2012 Giro Donne Jerseys - Giro Donne, used with permission
Equal prize payouts at World Championships and saving the Giro Donne bring good news to the sport.
It seems these days that women's cycling follows the adage "no news is good news" for every press release seems to be about a team folding or a race that will not be on the next year's calendar. But on this last of Fridays, we have two sizable pieces of good news.
Equal Prize Money At World Championships
First, the UCI declared it would, for the first time, institute equal prize money for both men and women at all World Championships. The decision takes effect in January, 2013, just in time for the Cyclocross World Championships. According to UCI President Pat McQuaid, "The Management Committee's approval is a simple but very important step forward in our effort to guarantee a healthy and fair future for our sport."
Unfortunately, the decision does not cover the Team Time Trial just added to the road world championships schedule this past year. That race is funded from the UCI World Tour's reserve and solidarity fund. What this means is a little vague, but it seems that the TTT prize purse will be funded from trade team organizations rather than the UCI's larger coffers. This is an interesting distinction because the Team Time Trial allows more teams than merely World Tour level ones to compete. Who knows what is really going on here - the UCI is an odd, odd place.
Giro Donne Lives!
The cycling world was shaken earlier this fall when the organizer of the Giro Donne - Epinike - said that it was dropping the race from its schedule of events in 2013. The loss of the only remaining race able to lay claim to being a grand tour for women was a harsh blow for a sport already reeling. Fortunately, it now appears the race will continue to live on outside the management of Epinike.
The Italian Cycling Federation has promised that the race will go on, stating "We have other organizers able to make it happen." The Federation must wait until after its elections on January 12 to find a new organizer, but even if the Federation head is not re-elected other members say the race is too vital to be let go.