Organizing a race is expensive, which is why we’ve lost beautiful independent races like the Tour de l’Aude. Road closures, safety measures, broadcast facilities, it all adds up. The solution is still as simple as it is obvious, and I have advocated it before: Make it mandatory for every WorldTour race to also organize a women’s race.
The costs would negligible as everything is already organized for the men’s race. Fleche Wallone and the Tour of Flanders shows how to do it, with the women’s race is an hour or so ahead of the men’s race.
Not only is organizing a women’s race just before the men’s cheap, it’s also smart marketing. Remember how the UCI’s job is to promote the sport? What better way to do that than to expose the fans waiting for the men’s race to the women’s race first? Think of it as an opening act at a concert, most successful bands have started out as an opening act for somebody bigger before they flourished on their own.
Since there are plenty of boring moments during a bike race, the men’s race broadcast can also be combined with the women’s race without much effort or cost.
Most of you will know that I am also an advocate of making a women’s team mandatory for any organization fielding a WorldCup team. This too can be done at no cost, while at the same time making men’s racing more exciting (huh, what? yes!) That however is a longer story, so I’ll need to find some time to write all that up.
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