Even in our modern world, the sporting community often treats women with less respect and reward. In a move that Trek hopes other races, venues, and organizers will follow, it has officially stated that the 2017 Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Waterloo will be the first World Cup event to deliver equal prize money to the men's and women's fields.
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Trek Bikes released the following statement:
"Athletes are athletes. Gender, race, size, shape, and ability do not determine a person’s value. Desire, ambition, goals, dreams, and heart are not defined by looks. Every person should have equal opportunity to fulfill their potential, and should be equally rewarded for doing so. Trek is proud to host the first World Cup in cycling’s history to offer equal payouts to the men’s and women’s fields."
Pro riders weigh in
9x British National Champion Helen Wyman said: "It is amazing that the Waterloo World Cup has gone above and beyond to provide the first-ever equal prize money for a World Cup at their event in Wisconsin this September. I have huge respect for the American racing scene and this shows me once more how the USA are leading our sport in equality. Week after week, we get to see our sport on national television in Belgium with hugely significant viewing figures, and equal prize money for this World Cup reflects exactly how valued women's racing is and should be. I truly hope others follow."
Trek-sponsored pro and 23x World Cup winner, Katie Compton, added: "I’m happy and excited that Trek has stepped up and committed to being the first World Cup to pay equal prize money to the women. I don’t think people realize the large discrepancy between what the men earn for prize money compared to what the women typically earn. Trek is leading the way in valuing the women’s race as much as the men’s, and hopefully the European-based World Cups will see this and begin to follow Trek’s lead.
Marianne Vos, 7x World Champion, noted: "As the first UCI World Cup cyclocross that will offer parity in prize money, Waterloo will set a benchmark for other world class events. This is a valuable step following increased fan and media interest in women's cyclocross over the last years. I'm sure the women will race with the same motivation as ever, but this recognition will give an extra boost to the sport."
It's about time
While still not commonplace, equal payouts for both men's and women's events have been gaining momentum. The X-Games has had equal payouts since 2008, and since 1986, Ironman has awarded equal prize money to both men and women.
Smaller continental races, such as the Koppenbergcross in Belgium and the US Pro Challenge in Colorado, USA, have divided up the winnings equally as well.
Date and location
The 2017 Trek CX Cup will take place in Waterloo, WI, USA on September 22–24,2017 with the inaugural Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Waterloo set for Sunday 24 September.