By Jonny Long
Former pro Peter Stetina has launched a gravel race that will offer $4,000 of prize money to female competitors and $0 to men.
The American is promising to "flip the script", after watching the women play second fiddle to men's races throughout his career.
'Stetina's Paydirt' will see competitors able to tackle one of two courses in Carson City, Nevada. The Paydirt is 67 miles long and reaches 6,000ft in elevation, while a medium course is slightly shorter at 49 miles, and only 3,100ft in elevation.
There will be one major time cut before the second climb of the Paydirt course, with riders eliminated sent on a shorter route back to the festival area.
"Throughout my career, if there was a women's event in race I did, it was generally treated as the opener to the men’s act, this isn’t OK," Stetina said. "So we're flipping the script: Women will take center stage. Thanks to Shimao [the event's sponsor] we will offer over $4,000 in prize money at Stetina's Paydirt.
"We’ll also cover the action, promote the hell out of it, and push it to any cycling publications interested ASAP. Any woman who dreams of taking home a boatload of prizes, cash, and glory, better finish with a hefty lead or fancy her odds against the Mechanical Bull."
Competitors are invited to see how long they can stay on a mechanical bull before the race, and they will gain bonus seconds for each second they manage to stay on.
"I know this isn’t a perfect fix, but it’s a start," Stetina continued. "And if everyone who believes in parity puts in a bit of elbow grease, real change is possible. There have already been some great strides forward. Let’s keep the ball rolling."
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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