Can British time trialling accommodate a sudden influx of women newcomers, or will many of those who have signed up to the new South East Women's Time Trial Series end up without a ride due to a system of entry limitation that favours men?
Despite the discipline's governing body, Cycling Time Trials, passing a proposal in December to reserve 20 per cent of an oversubscribed field for women, SEWTTS organiser Rebecca Slack still foresees a problem if the 100 women signed up for her new 2014 series, that uses existing CTT events as its qualifiers, all enter the same event.
The field for a time trial is selected by entrants' best time at the distance recorded during the current and past three years - regardless of gender. This means that, in an oversubscribed event, up to four times more men than women will get a ride after the 20 per cent rule is applied.
"If the demand [from women] can't be met within the existing CTT framework then changes have to be made," said Slack.
"This could be asking for greater allocation of places for women within the events on the calendar. I think across the board women ought to be entitled to 50 per cent of starts.
"I didn't know what the demand was going to be, so there's no way I could say I want women's dedicated races because there are some women's dedicated races already that are only getting a handful of people," Slack said. "I just hope CTT are going to work with me on this one to make sure the women who have entered my series are going to get a ride."
This article was first published in the December 12 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!
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