While Alexander Kristoff picked up €20,000 for winning the men's Tour of Flanders, women's winner Elisa Longo Borghini got just €1,213

Wiggle-Honda’s Elisa Longo Borghini wants to see more done to raise women’s cycling to the level of men’s, starting with equal prize money.

She revealed that she took home just €1,213 (£871) for winning the Tour of Flanders, a fraction of the €20,000 (£14,365) claimed by men’s winner Alexander Kristoff.

The Women’s Tour of Flanders on April 5, held hours before the men’s race, was the third World Cup event in a series of 10 this season, and Longo Borghini criticised the lack of prize money on offer.

“I won the same that you’d win in any World Cup race, 1213€,” Longo Borghini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Now, how is it possible a woman wins the same as a rider who places 20th in the men’s race? In 2015? It’s not fair.”

Later the same afternoon, Kristoff won €20000, Terpstra €10000 and Greg Van Avermaet €5000. The seventh and eighth place riders earned nearly the same as Longo Borghini, €1500 and €1000 respectively. Riders placed 10th through 20th, like Sky’s Geraint Thomas (Sky) in 14th, earned €500 each.

In comparison to Flanders, German John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) took home €30,000 (£21,548) for winning Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

“I don’t do it for the prize money. I love sport,” Brit Emma Pooley told BBC Sport in April last year.

“It seems strange when the prize money for coming third at a triathlon in the Philippines is more than the prize money I’ve ever won in a bike race. That’s nuts to me.”

At last year’s World Championships team time trial in Ponferrada, Spain, for example, the winning men earned £26,500 and the women got just £8,500.

In October, Minister for Sport Helen Grant called for equal pay in cycling events after a study showed men earn more than 30% more in prize money than women in many sports.

“There is a gap, it needs to be closed but it’s not going to happen overnight,” she told BBC Sport.

“We do know that women’s sport is very exciting, we know it can draw really big audiences but we need more media coverage and more commercial investment.”

Longo Borghini agreed with Grant: “We’re growing, the level’s improving,”

“Sorting out images is the first thing because it pulls in sponsors. At least the last 25 kilometres of the a world cup has to be shown. I think it’s better to see 10 strong women fighting it out rather than an escape in a men’s race 150 kilometres from the finish line that is going 50kph, with the group going 40kph.

“The women deserve better.”

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    So are you saying there is a conspiracy to keep the women down? If I saw any evidence of that I would be quick to condemn it. I’m not holding my breath though.

  • Gary Jogela

    I didn’t make the comment to run down women’s cycling.sorry you felt the need to defend it.However,that was just one race.

  • Sam

    Women can demand equality when they’re not allowed in the men’s race. If prize money reflected commercial realities then the women’s tour of britain should have had better prize money than the men’s, but it didn’t.

  • Sam

    How many male pros would be doing it ‘for the love of the sport’ if they weren’t getting paid? You can’t feed yourself off ‘the love of the sport’. Also, the event being shorter is yet more evidence of inequality and sexism – there is no reason for the women’s race to be shorter.

  • Sam

    If the level is lower it’s because there isn’t equal pay. Lets see how many male pros ‘dedicate their life’ to their sport if there is no pay cheque at the end of it.

  • Sam

    You joking? The men get all that and millions in salary per year PLUS the prize money. Most female ‘pros’ don’t get a salary. Where are you pulling free food and drink and accommodation from? Female pros don’t get that. Lizzie Armitstead said in an interview her yearly salary is lower than male pros minimum wage, yet male pros of similar standing get millions a year in salary alone.

  • Sam

    Where’s your evidence? The 2014 women’s tour of britain got more spectators out on the road than the men’s.

  • Don Mcvay

    You still haven’t answered whether #1 male soccer player in the world should be paid on par with the #1 female soccer player in the world. You can’t demand equality while being separate. I’m starting to think that a map drawn in crayons might be too elaborate for you

  • David Bassett

    Derek may I say that it is good to hear that we have the
    same views. I do find it difficult to get my head around such clap trap from the likes of Don Mcvay. I had hoped that attitudes like that had if not died were at least not quite so extreme. I cannot see the day that women will get the same money across the board in cycling, and to be honest don’t see why they should. Like in tennis if the woman played five sets then they should get the same as the men. Saying that Mick Benet gave the same prize money in both the men’s and women’s Tour of Britain
    last year so there must be sponsors out there that think there is a case for equality in prize money. Good of you to reply.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I haven’t really changed my mind about anything, but I’m not motivated by misogynist bigotry. Fairness in the rewards for professional sportspeople is a bit of a pipedream though. The people vote with their remote controls and the money follows. Clearly it’s easy to make the case that the women deserve more but even they offer no practical suggestions as to how that might be achieved. Consequently they end up sounding a bit like paranoid conspiracy theorists and I can’t see that helping.

  • David Bassett

    Fatboyonabike You aught to look at what has been said. To
    save you scrolling all the way to the top of the page I have copied a bit for you “The woman’s race was 86.4 miles and the winner got £871 the men’s was 165 miles and the winner got £14K you could say at that rate the woman’s winner should have got £7.5K. I do hope that is what Elisa Longo Borghini would have wanted; As far as Chrissie Wellington is
    concerned two points 1. would you say this crap to her face, no I don’t think so, and 2. We were talking about woman’s pay in road racing, Chrissie Wellington will most probably get more in one Iron Man than the top road woman will get all year. And good on her for that (and that is why Olympic champion has switched to Tri). That was not what the debate was about. But a few drongs who have tried to put it that men and woman should compete in the same events, or get no price money. No one is saying that woman can compete against men in the same event. But there are those who seem to have the opinion that woman should stay at home and was the dishes. Well shame on those people.

  • David Bassett

    Sorry can’t quite agree with that If they were the best
    women in the world they would not be racing in the States, they would be in Europe, unless they came home just for the TTT If that is the case I apologise. And what the hell do you mean about men getting haircut. Once again I am sorry, I think you live in a strange little world all of your own. Maybe you were beat-up
    by some little girl when you were a kid. You do sound as if you have some problems.

  • fatboyonabike

    Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Don McVay. Women need to up their game a bit if they want the same wage. Stop whining and work harder. Chrissie Wellington stands out to me as someone who should get the same salary as men. She’s good…really good. She also competes in the same event as men. Women should compete with the men. If they don’t get a prize winning placing then they don’t get any money. Currently the average woman has a better chance of winning in a womens event than an average man in a mans event. Why? Because there is more strength in depth in mens sports. If a man were to win an event he would have to be truly exceptional. Not so in womens events. So I’m saying women must either wait… or focus their fight to compete in mens events. If they beat men then trust me they will get all the respect in the World and be completely and utterly deserving of pay parity.

  • Don Mcvay

    Can one be non-self opinionated? Anyways, Berol Burton is a great example why these races should be unisex. Let the best man/woman win. By the way, the TTT national championships took place in US over the weekend and the women’s team would have finished 16th if it raced against the men…of course, 10 of the teams comprised of men were amateurs or masters….so some of the best female riders in the world would get crushed by a bunch of people who don’t ride for a living. Should female soccer players earn the same as male stars in the EPL?! That’s a ridiculous notion. If women want equal pay, why don’t they get their own sponsors?! prize money is finite… wouldn’t you have to give men a haircut in order to give that portion to women?! If you have 100 men competing in an event and 10 women, you’d have to admit that compensating the #1 male = #1 female would be extremely unfair.

  • David Bassett

    I would love to know how you stand now. I just hope that Don Mcvay points are not the norm for cyclists. I have enjoyed this sport from the late 60’s when I was privileged to meet the likes of the great B.B. and for most of those years I don’t think I have ever heard any one with so much disrespect for other SPORTS people, never mind if they are men or woman.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I wish Don Mcvay hadn`t agreed with me. I’m reviewing my argument.

  • Don Mcvay

    That’s a clever argument if I’ve ever heard one – comparing someone who rides for fun with someone who trains and rides competitively. Compare pros with pros and the top woman would not cover point A to point B in as fast a time as a man. If you want me to draw you a diagram, I have some crayons in a drawer somewhere.

  • David Bassett

    I wonder if you had been in the woman’s race how far behind
    the last rider you would have been. I feel ashamed that a so called cyclist
    could talk like you. I doubt you have ever achieved anything on a bike in your
    life.

  • Don Mcvay

    Men deserve to get paid more because they’re better athletes…a lot have dedicated their life to this sport. For women, you have athletes who may have played other sports through teens and even college and just picked up a bike for fun in their 20s… That’s a pretty sad level..

  • Don Mcvay

    Exactly..what’s next?! Separate races for minorities?!

  • Don Mcvay

    If she would have raced against the men, how far back behind the last rider would she have finished. Can’t be equal AND separate. Don’t think of it as women making less money because they’re women, think of it as male riders deserving to make more because they’re better athletes.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I don”t think there’s a committee of misogynists deciding on the matter. I think this reflects commercial realities. Also, can women really demand equality when they require a separate race?

  • Oboeplum

    You make a good point-people often defend the pay gap in sport with “but women’s events are shorter!”, although it’s clear that prize money isn’t even proportional to distance. Even if women have shorter events (which I feel is wrong) they should be paid at the same rate.

  • David Bassett

    The woman’s race was 86.4 miles and the winner got £871 the men’s was 165 miles and the winner got £14K you could say at that rate the woman’s winner should have got £7.5K. I do hope that is what Elisa Longo Borghini would have wanted; when she says that there should be equal prize money. Woman’s bike racing has come on leaps and bounds over a very short period of time. I remember a good friend of mine being told by the event organizer to ride a MTB race that she was entered in a week after her getting the Land’s End to John o’ Groats. He told her that she was the only rider. The prize money for that was more than she got for finishing the Woman’s Tour de France. I am not saying that women are getting a good or bad deal in cycling, but I am sure they are getting a better deal than most other sports. The Oxford Cambridge woman’s boat race up until this year Not only was there no funding and therefore no prize money, but they actually had to pay to compete. Now they’ve achieved equality – same course, same distance, same prize money, same BBC TV coverage, to an expected global audience of 100 million. “The Boat Race” has finally become “The Boat Races”. Stick with it girls, you will get there but it takes time. Think of all who went before you and did it for the LOVE OF THEIR SPORT.

  • Pbody

    Women make up about half of the buying public in the free world. So where are the companies who make products for women? They could help support women’s sporting events and the cost of doing so would be less than some advertising venues.

  • David Chadderton

    Er, plus salary from a Wiggle Honda, free car, free equipment, all expenses paid, free food and drink, free travel and accommodation, plus start money, plus bonus’s? These are professionals. What do they really earn? More than we can imagine I reckon.

  • Gary Jogela

    I was at the Kwaremont for the 2015 Tour of Flanders.The spectators gave the women’s race good applause and encouragement as it came up the climb.However,as much as i hate to say it,i couldn’t help feeling that if it weren’t for the men’s race using the same roads hardly anyone would have bothered to go and watch the women