The UCI, cycling's governing body, has committed to reinforcement of the professionalisation of women’s road cycling and the position of women in the sport’s governance.
Equal access, parity and minimum salaries touted as steps in the right direction as the UCI met during the World Championships, September 25-27.
The UCI has decided to create a new division, UCI Women’s WorldTeams, comparable to the men’s UCI WorldTeams. These new first-division teams will appear from 2020. The second division will be made up of UCI Women’s Continental Teams (formerly UCI Women’s Teams). Teams with UCI Women’s WorldTeam status will have the right to participate in all UCI Women’s WorldTour events.
In addition, the UCI will introduce a minimum salary for these cyclists, as well as a thorough examination of all the athletes’ contracts via the registration of these contracts by a financial audit and consultancy firm, in line with the model that already exists for the men’s professional peloton.
The UCI Women’s Road International Calendar is to be restructured, notably with the new UCI ProSeries class, which will also be introduced in 2020.
From that year, the new calendar will be made up of events from the following four classes: UCI Women’s WorldTour, UCI ProSeries, Class 1 and Class 2. Closer to the model that exists for men, this structure is consistent with the development of women’s cycling while offering a structure adapted to its future growth.
These measures, which follow yesterday’s announcement of the new organisation of men’s professional road cycling, fall within the context of the UCI’s Agenda 2022, which includes a significant section dedicated to women’s cycling and the position of women in cycling (on a sporting level and in governance).
Among the objectives contained in this document, are, on a sporting level, the increased attractiveness of the UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI women’s teams, as well as the implementation of equal access for women and men to competitions organised by the UCI and to the Olympic Games, notably via the homogenisation of the format of different specialities.
The equalisation of prize money is another aspect of this policy, in line with the recommendations from the International Olympic Committee IOC) concerning men-women equality. In the domain of governance, the UCI desires to strengthen the implication of women at all levels, in particular in positions of responsibility.
The UCI also wishes to reach total parity when it comes to the number of athletes per discipline at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Parity of the number of medals has already been achieved.
The UCI President David Lappartient declared: “I welcome this fundamental development for women’s cycling and the strengthening of the position of women in our sport’s governance, two subjects which are among the central points of the UCI’s Agenda 2022. The decisions taken today increase the professionalisation of this sector by drawing inspiration from, but adapting appropriately, from the model that led men’s professional road cycling to become one of the most popular sports in the world."