Lizzie Armistead urges UCI to implement a minimum wage for female cyclists to progress the sport

The Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth cycling champion has urged the International Cycling Union (UCI) to improve pay conditions in a bid to help professonalise women’s cycling.

“There have been some good realistic steps and good progression,”  Armistead told Sky Sports News. “I think the UCI has put in some good ideas and some good strategies but obviously there’s still a long way to go.

“I think before we talk about having a three-week Tour De France, which has been a massive talking point this year, we need to talk about the professionalism of it. You can’t expect a woman who’s holding down a part-time job to train for the biggest race in the world. She has to have a minimum wage and I think it’s something that is pretty crazy that we don’t have that.”

Armistead has also called on professional teams to consider funding and running women’s teams alongside existing men’s teams.

She added: “It’s kind of the chicken and egg scenario. It’s media exposure, it’s sponsors. At the end of the day, cycling is a business, so we have to be able to offer something to a sponsor, and without exposure, that’s going to be difficult but that’s where the UCI perhaps has to be a little bit stronger.

“If professional men’s teams are now going to have development teams, then why not also have a women’s team.”

  • Dave2020

    The male dominated media and administration of cycling are to blame.

    Brian Cookson is stuck in a 19th century mindset. He’s on record as saying that a women’s Tour de France “would be devastation” because, “frankly, women are weaker.” Presumably he means relative to men and if so, what has that got to do with anything? Marathons are more demanding than any cycle race, but you never see more ‘devastated’ women than men at the finish. Nobody’s calling for mixed teams, although in fact, endurance sport is an area where the female athlete is closer to the male. Doesn’t he know of Beryl Burton’s 12hr performance?

    Armitstead is right. First ensure equality of opportunity, with the minimum wage, so that women are able to prepare properly for races similar to the long-established men’s calendar. If the business world is allowed to oppose legislation, as they did with the Equal Pay Act and still do on the minimum wage, on ‘commercial’ grounds, we’ll never get progress or justice.

    Why does Tinkov offer an extra €1 million to millionaire male riders? (Nibali and Froome aren’t tempted) He obviously has more money than sense. (i.e. it’s not a commercial decision) It would be better spent ‘subsidising’ the ‘poor’ women!

    It would be progress if the men’s events were shortened. Most of them are so ‘devastated’ within five hours they choose to pack it in.