Less than a week after the Tour de Yorkshire announced what it said would be the richest women’s bike race in the world, organisers of the Prudential RideLondon weekend have trumped that by revealing that female riders will be battling for a total prize fund of €100,000.
> Tour de Yorkshire offers £50k prize fund to women through Asda sponsorship
Now in its fourth year, the Prudential RideLondon Classique – the final word replacing the ‘Grand Prix’ from its previous title – has been given UCI Women’s WorldTour status, with €25,000 going to the winner.
That puts the prize money for the event, to be held on Saturday 30 July and televised live by the BBC, on an equal footing with that of the men’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic the following day.
It’s not just the name of the 100-kilometre race that has changed. The existing course which in the past three editions ran round the perimeter of St James’s Park has now been extended to a 5.5 kilometre circuit which will also take in Parliament Square, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and the Strand.
Event director Hugh Brasher, who also runs the London Marathon which already offers the same levels of prize money to male and female athletes, said: “We believe in equality in sport.”
He continued: “Last year, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic became the world’s richest men’s one day race and we believe that it is right that the prize money for our new UCI Women’s WorldTour event matches that, setting a new standard for women’s cycling.
“This is the same policy that we have operated at the London Marathon for many years.”
UCI president Brian Cookson added: “Prudential RideLondon has set new records for cycling every year. It is the biggest festival of cycling in the world and it is wonderful to see that the new UCI Women’s WorldTour race has been awarded full parity with the men’s event.”
Besides that €25,000 prize for the winner, there will also be a team prize of €10,000 and a total of €12,600 will be up for grabs at the three intermediate sprints sponsored by Continental Tyres.
The race joins the Aviva Women’s Tour, launched in 2014, as one of two British races on the UCI Women’s WorldTour which was introduced this year; both are testament to the popularity of women’s cycling as a spectator sport here since the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and the success of home riders in London.
Rochelle Gilmore, whose Wiggle-High5 team won the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix in its opening two editions through Laura Trott in 2013 and Giorgia Bronzini the following year, said: “It has been overwhelming to witness the massive changes in our sport during the past couple of years.
“I’ve been involved in women’s professional cycling for 18 years (15 as an athlete and three as a team owner) and I still cannot actually grasp how rapidly single actions like this have developed our sport.
“As an athlete 10 years ago, I would never have dreamt that a female cyclist would be rewarded with this level of prize money for doing something we love.”
Trott, who in August will be aiming to help Team GB retain its Olympic team pursuit title in Rio, where she will also ride the omnium – she won gold medals in both at London 2012 – said: “This is fantastic news. Women’s cycling is being given the recognition it deserves.
“Prudential RideLondon has pioneered incredible change in women’s cycling, first with live television coverage, then live cameras on bikes last year and now with record prize money and parity with the men’s race,” she added.
Full details of all the events at the Prudential RideLondon weekend can be found on its website.
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