A lack of strength and depth isn't what's holding women's cycling back – but neither is unequal prize money, economist shows

In most sports, more funding leads to greater competition and more revenue, but cycling is more complicated than that – here’s why

Demi Vollering wins the 2023 Tour de France Femmes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

‘Women’s cycling is boring because the same riders always win’ – we’ve heard the argument a million times before, and this apparent lack of ‘strength and depth’ is often used as a justification for the financial imbalance between the two sports. The prize purse for the Tour de France Femme, for example, was just one-tenth of the size of the men's. 

However, Emeritus Professor Robert Rider from California State University, San Marcos, has crunched the numbers and asserts that men’s cycling is no more competitive than women’s. 

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Herfindal-Hirschman Index (HHI) of cycle racing
RaceActual HHIIdeal HHI
Tour de France Femmes 2023.3491.0769
Tour de France - last 32 years .1653.0702
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Robert Rider's HHI calculations
WomenTour de France FemmesGiro DonneVuelta Femenina
2022.1716 .1644 .2346
2023.3491 .3491 .2231
Average.2604 .2568 .2289
Multiple above ideal3.386x 3.339x 2.266x
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Men (1992-2023)Tour de FranceGiro d'ItaliaVuelta a Espana
Average.1653 .2032 .1928
Multiple above ideal2.353 2.893 2.745

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