By Jonny Long
World champion Anna van der Breggen has said while the riders of SD Worx are thankful for the money crowdfunded for the winner of Strade Bianche, her team-mate Chantal van den Broek-Blaak having crossed the line first, she hopes it will prove to the UCI and race organisers that women's racing deserve to be broadcast properly live on television, with only the final 22km of the women's Strade Bianche aired.
€26,000 was raised by a crowdfunding campaign launched by a fan after outcry over the discrepancy between the €930 on offer for the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner compared to the €16,000 for the man across the line first. At Strade Bianche a week later, the male winner was allotted €16,000 compared to just €2,256 for the rider who won the women's race.
The crowdfunding money was split between the top five across the line, with SD Worx picking up nearly half of the sum after finishing first and third, and the team have now thanked all those who contributed to the campaign, but also saying they hope it shows race organisers the appetite that fans have for women's racing to be broadcast live on TV.
"We as riders from team SD Worx were surprised to hear that so many fans donated money, to achieve the same amount of prize money as the men. The gesture is really generous and gives us the feeling that not only teams and riders want to bring women's cycling to a higher level, but that the fans also want to be a part of this!" Anna van der Breggen said.
The Dutchwoman also said that prize money isn't necessarily the most important issue for the women's peloton, as those riding for WorldTour teams, the most likely to be picking up the prize pots at these WT races, already receive decent salaries.
"We also want to say that prize money isn’t the most important thing for riders who are part of a UCI WorldTour team, because we already receive good salaries. We hope your prize money gesture will further show the UCI and organisers that our races deserve to be broadcast for our fans. More exposure for our races is the most important thing to grow women's cycling in the coming years.
"So we want to thank everybody a lot for the support and hopefully your efforts will lead to the attention that women's cycling deserves."
This point of view is shared by Movistar's Annemiek van Vleuten, a two-time Strade Bianche winner who finished fourth and so picked up some of the extra money on offer.
Elisa Longo Borghini, who finished runner-up behind Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, has announced her share of the money would go towards women's cycling projects.
"I'm honoured and touched, as a woman and as a rider, that someone was willing to donate money to support the cause of prize equity between women's and men's cycling. This generosity is a vote of confidence, a great boost in support of the entire women's movement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart," the Italian said.
"To make this gesture even more important, my Trek-Segafredo team-mates and I have decided that our prize shares collected through crowdfunding, starting with mine at Strade Bianche, will be set aside and committed to supporting women's cycling projects. We will soon decide how and where we will spend the money, but on this special day [International Women's Day] we think it's important marking a new step in the long and difficult road of women's empowerment."
Ceratizit-WNT's Lizzy Banks is another who's spoken out on the issue, saying she finds it hard to believe that the women are seven times less valuable than the men's, the size of the discrepancy between the prize money at Omloop.
“I just don’t understand, are we seven times less valuable than the men’s race? I don’t think so," she said. "I think we put on a great, great show – so why is this happening? It happens time and time again, and we’re really fighting a losing battle here, why wouldn’t you change this?
"It’s such an easy thing to change and this money isn’t going to make a difference to the men in the same way that it would make a difference to the women."
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. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. 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.
Chris Froome reveals the race he'd like to win before retirement
The seven-time Grand Tour winner speaks about how tech and data help younger riders get to the top earlier and how it helps recovery
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Coldplay perform using energy powered by 60 cyclists
The cyclists powered the music performances at the inaugural Earthshot Prize
By Ryan Dabbs •
Vincenzo Nibali says riders should switch off bike computers following Mathieu van der Poel’s Strade Bianche win
Vincenzo Nibali has said riders should avoid looking at their power meters in races, after Mathieu van der Poel’s phenomenal victory in Strade Bianche.
By Alex Ballinger •
Strade Bianche Strava times obliterated as Mathieu van der Poel takes final 25km KOM
Wout van Aert's fourth-place effort also saw him lop two minutes of the time that gave him the win in 2020
By Jonny Long •
Five talking points from Strade Bianche 2021
The Dutch dominated, winning both men's and women's races
By Stephen Puddicombe •
Rivals quake as Mathieu van der Poel hopes Strade Bianche 'is just the start' this spring
The Dutchman's repeated explosive attacks towards the Piazza del Campo went unanswered by the world's best riders
By Jonny Long •
'I'll be there soon' says Tom Pidcock after impressing once more with top five at Strade Bianche
'I was thinking, yeah this is quite cool,' says the Brit after making the selection containing the world's top riders on the Tuscan gravel roads
By Jonny Long •
Lift off for Mathieu van der Poel as Dutchman powers to Strade Bianche victory
No-one could match the Dutchman after he put in an explosive attack to dislodge Julian Alaphilippe up to the finish line in the Piazza del Campo
By Jonny Long •
SDWorx continue to rule, with Chantal van den Broek-Blaak winning Strade Bianche
The former world champion out-kicked Elisa Longo Borghini to win the first Women's WorldTour race of the year
By Owen Rogers •
How to watch Strade Bianche 2021: Live stream the picturesque Italian one-day race
Strade Bianche 2021 is just a few days away as the peloton heads to Italy - here’s how you can watch the action on the gravel roads of Tuscany.
By Jonny Long •