Female rider minimum wage: UCI actions

October 11, 2011

Pat MacQuaid stated at the World Championships that  women’s cycling was “not developed enough” for a guaranteed minimum wage. Some riders (Vos, Teutenberg, Bronzini et al) saw that as a disqualification of their performance but it wasn’t. It was a disqualification of the federation’s performance.

After all, international federations have been given a mandate by the IOC to govern and promote their sport worldwide – for men and women. So if the women’s side fails to develop properly, who’s to blame? In 2006, Pat McQuaid gave an interview with womenscycling.net where he stated:

[...] since I have been involved and responsible for women, it was important to ensure that we had the development of the World Cup. This was very much the major item on the agenda a few years ago. I also wanted to make sure that it was truly a World Cup and not a European one like the men’s competition. I have always worked hard within the UCI to ensure and maintain an Australian and New Zealand connection.

Today, the World Cup has no race in New Zealand or Australia, in fact 8 of the 9 races are in Europe. Even more worrisome is the situation with stage races, where the biggest and best races are struggling or have already disappeared. The bottom line; races are really struggling to survive.

Ironically, the developments on the team side are actually quite positive. Every year sees a few new teams popping up, for 2012 GreenEdge and Rabobank mark the newest WorldTour organizations to feature a women’s team too. The biggest problem right now are the races and the exposure. Both could be solved easily with a little bit of help from the UCI, more about that tomorrow.

However, this does not absolve the riders of their personal responsibility. As I have stated before, you can’t complain about a lack of exposure if you’re not blogging and twittering yourself to promote your sport. If every rider did their bit, it would add up. I’d like to point out Carla Ryan as a good example. When I made the comment about riders not being on twitter back in March, she sent me an email saying “Saw your comment, signed up for Twitter”. Today she has more than 500 followers.

As usual, more coming soon.

6 Responses to “Female rider minimum wage: UCI actions”


  1. There needs to be a top-to-bottom change in how womens cycling is presented and promoted. It’s the little sister of mens cycling at the moment, an after-thought at every event. Everyone is to blame, from the women who don’t race themselves because they’re working to put on the mens event to announcers who don’t bother to find out who the women are to the spectators who make a run to the grocery store during the womens race to the organizers who hold the womens event at 8 am while the mens event isn’t until 2 pm … you get the idea. I will say that the organizers in Glencoe and Elk Grove Village did a wonderful job, and I had a great time at the event in Aspen held in conjunction with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

    There needs to be a minimum wage once we get to the top level, but the first step probably needs to be a per-event-ridden part-time wage sort of wage, easing into the concept, which would also be applied over at the Continental level on the mens side.

  2. Ebony Princess Says:

    You bring up an interesting issue about the women contributing to their own future of sorts. Currently, they are women racers who think that Tweeting and talking (Facebook, blogs, etc) about their sponsors is marketing women sports. So you see the women themselves are confused as to what Brand Ambassadorship means. Perhaps a little training in this area in warranted for all involved. While the majority are highly educated and hold advanced degrees they lack media and technology training.
    Perhaps we reverse the car a little and begin training women racers at all levels as about the activities they could be participating in to further expose women bicycle racing in their area and around the world.

    “McQuaid says UCI organising new races to make money” that already tells you that women are not part of the equation. This is clearly a conflict of interest. If the UCI want to be a business I suggest it change its status to a “for profit organization.” http://inrng.com/2011/10/globalisation-versus-money/

    We could also add to the list that women bicycle racers should allocate time to be interviewed and/or profiled through multiple media outlets. This is another outreach channel that some ignore because they may have “bigger fish to fry.” Every opportunity provides a forum to discuss successes, issues and pitfalls.

    On another note, in the U.S. we seem to be leaving USA Cycling off the hook on the issue of an equal pay scale in prizing. At this point, the scales should be almost balanced by now but they are not. The current National Racing Calendar (NRC) and the new National Criterium Calendar (NCC) does not have any provisions for this either. There needs to be inroads somewhere if a minimum wage is not available. At the very least a better prize list should become available.

    The women really need at least one of the men’s fully funded organizations to be an advocate to see any changes

  3. SvelteSoutherner Says:

    The first stage race promoter to hold a women’s race in conjunction with the men’s race will gain an enormous amount of publicity. The Vuelta Espana needs that kind of marketing after a couple of lackluster races. End the women’s race right before the second rest day. Instant exposure.

    • Neil Says:

      The Tour of Flanders is already run as a combined event – the Women ride on a saturday and the men on the sunday. Since the cameras are in place you usually also get to see it in the UK on Eurosport.
      You are right though, the race organisers, especially of the mens world tour events, should be doing more to support the raising the profile of womens racing. All the big events have road closures – why not have the women race through an hour before the men? All the infrastructure for media etc is in place. Physical capability and relative speeds might need a shorter version for the women but it works for tennis why not cycling?

  4. Cycling pro Says:

    I do not understand Pat McQuaid and the UCI. Their prime target in the last years has been the “globalisation” of cycling. By omitting womens racing, they forget about half of the human population! Not really globalisation..


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