The winners of the men's and women's editions of the Tour of Flanders will be paid the same from this year, it was announced on Monday.
In an interview with Belgian newspaper De Tijd , Tomas van den Spiegel, the CEO of Flanders Classics, the race's organiser, said that there would be €50,000 on offer as prizes for both races. The winner of each edition will win €20,000.
"This season we are making the effort to increase the prize money in the women's edition of the Tour of Flanders to €50,000," Van den Spiegel said.
"[That's] the same amount that is distributed among the winners of the men's race. From 2023 onwards, it's our intention to equalise the prize money for all our spring races."
Flanders Classics also runs Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs, and Brabantse Pijl, all of which have women's equivalents.
Late last year he 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.
"We are still facing a lot of obstacles," he said this week. "No money is yet paid for the TV rights of women's races. For income from sponsorships and VIP packages, we are still too dependent on the men's races that are raced on the same day. We have to come up with a product that can exist on its own as much as possible."
In 2021, the discrepancy in prize money between Omloop Het Nieuwsblad became one of the main talking points in the aftermath of Opening Weekend, with world champion Anna van der Breggen picking up only €930 for winning compared to Davide Ballerini's €16,000.
The imbalance received criticism, but still appears to be in place for this year's event.
The move for equal prize money is part of Flanders Classics' "Close the Gap" initiative, which it is working on in partnership with KPMG. It aims to improve the state of women's cycling in Flanders.
The classics season starts this weekend with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, followed by Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kurrne on Sunday, which is not organised by Flanders Classics and does not have a women's edition.
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