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Women’s prize money trebled to match men at Belgian one-day race Nokere Koerse

Prize fund for women at semi-classic will total €18,800 next year, leading to calls for other events on the UCI calendar to follow suit

Nokere ​Koerse, the Belgian one-day semi-classic, has trebled the prize fund for next year’s women’s edition of the race to match that available to male riders.

The news was confirmed in a tweet this morning from the race organisers.

There have long been calls for women’s prize money at elite level to match that on offer to men – a recent example being Paris-Roubaix, where men’s winner Sonny Colbrelli took home €30,000, while Lizzie Deignan, winner of the inaugural women’s edition, won just €1,535 – although her Trek-Segafredo team made up the difference to match the Italian’s purse.

There have been one-day women’s races with more prize money in the past – with the RideLondon Classique, which next year will take place over three days instead of one, maintaining its existing €100,000 prize fund.

Meanwhile, there will be a total of €250,000 available at the debut edition of the Tour des France Feminins next year, which will make it the richest race in women’s cycling.

President of Nokere Koerse, Robrecht Bothuyne said: “For our men's race the UCI has set a prize money of €18,800. That’s 3.5 times more than for the women’s race (€5,130).

“However, women’s cycling is becoming more and more important. The gap with the men when it comes to prize money must therefore be closed.

“Together with the municipality of Kruisem, the arrival point Nokere is a sub-municipality of Kruisem, we are now increasing the prize money for the women’s race to the level of the men. On top of that we also have our ‘Pur Natur mountain prize’ of €1,500, which has been the same for men and women for several years.

“This brings us to a total amount of €20,300 per race. Danilith Nokere Koerse is the one-day race with the highest prize money in women's cycling. We also link this to our candidacy for the Women’s World Tour.”

Race director of the women’s race Gil Steyvers. said: “As a Women's ProSeries race we already pay a decent starting fee to the participating teams. It is a multiple of what teams get in lower categorised races and is also close to the starting fee for the men’s teams.

“Now we are stepping up our efforts to close the financial gap by rewarding the women equally for their performance.

“We hope the top teams and top cyclists appreciate our efforts and will also be at the start in Deinze on March 16th.

“Thus we want to strengthen our candidacy for the UCI Women's World Tour. We are convinced that our race can be an added value in terms of sport, appearance and therefore financially.

“We therefore hope that the UCI will approve our candidacy for 2023.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Ride On | 2 years ago

Compared to other sports, tennis for example, that's peanuts! I love cycling it's current long form format but a bit more excitement will attract the viewers and sponsors.

Maybe a weekly tour where teams compete on routes around Europe?

Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

Maybe the UCI should be considering demoting any womens race who doesn't offer equal prize money?  But that would involve positive action from them.

 The Paris-Roubaix is particularly shocking.  Why not just halve the mens pot? 

Rendel Harris replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
Secret_squirrel wrote:

 The Paris-Roubaix is particularly shocking.  Why not just halve the mens pot? 

I was a bit shocked to see it was just 30,000 Euros for the men to be honest, seems a pretty paltry amount for such a prestigious race. Rather than cut the men's prize it surely must be possible to find a sponsor to cough up matched funding? The goodwill that would create for any company aiming at a female market in northern France, Belgium and Holland, or the female cycling market worldwide, would surely repay the investment a hundredfold?

Rich_cb replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

Then nobody would start a Women's race.

Outside of the top few most Men's races are in a constant struggle to survive as it is.

Until Women's racing attracts the same media attention as Men's racing the prize pots are going to be lower.

If we want to see parity in prize pots we need the cycling media to step up and start giving Women's racing the coverage it deserves and needs. give virtually no coverage to women's racing but will happily publish endless stories about the the pay discrepancies that such lack of coverage directly leads to.

Cynically profiting from a problem that they help cause.

Secret_squirrel replied to Rich_cb | 2 years ago

Sorry I don't entirely buy that part of the problem is where the races are joint they are still billed as separate things which is wrong.   It should be the Paris Roubaix full stop.  You either sponsor all the races or none at all.  Your point about media is well made but there's still a lot of begrudgery from the organisers who can't be arsed to try to make a difference.   Put the ladies on a similar route on the same day to minimise additional TV set up for a start. 

Rich_cb replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

You can call it whatever you want it doesn't change the basic economics.

Maybe forcing the sponsors and media rights holders to take both or none will lead to a slightly higher pot than separate sales but it still won't produce parity.

If you force Men's racing to subsidise Women's racing then a huge number of already precarious Men's races will either drop their Women's event or never consider having one.

The only thing that will lead to sustainable parity is increased media interest.

Velophaart_95 replied to Rich_cb | 2 years ago

This is were road racing is miles behind MTB, CX, etc

They all get the same TV/ streaming coverage, the women's racing followed by the men's. Road racing is really conservative, and hasn't managed to do this; either it won't, or can't.

Rich_cb replied to Velophaart_95 | 2 years ago

It's probably can't.

For CX and MTB you have a lot of fixed TV camera points. Once set up the cost of keeping it in place for another race is relatively low.

For Road the cost of helicopter and motorbike cameras is directly related to the duration of filming.

If the footage doesn't sell for enough to cover those costs it's not viable to film it.

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