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Wiggle-Honda rider Emilia Fahlin sparked some lively discussion in Richmond this morning with a tweet highlighting the threefold disparity in men’s and women’s prize money for the team time trials.
One interesting fact from the Worlds Team Time Trial yesterday is the price money. Women’s is 1/3 of the men’s, when we did same distance…
— Emilia Fahlin (@EmiliaFahlin) September 21, 2015
It’s easy to lash out at the UCI over this. But, as we covered back in 2012, cycling’s governing body mandates equal pay for world championship events over which it has total control. Because the team time trial involves trade teams, prize money comes from a separate fund and involves other commercial interests.
“I believe the issue is that the [TTT] prize money for men is provided by the men’s WorldTour fund,” said Kristy Scrymgeour, owner of the Velocio-SRAM team that won its fourth-straight women’s TTT world championship Sunday. “So, in effect, the fees the teams pay go towards the prize money, and because women’s fees are much smaller, they’d have to find another way to add to that prize money.”
But for all other events this week — road and time trials, elites and younger ranks — men and women will have equal pay.
“The UCI introduced equal prize money across disciplines at the world championships — except for the team time trial event at the road world championships – in 2013, in Louisville, with the cyclocross world championships,” said UCI press officer Louis Chenaille.
And those efforts are expanding. The 2016 ‘cross worlds will introduce a new women’s under-23 category that will also have equal prize money. “We are holding discussions with stakeholders to extend such initiatives to other disciplines,” Chenaille says.
There’s still a huge gap in all other races. Minimum pay requirements for events that the UCI doesn’t organize but that fall under the UCI calendar show huge differences — 7,515 euro ($8,413) minimum for first place in an elite one-day men’s race versus 1,128 euro ($1,263) for women, for example. But in those instances where the UCI has total control, it would seem that the organization is indeed fighting the good fight.