What do we want? Racing! When do we want it? Now!
This year the women’s (underpaid/semi-) pro peloton was treated to two new additions to a racing calendar that is set to grow again for 2015.
In 2014, elite female cyclists enjoyed the five day Tour of Britain, ‘The Women’s Tour’, and a one stage event ‘La Course’ to finish the Tour de France.
Both events were successful and aired on National TV, and both will be repeated again this year.
La Course was the result of efforts made by Emma Pooley, Kathryn Bertine, Marianne Vos and Chrissie Wellington, and together they called it a “huge step forward.”
That step has led to more – and 2015 will see the Vuelta a Espania host a one day women’s race on the grand tour’s final day, and the Amgen Tour of California has expanded it’s women’s race to a 4 day event.
The Vuelta will reach its conclusion in Madrid, and organisers plan to use a similar circuit format to that of La Course.
Tour de France director, Christian Prudhomme, told Cycling News that at present it was not possible to organise a women’s Tour de France alongside the men’s, but added: “Why not replicate events like La Course at other races?” – suggesting the format had worked for crowds and organisers and could be rolled out at more events.
Though comparable stages races would of course be desirable, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be a fully professional race schedule.
With no minimum wage for the stars of the show, and many riders working alongside training, a sudden influx of Grand Tours might not be appropriate anyway – wages, races and support need to grow alongside each other at a similar rate for sustainable development (said Expert Michelle Arthurs Brennan).
Amgen Tour of California
In addition to the one day Vuleta event, the Amgen Tour of California have expanded their women’s race to comprise of 4 days of racing – 3 days of stage racing from May 8th -10th, and an individual time trial on May 15th 2015.
The race will take riders through South Lake Tahoe, concluding in Sacramento, finishing as then men’s race starts. The individual time trial will also precede the men’s event in Big Bear Lake.
Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California, said: “Hosting four days of women’s cycling, fans will have the opportunity to watch the immense talents and achievements of the best women cyclists from around the world.”