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I bet heaps of people would watch womens cycling if it was accessable, I for one. It could work out to be a smart investment for companies who were prepared to back it. It would draw more young women to cycling and that would mean even more dollars for sponsors.
Hehe, you'd be a voyeur captn, looking at young women running around in tight fitting lycra...
But seriously I think women's cycling needs to attract a broader audience of female spectators if it is to attract big sponsorship money.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Guilty as charged
Yes, it's the same rule that means men can't race in the women's races. All riders in races must fall into the categories defined by the race category regulations as set out in UCI rule 2.1.005.
World Tour races are confined to the specific category of Men Elite and there is provision for Men U23 riders to also race in those events.
The Women Elite categories covers races confined to women.
There is nothing to prevent an organiser putting forward a proposal for a specific Women Elite category race.
For a virtually invisible competition as far as media goes (because let's face it, outside of the Olympics women's cycling doesn't exist in media), it seems like a pretty stupid time to run a major event, just when then most focus for the year is turned to a men's event. Surely they'd be better served running it a week or so after the Tour finishes to piggyback off the coverage and increase the profile of women's cycling? Or, if they're worried that the standard will look poor compared to what the blokes have just done, run it as a lead-in event to the Tour. They'd still be able to take advantage of the hype.
But running it at the same time is dumb IMO.
I understand the desire to have the big races mirrored by similar events in a womens comp but I fear that would cause folk to forever compare the women's to the men's competitions and form an erroneous view that the womens comp is somehow second rate. I personally would prefer to see the womens pro competition stay completely separate from the mens and stand alone as its own sport with its own customs and style. Sure a womens tour of france would be awesome but they could do it differently, at a different time and with a different name.
The women's XCO World Cup events are just as entertaining as the mens. Emily Batty in particular seems to make habit of a late rampage through the field and it's edge-of-seat stuff whether she and a couple of the others will catch the early leaders or they'll hang on for the win.
Part of the reason for running the race at the same time, or in very close proximity, is to piggy-back off the huge cost of staging the event. Road closures, traffic control etc don't come cheap.
Unless there are suddnenly considerably more funds for women's racing, in the short term it will be more efficient to share the limelight.
I think those things do come relatively cheap for ASO ... it is a big thing for the TDF to come through town. Roads get resealed etc just for the opportunity. Starts and finishes aren't cheap ... if I remember correctly my local tourist attraction is in line for a TDF start or finish next year ( we are a pretty small village )... or possibly a TT as the Dauphiné TT was run here this year. Cost's around 50-100k € for the chance of a midweek stage.
ASO is a money making business, if women's cycling could make them money then they would be running many more events. Basically it will probably come down to pressuring from the UCI ( and funding ) to get something going, maybe a 10 day event totally separate from the TDF.
Good point about the TdF. It definitely isn't true of the majority of racing though. The cost of running a road race in Australia is huge, especially if there is a road closure. There are many fees to local government, police and others. Not to mention everything else needed to stage an event.
Brian Cookson, candidate for UCI Presidency, put out a media release today about support for women's cycling and announce a 5 day stage race in Britain in 2014, separate from the Tour of Britain. He portrays this as a step towards a women's Tour of Britain and as an exemplar for a women's TdF ... one day.
It's clearly part of his pitch for the presidency. But he acknowledges the petition.
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