The CEO of Flanders Classics has claimed that women's cycling needs more investment from TV broadcasts and starting money in teams to improve equality within the sport, rather than primarily focussing on matching the prize money available at races.
Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel's comments come after Nokere Koerse organisers announced on Wednesday that its men's and women's races in 2022 will feature equal prize money, resulting in the largest pot for a one-day race in women's cycling.
However, Van Den Spiegel suggests that simply increasing prize money doesn't focus on the fact that women's cycling needs more investment, especially with the help of TV broadcasting.
He told Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab): “Women's cycling needs some things that can generate more resources. That is primarily TV broadcasting.
"They should be on TV as often as possible because that attracts money to the sport. Riders and teams agree that investments must be made in television and in starting money across all teams.
“Only in the third instance does investment in prize money come into play. Because that only rewards the top riders. And they are not asking for that.
“I maintain that I only find the equalisation of prize money useless. There are more yards. I am not alone with this vision.”
Van Den Spiegel alludes to the crowdfunding effort at last season's Strade Bianche, whereby donators attempted to make both the men's and women's prize money equal, to reinforce his point that more steps are necessary in developing the sport.
He said: "Well, the riders didn't accept that then. They chose to donate all the money raised to projects that are committed to women's cycling. That indicates that more is needed. Raising prize money is symbolic. I understand that, but at the same time so much budget is needed to make women's cycling better with other things."
The Flanders Classics CEO also said that the organiser will announce its initiatives aimed at improving the investment in women's cycling in February 2022, with the aim to make the prize funds equal in their men's and women's races in 2023.
Van Den Spiegel also highlighted that progress is slowly happening, with major races, such as the women's Paris-Roubaix, being broadcast on TV for the first time next year.
He concluded: “We are on the right track, but there is still a lot to do.”
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