The decision by the organisers of the Tour Down Under to pay out equal prize money for the men’s and women’s races has received widespread support.
Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) won this year’s women’s race, and reacted to the news of equal prize money just after it was announced on Sunday, saying “Wow, not that I needed any more reasons to love Tour Down Under. What a huge step forward for equality.”
Wiggle-High5 rider and fellow Australian Annette Edmondson said: “A HUGE step forward for women’s cycling! Thank you, Australia!! (Namely Leon Bignell, Tourism South Australia and the SA gov’t!) #proudsouthaussie”
TDU stage winner Chlose Hosking (Alé–Cipollini) said: “Just wow. Huge news & just one more example of how women’s sport is on the up and in the forefront of the public’s mind in Australia. #proud”
The announcement that equal prize money would be awarded was made by South Australia Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell at the TDU Legends Night dinner on Sunday evening.
It means that the total prize pot for the women’s race has significantly grown from the AUS$15,000 to AUS$100,000.
“This is exciting news for women’s sport and I’m thrilled to announce our government is providing equal prize money for female riders in the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under,” he said.
“I wrote to UCI President, Mr David Lappartient, in November last year and we finished the discussion today and agreed the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under was the perfect event to lead the way for equal prize money.
“These athletes are at the top of their game, display professionalism determined and skill during every stage of the hard-fought race.
“It’s only fair the prize money they receive is on par with their male counterparts for each stage as well as the general classification.”
Lappartient was also among those to publicly react to the announcement on Twitter, saying “Prize money for 2.1 UCI sanctioned #TDU Women’s race is now equal to men’s! I applaud the #seesouthaustralia Government commitment to support women cycling and thrilled to see that UCI’s first World Tour event leads the way for equal prize money! Lots to learn from this action.”
The TDU’s move to provide parity in prize money is not the only step that it has taken to modernise its races, after it stopped using podium girls in 2017.
“I applaud the steps taken by the South Australian Government to replace the podium girls with junior cyclists in both men’s and women’s race presentations,” said Lappartient.
“I am a strong advocate for women’s empowerment in sports in general and cycling more specifically.”
The Women’s Tour Down Under is a UCI 2.1-ranked event – one step down from the top-level WorldTour – while the men’s event is the opening race in the WorldTour calendar. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) won the men’s event on Sunday.