You may have heard rumors about a Tour of California idea to putting a women’s time trial next to the men’s event, and making the prize purse dependent on how many men the women beat. You can read the gist of it in autofact’s blog.
I agree with the blog that if these rumors were true, they would – in my eyes – be a monumental miscalculation. I say in my eyes because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what I think. Any rider should decide for herself if she believes such an event is positive or negative for her and her sport. But to me the funny thing is that it would not only be a miscalculation of what women’s sport deserves, but also of the level that women’s cycling is at.
In the alleged proposal the bar is put so low (i.e. their expectation of the women’s performances are so low) that if for example Emma Pooley were to show up at this event, she alone would blow most of that prize purse out of the water. Two, three women would be enough to reach the maximum prize purse that they think may not even be reached with 10 riders!
It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad. That said, I am fairly sure this is actually not a serious proposal within the organization. Instead either this year or next, there will be a full-fledged women’s race – maybe not the same format as the men’s race, but of the same level of excellence.