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UCI vice-president Tracey Gaudry talks about the need to improve women’s cycling from youth cycling up

The first-ever female UCI vice-president Tracey Gaudry, has established her intention to “put women’s cycling in the position it deserves”, six weeks after being appointed.

In an interview posted on the UCI website, Mrs Gaudry outlined her plans to improve the state of women’s cycling at every level with the help of her Women’s Cycling Committee (WCC) which she aims to have set up by the end of the year.

“In order to develop women’s cycling it needs, among other things, better visibility,” Mrs Gaudry said. “The rise of women’s cycling must involve everybody.”

Involving everybody, according to the UCI vice-president, starts with improving the environment for young cyclists. Mrs Gaudry believes that her WCC's vision must draw on the experiences of initiatives like the World Cycling Centre's programme for women coaches to address the gender imbalance within cycling which she suggests is a "dissuasive" factor for young women looking to get into the sport.

“For a young woman wanting to get into a cycling career, a male dominated environment can appear for some, let’s say, ‘dissuasive’. This stumbling block can be overcome if women are part of the entourage: coaches, doctors, mechanics etc.

“The [World Cycling Centre] programme for women coaches encourages [a] sharing of knowledge. It also helps to provide women cyclists with career pathways beyond their career as an athlete. This type of initiative, which helps structure the environment of women’s cycling, will help us establish the vision that our sport needs in order to look to the future with confidence.”

And the UCI have shown that they are looking forward with confidence in women’s cycling. Mrs Gaudry highlighted the UCI's decision to appoint a woman in each of their commissions as a huge showing of support, as well as president Brian Cookson’s abolishment of the age cap, which prevented teams from breaching an average age of 28 within their competitive squads.

“I was a cyclist and I know from experience that you can still achieve great things over a wide age range. Marianne Vos, who is a member of the Athletes’ Commission, proposed that this regulation made no sense. It is a simple proposal that received unanimous support.”

The UCI are not only looking to improve the state of women’s cycling for the younger and older riders, they are also targeting the UCI Women’s Road World Cup for improvements in competitive cycling. New classifications for the best young rider, sprinter and climber will be introduced to the competition in 2014.

“It is a decision that will motivate the riders as well as the organisers, sponsors, broadcasters and public.” Mrs Gaudry said. “It will provide multiple competitions within a competition like in a stage race. The calendar will be more exciting for everyone.

“We will have 8 World Cup rounds that will provide opportunities throughout the season for many styles of rider.

"I’m only sorry that I don’t race anymore.”

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc two wheels are still his favoured mode of transport; these days over the undulating streets of Madrid.

37 comments

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Stim [11 posts] 2 years ago
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Ush [591 posts] 2 years ago
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I really hope this takes off. The difference between the way male and female athletes are treated is shocking.

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 2 years ago
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Yup - there's some great things being done in Women's cycling on shoestring budgets already. Needs to push on - it's entertaining racing

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massspike [139 posts] 2 years ago
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“put women’s cycling in the position it deserves”...based on performance that would be after the Junior Men who if the last Worlds count are faster and more competitive  3

IMHO: this is going to be a money grab forcing race organizers, sponsors, etc. to subsidize Women's cycling.

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alotronic [437 posts] 2 years ago
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massspike wrote:

“put women’s cycling in the position it deserves”...based on performance that would be after the Junior Men who if the last Worlds count are faster and more competitive  3

IMHO: this is going to be a money grab forcing race organizers, sponsors, etc. to subsidize Women's cycling.

Sorry, don't buy the collusive wink mate. This is not a performance or financial issue, it is an equality issue, could you find an argument against this on that basis please?

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massspike [139 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a competitive sport (aka meritocracy) so fund Women's cycling at the same level as Junior Men -- their equals.

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02curtisb [62 posts] 2 years ago
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The thing with cycling is speed is relative, so for me watching on TV I dont care whether they average more, less or the same as the men. From what i've seen of it there are a lot of good role models and the racing is bloody exciting.

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spin sugar [47 posts] 2 years ago
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massspike wrote:

It's a competitive sport (aka meritocracy) so fund Women's cycling at the same level as Junior Men -- their equals.

Asshat. That is all.

Yes, I created an account just to say that.

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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Who gives a toss about relative speeds? The racing is hard and great to watch. Its why we're backing women's racing. Its not a sympathy vote. Its fun for me, our athletes (though a bit painful) and spectators.

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JonD [389 posts] 2 years ago
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massspike wrote:

It's a competitive sport (aka meritocracy) so fund Women's cycling at the same level as Junior Men -- their equals.

That's bloody moronic comparison.

I shouldn't *have* to point this out but clearly in your case it's necessary.
It's a huge catch-22. Women's sport generally - and road racing in particular - doesn't get much coverage. Sponsors want media coverage, therefore aren't gonna put money into the sport without it. Without money, it's hard to form/maintain teams from year to year, and equally the women that want to race - and have the ability - can't afford to race at that level as a career. Everyone needs to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Track cycling's been far more evenly treated, and it shows.

You're not going to improve the state of women's professional cycling - which will have a knock-on-effect further down the scale - by sticking yer head in a bucket.

You only have to look at the effect of the 1921 ban on women's football in FA grounds to see how far it put the sport back.

And FWIW, the 2012 Olympic women's road race was one of the best bits of racing I've ever seen on tv.

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massspike [139 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a teenage daughter and I have coached her in multiple sports so I am not anti-woman's sports. But the reality is at the elite levels they don't fund themselves -- which is the point of the new VP's whinging about funding.

Elite women's sports (e.g. the WNBA and US college athletics) rely on funding from the Mens programs at the expense of the men. When the progressive sports administrators start using terms like "must" and "have to" they are just going to impose a money grab regardless of the economics. Pro cycling will always fund the under-23 and Junior programs because they are talent feeders. Funding Women's cycling is totally justified (e.g. building the customer base) but it needs to be put in perspective and shouldn't harm the junior development programs.

The fans of Womens cycling need to put their money where their mouths (and advocates) are.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 2 years ago
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massspike wrote:

It's a competitive sport (aka meritocracy) so fund Women's cycling at the same level as Junior Men -- their equals.

The only reason why we men cycle faster than women is because our bodies naturally produce more testosterone.

That isn't an 'achievement' that justifies extra funding IMO.

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 2 years ago
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Glad to see some common sense being used to counteract the bull****

Excited to see what happens this year especially given things like Vulpine's sponsorship of Matrix Vulpine this year. Nice one AsLongAsICycle

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
massspike wrote:

It's a competitive sport (aka meritocracy) so fund Women's cycling at the same level as Junior Men -- their equals.

The only reason why we men cycle faster than women is because our bodies naturally produce more testosterone.

That isn't an 'achievement' that justifies extra funding IMO.

You're missing the point. Men's cycling doesn't need "extra funding" because it actually generates a massive surplus ... which goes to support junior and female cycling ... which don't generate a surplus. Far from it.

The money generated (and therefore the funding made available) is not determined by testosterone levels but by the commercial success of the hard-nosed business enterprises involved.

I appreciate you wanting to be ever so 'politically correct' in your musings but it isn't commercial reality, which is what actually counts.

If women spent anything like as much as men on their sport, in equipment, in tv subscriptions and in supporting their events ... then they would generate a similar income. But they don't and therefore the earnings potential of their elite athletes is correspondingly less.

Don't blame men for the lack of commercial success of women's sport. It's women themselves that aren't providing for their sisters with their support and their cash in their involvement with their sport.

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

You sound like the same set of gents who said I was stupid making women's clothing because women are poor and don't spend money on clothes. (Which I had great difficulty keeping a straight face at).

Which explains why we keep selling out of our women's lines.

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alotronic [437 posts] 2 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:

Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

You sound like the same set of gents who said I was stupid making women's clothing because women are poor and don't spend money on clothes. (Which I had great difficulty keeping a straight face at).

Which explains why we keep selling out of our women's lines.

Hooray - someone who earns money from cycling and indeed selling to women is talking!

I think the point of the original article was that efforts are being made to improve women's cycling to make it more interesting for everyone, riders included. I don't believe it said 'we want to turn women into men because it's only men that count'. The idea of having more women in cycling (including in teams, as coaches, in governance etc) is great. Bigger audience, more riders, bigger market, more cycling businesses, more commuters making the road safer for me. And maybe even UCI members who would - gasp - think of cycling as a mass involvement sport and not just 300 paid whippets and 15 uber men racing each other? Seriously, where's the problem?

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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I often think that the same blokes who post this twottle are the ones who get upset when they get chicked*.

*overtaken by a women.

How fast did you say the women's pursuit squad were going again?

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kaska [12 posts] 2 years ago
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I hate the term "chicked" with a passion. The only positive is that it often gives an insight into the mentality of the person using it ("s'only banter innit darlin'"  29 ).

(PS. Not directed at aslongasicycle's use in the current context).

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:

Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

You sound like the same set of gents who said I was stupid making women's clothing because women are poor and don't spend money on clothes. (Which I had great difficulty keeping a straight face at).

Which explains why we keep selling out of our women's lines.

That's interesting. My girlfriend is tall and struggles to find clothing the right size for her, if she finds a shop that sells good cycle gear (I despair Evans' choice of day-glo high-viz in impermeable heat retaining fabrics). So I can see there would be a good market.

What proportion of your sales is the men's to women's?

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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The argument that men aren't to blame for women's sport in general having lower viewing figures is so simplistic as to be stupid. It implies that only men watch men's sport - false. Only women should watch women's sport - again false. And that the (predominatly) men who determine the scheduling and tv coverage and sponsorshipps have no influence on the audience figures etc. - so false as to be ridiculous. Let's face it, if womens sport got half the coverage, publicity and support that men's sport does then it would be money generating to fund itself better and the coverage would generate interest and become self re-enforcing. Look at the track cycling at the olympics great coverage and great results, but british track cycling has had coverage and publicity for a while.

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
aslongasicycle wrote:

Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

You sound like the same set of gents who said I was stupid making women's clothing because women are poor and don't spend money on clothes. (Which I had great difficulty keeping a straight face at).

Which explains why we keep selling out of our women's lines.

That's interesting. My girlfriend is tall and struggles to find clothing the right size for her, if she finds a shop that sells good cycle gear (I despair Evans' choice of day-glo high-viz in impermeable heat retaining fabrics). So I can see there would be a good market.

What proportion of your sales is the men's to women's?

Wasn't going to say as verging on confidential, but sod it. We only started making everything in men's and women's sizes in the last 6 months (of 18), but already we're at about 25%-30%. It feels like we'll be at 40% soon. We just don't enough have enough stock to achieve that proportion yet.

We're not a male or female brand. Just a cycling brand.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:

Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

You sound like the same set of gents who said I was stupid making women's clothing because women are poor and don't spend money on clothes. (Which I had great difficulty keeping a straight face at).

Which explains why we keep selling out of our women's lines.

Soooo ... if you're making so much money from selling women's cycling kit then why aren't you stumping up the sponsorship cash to support them?

If a bloke wins a stage on the TdF then he gets a cheque for €10K.

If a female wins a stage at the Giro Donne then she gets a cheque for €250.

It is only businesses (presumably like yours) who make money from female cycling who have both the incentive and the power to redress this imbalance. So put your money where your mouth is.

I shall look forward to seeing a stage winner at Donne 2014 proudly sporting Vulpine sponsored kit ... and a much bigger cheque.

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:
aslongasicycle wrote:

Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

You sound like the same set of gents who said I was stupid making women's clothing because women are poor and don't spend money on clothes. (Which I had great difficulty keeping a straight face at).

Which explains why we keep selling out of our women's lines.

Soooo ... if you're making so much money from selling women's cycling kit then why aren't you stumping up the sponsorship cash to support them?

If a bloke wins a stage on the TdF then he gets a cheque for €10K.

If a female wins a stage at the Giro Donne then she gets a cheque for €250.

It is only businesses (presumably like yours) who make money from female cycling who have both the incentive and the power to redress this imbalance. So put your money where your mouth is.

I shall look forward to seeing a stage winner at Donne 2014 proudly sporting Vulpine sponsored kit ... and a much bigger cheque.

I AM NOT GRINNING. I AM....NOT GRINNING.

http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/british-cycling-companies/realising-a-dream-m...

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bashthebox [751 posts] 2 years ago
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Makes me laugh how dim a couple of people posting in this thread are. Thankfully most are a lot more enlightened.

I'm hopefully going to be involved a little in women's cycling next year, doing a bit of filmmaking. There won't be any money for me in it whatsoever, but it's two of my passions combined, so that's good. And with a bit of luck, it could help the profile women's cycling a bit, and allow me to do more bike filmmaking.

It's an uphill struggle to get the sport to the position it deserves to be in, but I do love a good hill.

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 2 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:
Joeinpoole wrote:

Soooo ... if you're making so much money from selling women's cycling kit then why aren't you stumping up the sponsorship cash to support them?

I AM NOT GRINNING. I AM....NOT GRINNING.

http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/british-cycling-companies/realising-a-dream-m...

Snigger. Beat me to it. I even gave him a clue above  1

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TrekBikesUK [128 posts] 2 years ago
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This has been a very entertaining read.

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Dizzy [68 posts] 2 years ago
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aslongasicycle][quote=Joeinpoole wrote:
aslongasicycle wrote:

Women don't buy things. So why put sponsor's messages aimed at women on team kit?

Soooo ... if you're making so much money from selling women's cycling kit then why aren't you stumping up the sponsorship cash to support them?

If a bloke wins a stage on the TdF then he gets a cheque for €10K.

If a female wins a stage at the Giro Donne then she gets a cheque for €250.

It is only businesses (presumably like yours) who make money from female cycling who have both the incentive and the power to redress this imbalance. So put your money where your mouth is.

I shall look forward to seeing a stage winner at Donne 2014 proudly sporting Vulpine sponsored kit ... and a much bigger cheque.

I AM NOT GRINNING. I AM....NOT GRINNING.

http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/british-cycling-companies/realising-a-dream-m...

Oh Go on Nick... GRIN, GRIN, GRIN.....and be bloody proud of it  3

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velobetty [71 posts] 2 years ago
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massspike wrote:

It's a competitive sport (aka meritocracy) so fund Women's cycling at the same level as Junior Men -- their equals.

Well done. You've absolutely nailed the sexism that's inherent in cycling.

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mooleur [537 posts] 2 years ago
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This is brilliant, and if it takes off will be very exciting to see so many more opportunities go out to the younger riders in the world cup series!

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pwake [374 posts] 2 years ago
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Where's Joeinpoole gone?
Joe....Joe...JOE!!

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