Thursday Shorts

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Canyon have emailed owners of their new Aeroad to stop riding it and instructed their pro teams to switch to older models or move to the Ultimate frame, all following the break in Mathieu van der Poel’s handlebars in Le Samyn. Cautious? Certainly given the same bars held up for his Alpecin-Fenix team mates and Tim Merlier won the race. But while there are lots of theories doing the rounds – mechanics over-tightening bolts, crash damage from Kuurne – nobody knows what happened and the company wants to find out what it is. Van der Poel can rewrite the sports codes sometimes but his sponsors can’t take the same risks.

The disparity between men’s and women’s prize money has been an issue this week following the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It’s an interesting topic as prize money isn’t that important in cycling but it is important outside cycling as a symbolic issue, and this creates a feedback loop. To outsiders prize money is often a proxy for the value put on a sporting event, when one tennis or golf tournament pays more than another this signifies something. In cycling it’s a bit different; take the €500,000 first prize for the Tour de France which some see as derisory. But keener followers of pro cycling know that riders are salaried and stand to earn millions from winning the Tour; meanwhile prize money is levied, taxed and shared and a male pro often eventually collects less than 10% of the headline figure so the cash prize is rarely any incentive: winning is because it brings contracts, UCI points and other gains. Surely the fundamental structural issues faced by the women’s peloton are the lack of sponsorship income and TV coverage, rather than the prize pot? Hopefully once these are improved – and improving they are – then prize money can follow soon. Flanders Classics, promoters of the Omloop, is moving quickly: it wasn’t long ago there was no women’s Omloop, now it’s got live TV and could be promoted into the World Tour next year. One advance was Le Samyn on Tuesday where Lotte Kopecky won a much bigger prize than Tim Merlier.

The route will be unveiled in April but Dutch website Wielerflits says the Tour of Poland will return for a stage finish in Katowice… but a time trial stage, meaning the downhill sprint there is no more. To be expected but this is a nice ladder for the race to climb down, the “we always planned to have a time trial” route rather than having a sprint in the city again and either using the same finish and seeing a rider strike; or having a different one which implicitly signals the old one was a bad idea. Meanwhile legal action in Poland’s courts continues, one consequence from the crash involving Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen is that there is a case open against Groenewegen in the Polish courts; but this doesn’t mean he’s alone in the dock, from reading about it the case sounds more like a way of gathering facts and establishing liability for insurance claims rather than persecuting or prosecuting a rider, even if the law goes allow for people in these claims to face jail time.

In contrast to the Tour of Poland where parts of the route have leaked out ahead of time, the Tour de Suisse route has been unveiled today but it was all published on line some time ago on the race website. From 6-13 June it’s a vintage affair with two time trial stages totalling 34km (almost as much as the Giro) and mountains galore, no road stage has less than 2,000m of vertical gain. There’s also a Tour de Suisse women’s race from 5-6 June but this has also yet to be unveiled.

Staying in Switzerland, the Giro’s final mountain stage crosses the Splügenpass or Passo Spluga to the Giro during the final mountain stage, on the last Saturday. It’s a very scenic climb – one motorbike site asks if it’s “the most exciting road in the Alps?” and the answer is probably “no, but it’s a very fine one” and the Giro will feature a scenic descent with the road cut into tunnels. This blog’s Giro route review the other day looked at the race route and since then RCS have put stage maps online for all the stages on the Giro website.

No Vuelta route analysis?” asked a reader by email as the Giro, Tour and other routes get a blog post. “No, sorry” was a summary of the reply. Spanish geography is much less familiar so doing a review would be copy-pasting the press release and there’s no point since you can visit the Vuelta website for that. But there’s both a serious and flippant point to be made here too: even the pro teams don’t look at the Vuelta route as much. Some riders only decide to do the Vuelta after something has gone wrong en route in the Tour de France and while teams have pre-Tour training camps precisely to practice on the same roads they’ll race on, plus Egan Bernal has already visited the Alpe di Mera as part of his Giro build-up, try finding a team who will recon a Vuelta stage ahead of the race, it’s much more rare.

Talking of looking ahead, Tadej Pogačar’s signed a six year deal with the UAE Emirates team. It’s impressive for the duration of course which must be a record in the sport… beating Juan Ayuso’s five year deal with UAE. Presumably it’s also for a very high salary but we don’t know and it’s unlikely to be one sheet of A4 stating he’s on €X million per year for six years; instead it’ll have stacks of clauses and conditions. What we can be more sure of is that it will have a knock-on effect though, other riders will start asking for longer deals and some teams with stable finances will start offering them too. Of course riders are not tied to the team either for the full length of the contract, lawyers are hired and riders move. This creates an asymmetry here where a rider can ask for a long term deal and if they then flop they’re still able to see out the contract; if they exceed expectations they can ask for more or flush out higher offers from elsewhere. But cycling’s still thankfully far from football’s transfer practices. For now think of the rider transfer market as a large puzzle and the top riders are like the corner pieces you start with first. Once Pogačar is in place, others can start be slotted around.

Lastly yesterday’s start to the Italian race season, the Trofeo Laigueglia was a great edition, it passed the DVD test: you’d buy the DVD highlights (if they still made DVDs and you had a DVD player; what should this test be called now?). Bauke Mollema took a vintage win, mugging the front group of riders to go solo just as they went into a lull and he was impossible to catch, he’s done this before in the Tour de France and the Giro di Lombardia. It was good to see Bernal and Landa on the attack, the Spaniard in the drops when all the others were on the tops. And notable for the performances by younger riders like Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quickstep), Clément Champoussin (Ag2r Citroën), Biniam Ghirmay (Delko) and Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos).

51 thoughts on “Thursday Shorts”

  1. The moral absolutism exhibited in many takes on the prize money debate is infuriating. But yours is spot on; the size of funds is a symbolic and easily understandable disparity. It’s much easier to grasp, but also much less important, than the regulations around minimum wages at different team levels and the lack of media coverage – the thing that ultimately means that sponsors can’t get as much value out of the women’s side of the sport.

    Matched prize money will please those trumpeting from their moral grandstands, and it will and should come, but the coverage is what should be prioritised. I can’t wait for more of it because the excitement of the racing is no less than it is when the people doing it have a Y chromosome.

    • It’s difficult sometimes, building up a calendar, adding TV coverage, the creation of the World Tour with its regulations on minimum wage, maternity pay, obligatory live broadcasts and more takes time and then along comes a meme and Flanders Classics, the UCI etc look like monsters. This doesn’t mean everything’s ok today of course and the outside pressure probably helps hurry things up – I gather ASO’s decision to go big into women’s racing was partly because they were told to get a move on and do the right thing rather than seeing the business opportunity – but it’s an interesting thing with “outsiders” and “insiders” to use clumsy labels seeing things from different points.

    • I feel more inclined to figure out how to donate to, for example, the lowest paid domestiques of the winner’s team… They’re more likely on pocket change ‘salaries’ and struggling with expenses.

    • I’m inclined to agree with the sentiments of this post but I’m not sure that the strength of depth of women’s racing is present yet?
      Several female riders dominate all parts, be it climbing, flat, punchy, time trialling.
      Certainly to a far greater degree than is the case with the men anyway.
      They’re excellent cyclists but there needs to be more at or near their level.
      But I suppose it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation, and part of the larger issue about women’s prize money, coverage etc.

      • It has changed a lot over the last 10 years, the top level has become a lot more dense and races have overall become more interesting (and TV-friendly) as a result.
        Yes, you do have some riders that are a cut above the rest, but gone are the days of knowing the winner before the race if Marianne Vos was on the start list.

      • “I’m inclined to agree with the sentiments of this post but I’m not sure that the strength of depth of women’s racing is present yet?
        Several female riders dominate all parts, be it climbing, flat, punchy, time trialling.
        Certainly to a far greater degree than is the case with the men anyway.
        They’re excellent cyclists but there needs to be more at or near their level”.

        Sure but. Guess what? It’s pretty much what male cycling looked like from the 40s until the 70s. Yeah, periods which are often called the “Golden Age of Cycling”. Surely because such a nature of the field prevented… exactly what? Social acknowledgement? Commercial success? It’s not a serious obstacle to market a sport.

        Don’t get me wrong: from a technical POV, cycling is going to benefit greatly from greater inclusion and deeper fields, irrespective of gender (it’s still happening among men: does anyone really think that the potential of South America had been actually exploited until very recent years, despite occasional presence and triumphs back in past decades? And what about many English-speaking countries? Were they contributing as much as they’re doing now? Didn’t anyone notice the impact?).
        But, that said, it can’t be described as a chicken and egg situation: a deep and well-rounded field isn’t logically *needed* to get a successful, marketable sport, albeit it may help, of course. Indeed, cycling peaked in Europe without it (many fans are still looking back at that lack of specialisation with nostalgia – and understandably so).
        OTOH, women are actually prevented from entering the sport by the lack of financial support and visibility.

        • Are they though Gabrielle?
          The logical and most viable way to bring through good quality female cyclists is probably via the national track teams?
          They’re largely funded by public money, perhaps with some corporate support.
          In the case of the GB cyclists, they will receive funding to support them and then are able to earn separately via advertising and sponsorship on the back of their track exploits.
          If more of these girls found it both financially worthwhile and physically achievable to move to the road scene, I feel sure that the whole profile of professional women’s cycling would be raised to bring that financial support.
          It appears to exist for (some of) the female track cyclists but it has to be built on quality and success? You can’t just demand parity without that?

          • You’re a bit locked in your local scene, which is paradoxical since we’re speaking of getting a deeper field. Most countries just don’t have a serious public funded national cycling programme.

            Anyway, we already have top quality women athletes in cycling (some of them could ride in a men peloton, indeed).

            We need (or: “what you ask for requires”) a deeper field, that is, raising the average level (which is also happening, by the way), that is, including stronger athletes who, all the same, don’t win often, or are oustider candidates to the win, or work as gregari, second lines and so on.
            That means a profile which isn’t easily funded by national programmes (track is often invidual or with a very small team; national programmes are interested in the few absolute best; and so on), and which is even more difficult to support through “advertising” or “personal sponsorship”.

            Not speaking of rough sexism which often plagues those “national teams” you seem to consider the best way to promote women cycling.
            Perhaps you’d better have a look at Nicole Cooke’s autobiography, to start with, if you wish to make your contribution on this subject more meaningful.

          • Sticking to the financial aspect, you compared the overall quality of the women’s peloton to the men’s of eras past, does it not follow then that the sponsorship around the women’s scene has to grow and develop over the longer term as the men’s has done, with all the growing pains that this entails?
            There should be much less of a problem in getting race prize money on equal terms quickly,
            But a well-funded depth of women’s teams, and their salaries, is going to take a lot longer, no?
            With television coverage and increased quality in the women’s peloton this time span can be cut much shorter than the decades it took the men’s scene to reach where it is now.

  2. The Amstel Gold Race has given equal prize money to male and female race winners for the last couple of years, I think. I agree that more coverage would be good, leading to greater opportunities for female riders to leverage their success.

      • TDU is in the position of being heavily subsidised by the state government which means they can put out there hands for funds if the state govn demands parity.”you want it – you pay for it”.
        They don;t have to worry about moving funds from the race that brings in most of the funds to the one that probably brings in less. Note this is my take on the commercial reality note my opinion on what should be. My personal opinion is that in a race like this the prize money is of little value for the winning mens teams as the winners are likely on a decent salary (or will be next year) but would mean more for the womens teams. So they may as well reduce the mens and increase the womens money.

        • This is an important point, it’s the sponsors who have a big role here. Some corporate sponsors want parity, for government sponsors it can be essential too and these priorities mean budgets which make things happen. It’s pressure from mayors, who spend money with ASO ( that made the podium ceremony change at the Tour. One reason Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are on TV now is because the host broadcaster RTBF realised it was showing the men but not the women and this had to change for the politicians who oversee it ( It’s also a factor behind the upcoming women’s Tour de France too. In short the sport is commercial and it’ll follow the money and given a lot of this comes from politicians, they often set the agenda too.

    • I like it… but maybe needs something to signal more investment, there’s something you buy to keep or end up, Youtube’s almost too convenient… but great all the same as the video is on there if people want to go and watch, there’s 1h40 mins and if you skip the first 20 minutes you’re straight into Landa attacking the bunch, Edet attacking the break and the race is on the boil from them on.

      • Could you actually link your previews, or post-race analysis, to race footage (YouTube or Eurosport or stream sites) and have a combined reading and watching library?
        Your literary library is chronologically documented so, if you’re so minded, it should be possible to create an electronic library?
        It might just be me, but your urge for a physical collection says model train collection or boxes of Lego or Meccano up in the loft? 🤣🤣
        I think there’s a psychological thesis in this somewhere 😂

        • One problem with linking to youtube is what you can find today is taken down tomorrow for copyright reasons, there are lots of people uploading bootleg versions of a race to the site in the hope of getting enough views and ad revenue before it gets taken down. We can watch Laigueglia today but by November it might be difficult.

      • An Italian speciality (although plenty of others do it), as they are particularly obsessed with showing replays – often missing the actual action… which they then show on a replay, missing the actual action…

  3. Regarding prize fund inequality. Of course thebdund itself is relatively negligible…see your comments about Pogacar.

    But, it represents something, at the end of the day it shows a belief in the worth of the race. For sure Canyon will pay MVDP more than any female athlete. But Flanders Classics could sort this for about 20k.

    Symbols are important. Look at how companies protect logo. The time for equal prize funds was yesterday.

      • Surely you just take the overall prize pot (is men’s + women’s) and divide by two. No change to overall budget, women get more , men get less than present ( and it would be a ” brave” male rider that complained!)

        • Sounds convincing and I like the ideaa, but – as you might have read – the UCI governs these prizes so you cannot always reduce the men’s prizes without having trouble with the UCI. IN a race report, these figures are also reported and it is duely noted by the UCI if they ar non-compliant.
          So your suggestion should be to have the UCI demand the equal pay.

          • So, there’s a simple solution, but the UCI gets in the way… how surprising. And why did the UCI not demand equal prize money years ago?
            Still, perhaps not quite as sexist as the UCI’s rules on how long women’s races can be.
            I can’t think of any other sport where women’s races are half (or less) the distances of the men’s (e.g. Paris-Roubaix). Women run marathons, etc. And in other endurance sports like cross-country skiing, the women’s events are usually about 2/3 of the men’s. Why is cycling not aiming at the same kind of level?

            The UCI’s rules dictate that female one-day races and stages of multi-day events are a maximum distance of 160km, while there is also a maximum average daily distance for stage races that is set at 140km.
            The male Milano-Sanremo is about 300km, while we do see grand tour stages of 250km (and some are actually ridden).
            The UCI needs to step out of the dark ages.

        • I like it… but easier said than done. The UCI rules have minimum cash prize levels for each level of race and while they’ve increased the women’s grid this year, it’s still way below the men’s one. So Flanders Classics would have to break the rules. Maybe they could do it and ask for the UCI to dare to sue them? That would be fun for five minutes but I think it would just perpetuate the story of prize money and the sight of a sport with major organisers and the governing body clashing risks sends potential sponsors elsewhere. Surely he bigger thing is the calendar and coverage, ie we need more races and more races on TV.

    • True parity would be that Canyon pays its female and male athletes the same and there aren’t any front page articles calling for this.

    • Symbols are important, and, as it has been pointed out, this isn’t as compicated to sort out as the – fundamental in its own right – question of salaries, which often calls into question the financial sustainability of women teams (forcing WT teams to have a women counterpart might be an option, although not free from side effects).

      If the problem are really UCI norms on the subject (see debate below on David B proposal), well, Flanders Classics might have shown a better image pointing out *that* subject and calling action from the UCI about it, rather than saying “we’re already doing so much, and surely we’ll try to do that… further in the future”.

      Curiously enough, when the Giro Donne reacted to criticism with a similar stance, and probably with better reasons (which *doesn’t* justify them at all, from my personal POV), nobody worried much about their actual motives. It just looked a far-from-acceptable answer.

      They weren’t complying with norms, surely, and on a key subject (essentially, live TV versus as-live delayed broadcast), but no negotiation was put in place to achieve a result which could be satisfactory for everybody, say with financial support from the UCI itself (note the difference between producing TV for a one-day event which runs along with men’s and a whole independent stage race, not to speak of the difference in financial leverage between Flanders Classic and Rivolta).

      How many stage races did the WWT have last year? Two. The Giro and the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta. I guess we are all aware of how absurd was the latter under every POV, be it broadcasting or organisation. Guess what? They’ll still be WWT next year.

      • As a separate subject, I’m thinking about all the great and historical women races which the UCI let sink without blinking, often because of their conflict with bigger organisers of (men) races which decided to put on “something for the women” with more or less conviction (generally less).
        And now we’re all worried for Flanders Classics financial stability.

  4. Regarding prize money, while it’s partly symbolic, I can’t quite understand why some successful races do this easily (Amstel, cyclocross worlds etc) while Flanders Classics apparently can’t. The apparent disregard for prize money for the men (at least World Tour – “only 10% of €500,000 to the winner”, poor things!) possibly contrasts for the women, where tens of thousands of post-tax euros may be valued more (especially those minimum wage domestiques a prize may be shared with). I think I read that at least one of the weekend races had a better tv audience for the women’s race than the men’s. More prize money still means more money going back to the teams and riders.

    • No one is saying that 500k is nothing. Buts that the single race that actually makes much money and can give out real prize money. It does not in anyway reflect on the tight budgets of every other race. The UCI probably sets a min amount for mens races for the world tour. And the smaller amount for female world tour is probably set so that the races can actually proceed. Any women’s race not associated with a mens one at the same time might not operate at all if they have to give out more than they can afford. Note its a min and the UCI does not mandate lower amounts.
      “The prize pot for the men’s Tour of Flanders was €50,000 (£42,700) in 2019, with the”
      So that was the total with first place being 20000. But that is divided between the team and probably the helpers. So considering that the average winner of the tour of Flanders is on a big salary (or will be) once you divide it many ways 1 or 2 k is not that much for him. But that would be why in that circumstance i would say divide the pot in 2 and make it equal.

  5. On the prize-money paragraph, it feels like you’ve missed the point of objection from those in the sport.
    Winning a top tier Mens race guarantees you a high end contract, even being a good domestique can net you not far off a 6-figure salary (if it’s Ineos or UAE these numbers go crazy!) so the 50k prize money, after it’s parcelled out to 5k is a nice bonus but you don’t need it.
    Lets look at Womens, where Annemiek Van Vleuten, who is without question the best female cyclist in the world for the last four or five years and has won everything multiple times, earns a reported 250k. That’s good, but Marc Hirschi’s UAE deal is reported around 1mil.
    Mens WT riders have a UCI mandated minimum salary of 40k. Womens WT riders? 20k. Half! Oh, and there’s only 8 actual Womens WT teams, vs 19 Mens teams.
    Mens PCT minimum wage, around 30k. A male Neo-Pro, their first ever contract at WT level, minimum around 25k. Womens PCT? Well technically this doesn’t exist, so there is no UCI set minimum. Womens neo-pro? No UCI set minimum.

    Prize Money for Elite level Women is a big deal, really big. Being a domestique to the Omloop winner for the women could double their yearly earnings. That is why it matters, because the UCI are old-school, the individual races really matter and make a difference.

    As a follow-up recommendation, Katherine Bertine’s “Stand” was released just this last month and is a must read!

    • All very good points, and I see why sharing out the prize money to team mates (I don’t know if all women’s teams do this, I’ve tried to find out but it’s not as automatic as the men’s) means a lot more… but that’s because of the wage disparity which surely owes a lot to the smaller calendar and much reduced broadcast hours? So to close the gap faster, spend budget to add more races and get them live on TV which is just what Flanders Classics has been doing.

      Worth remembering we didn’t have a minimum wage for the women until 2020, this is new and a good thing and it’s due to rise in the coming years, so things are moving in the right direction too. Before 2020 women’s cycling was run from the same rulebook as the Continental teams in men’s cycling, ie pro-am, and a regulatory wild west. Now there’s the World Tour, the next challenge is to get more teams to buy in to it. But with the promise of guaranteed entry into the big races including the new 8 day Tour de France, hopefully more take up the offer but it’s similar to the men’s scheme where some teams can opt out of the extra costs but bank on invites because they have great riders or even the right nationality sometimes.

      • Very true, also worth noting that aligning the minimum wage in Women’s WT teams to the male standards overnight pretty much means no WWT teams.
        Last year, Boels Dolmans registered as a Conti team because they couldn’t deliver the increase in wages in such short notice. And that’s Boels Dolmans, not exactly a lightweight. If they really couldn’t do that, I don’t see how any team could have complied with *double* that requirement.
        Sadly, the same logic applies to race organizers, who haven’t had it easy over the last year.

        Also, I’d push back on the idea that the UCI has been “old-school” on this topic, in fact I see it as the main source of change in recent years, between wage increases, demanding women’s races for new WT race additions, etc.
        Not saying we can’t keep pushing for more, but they’ve done more than most.

        And the number of WWT teams doesn’t really tell you much about the state of the race. Yes, there are 9 WWT teams today, there were something like 40 until 2019 and I things weren’t better for women’s racing at that time.

        • Boels-Dolmans registered as a Conti team because they only had their sponsors signed for one year, not because they couldn’t afford the first stage of the minimum salary program.

          They applied for a one year WWT licence but the UCI refused it.

    • Very good points, indeed. Prizes played indeed an important part in male cycling when its situation was more akin to female cycling today, some decades ago (and not as many as some might believe).

  6. Last year in February Flanders Classics presented a three-year plan to work with KPMG on closing the gap between men and women races. Which is very fine.
    It shows that they were thinking about the question and (sort of) taking action.
    A good point for them (no irony intended).

    That said, I wonder if Flanders Classics had to pay anything to KPMG, and how much. Was it so, I hope much less than any prize pot, given the slides they made available to start with are quite poor (that was just a presentation, of course, yet it didn’t shine for expecially brilliant ideas, besides the general very good intention which motivated it).

    The detail which drew my attention was that they say they’re *aiming* for equal prize money, which to me implies that they don’t think they’ll get there. The plan covers all the way from here to 2023. That is, despite their efforts on other subjects, Flanders Classic didn’t actually plan to include equal prizes in the next three seasons at least. Which might explain their “best defence is attacking” sort of infuriated reaction.

  7. If women race less stages, less miles with less watts and get paid the same, aren’t they then making more money?

    By extension, if women race less stages, with less miles and put out less watts, why should they make the same pay?

    What am I missing? The Amstel Gold Race, pays the same for women and men??? Do the women ride the same distance?

    • The pay isn’t the same though is it? All the men’s World Tour and Pro Conti riders get a minimum wage and most are comfortably above it; for the women the minimum is much lower and only applies to seven teams, all the other squads don’t have the same provisions and protections. One reason women can’t earn as much is there are much fewer opportunities, yes there’s a women’s Omloop and Strade Bianche for people to compare the prize lists now but there’s no Milan-Sanremo or Tour de France, they don’t have as many events and these don’t get as much TV coverage. Besides on your logic shouldn’t ultra distance riders should be the wealthiest in the world, with Paris-Brest-Paris paying out more than Paris-Roubaix?

    • Brilliant. Maybe Filippo Ganna should get paid less than others during time trials? He’s on the road for a much shorter time than any other competitor.
      I mean, if we’re going for troll logic…

      • He does get paid less than others! Being world TT champion will give him much smaller sallary boost than if he was world road champion.

    • The race distance regulations need an update:

      “An event holding races at the same classification level for both women and men may elect to hold both races on an identical course that complies with the normal race distance restrictions for either a men’s race at that classification level or a women’s race at that classification level.”

      Regulation can be in place by close of business Monday, and courses could start to be updated immediately.

      • There are many ideas in this thread for how to make it better for women’s racing. Transforming exciting classics into 8-hour races of attrition, inevitably won by Annemiek van Vleuten with a 5-min gap on the second rider, is not one that I would suggest.

        Equal *distance* between men’s and women’s races bring nothing to the field IMHO.

  8. About the Giro stage featuring the Spluga Pass. I rode up it once in the opposite direction from Chiavenna. The tunnels were frightening – with traffic, the noise was overwhelming! There are bits of the road that basically sit on top of itself, with very tight hairpins. Going down that way is going to be very very interesting. First goal for riders will be to stay upright. Second will be to not lose huge amounts of time to really good descenders.

    • I think they’ll climb *up* the part you’re thinking about (“bits of the road that basically sit on top of itself, with very tight hairpins”) after turning right and down towards Isola before Pianazzo, which they’ll reach going uphill from Campodolcino.
      They’ll face tunnels (better said “paravalanghe”, most of them) both descending and climbing, but the former will be longer and pretty much straight, while the latter will be shorter but way more peculiar, narrow and twisting. If I got the course right.

  9. For the disparity between men & women prize money.
    I’d say lower the men’s prize and give the same to the women to stop the moaning.
    Men won’t care about it that much, I’d think.

    I have another idea too! If the top women stars think it’s not enough, then don’t start, go on a strike! Somehow I think somebody else will still win the race.

    By the way I’m not sexist at all, the same goes for men too! A race pays too low? Don’t start, let somebody else win!

  10. It’s funny. I would more interested to read about the Vuelta course and Spanish cycling geography than about stage races in the French southwest.

  11. Re: Ecky

    It’s not a linear progression nor a direct correlation. It hasn’t been among men, it won’t be among women, either, I’m afraid. Which means each leap towards better condition must be sought and fought for, whenever the occasion shows up.

    For example, male cycling is moving more money now, but with lesser TV figures than in the 90s. And popularity was probably on top from 40s to 80s. At the same time, it’s only in very recent years when we saw the sport becoming more global and (slightly, very slightly) more inclusive. And it looks like that little by little it’s also been recovering from several “collateral damages” produced by the Armstrong era (excessive focus on very few races, decline in importance of the Classics, excessive specialisation on stage races *or* one-day ones and so on).

    Women cycling also went through better moments between the 90s and the second half of the 2000s, under several POVs at least.

    So, “progress” won’t just come by as a force of nature, given that most social forces actually push in different directions.

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