UCI president defends junior women's time trials being raced over half the distance of male counterparts

John MacLeary
The Telegraph

David Lappartient, the International Cycling Union president, has defended the decision for junior women's races at last week's Road World Championships in Yorkshire to be contested over just half the distance of their male counterparts.

Following the championships where the junior men competed over two 13.7-kilometre circuits around Harrogate for their time trial events, a number of commentators questioned why junior women raced over just one circuit.

Speaking to Telegraph Sport following the conclusion of the week-long championships here in Harrogate on Sunday, Lappartient insisted gender equality did not necessarily mean equal distances for races, but instead said the world governing body of the sport was keen on finding parity in other areas.

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"Gender equality for us means that the same opportunity to have the same number of riders, the same opportunity for the prize money. It doesn't mean necessarily [that we need] to have the same distance [of races]," Lappartient said. "For example, we had 260km today with the elite race, I think this is not something that we can put [forward] for the ladies.

"For the time trial, it is something that is also under discussion, of course, but it is something that also is approved by coaches of both men and women."

<span>Lappartient says we do not need to have the same distance </span> <span>Credit: Reuters </span>
Lappartient says we do not need to have the same distance Credit: Reuters

In 2018 the British Best All-Rounder (BBAR) junior men's and women's time trial title races were both competed over comparable distances, as they have done since 1977, of either 10 and 25 miles – 16.1km and 40.23km.

In the countdown to the first world championships to be held in Britain since 1982, Lappartient had said the showpiece in the UCI's calendar would improve "equality between men and women", particularly through the introduction of the team time trial mixed relay.

The inaugural event, won by the Dutch on the opening day of the eight-day championships, drew criticism from some observers after just 10 nations entered the race.

Lappartient, though, said he believes when Switzerland hosts the championships in 2020 that figure will have doubled.

"Maybe it's not enough for the first edition," he said. "From what I know today United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were not part of the relays this year, but they will ride next year.

"I think we will have at least 20 nations taking part next year. It's a good start, the feedback from the riders has been excellent and I think that this race will grow in the future."

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