money to the comparative men’s race.
“To be honest I wish gender parity wasn’t an issue in cycling. I think I speak on behalf of most women in the peloton when I say I just want to get on and compete and be recognised fairly for what we do. So this support means we can now focus on playing our part in an amazing race.”
In the five years since the Women’s Tour began in 2014 it has gradually moved towards equality. The belief has always been women should be entitled to the same prize money and logistical backup – such as hotel accommodation – as their male counterparts.
Emma Pooley, a former professional cyclist, said: “There’s been a long campaign for parity in cycling, and I strongly believe women’s racing should be moving towards equal racing opportunities and equal media coverage. The Women’s Tour is already leading the way and a major step to addressing the imbalance in cycling’s economy is equal prize funds for high‑quality races.
“Women’s cycling has a huge amount to offer fans and sponsors alike and I believe it will further inspire more women to ride bikes.”