Female cyclists will stand to win more than six times the amount male riders will collect for winning a race on the same 135km Tour de Yorkshire stage next month.
Welcome to Yorkshire has announced that the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday April 30 will be the most lucrative women’s bike race on the planet, with riders competing for a share of a £50,000 prize fund.
World Champion cyclist Lizzie Armitstead has been confirmed as one of the competitors already signed up to take on the route from her hometown of Otley to Doncaster.
The £15,000 top prize – three times the sum she collected when she won the world championships in Richmond, Virginia, last year – is higher than that of three men’s stage wins plus the overall general classification win combined.
Stating that cycling from Otley would be “an absolute dream”, Armitstead welcomed the increase in prize money but feels there is still much more to do to tackle inequality in the sport.
“There are so many things we need before we have equal prize money,” she said. “I don’t want races to be put off inviting me to race because they don’t have £15,000 if I win it.
“I’d rather have the opportunity to race up the Cauberg (finish of the Amstel Gold Race in Holland, which has not had a women’s edition since 2003).
“That’s what I would like and I think those steps should be first in women’s cycling.”
The prize fund announcement was made at Welcome to Yorkshire’s flagship Y16 conference at York Barbican today alongside news that the women’s race will also be broadcast live on ITV4 and Eurosport.
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Today is a hugely significant milestone for women’s racing.
“We’ve come good on our promise to expand the women’s race and rather than rest at bringing parity in terms of the men’s route and broadcast coverage, we’ve gone further.”
Armitstead skipped last year’s inaugural Tour de Yorkshire women’s race, complaining that the flat, 60km circuit stage for the women’s event was not worth disrupting her European season for.
The men’s race at this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, which includes stages from Beverley to Settle, Otley to Doncaster and Middlesbrough to Scarborough, will take place from Friday April 29 to Sunday May 1.
Male riders stand to win around £2,400 per stage and around £4,000 for the overall general classification although the men are said to earn far more in sponsorships and team salaries.
The 18 men’s teams and 14 women’s teams were also unveiled at Y16. Visit letouryorkshire.com for further information.