Well despite some negative press recently regarding accusations of sexism within the British Cycling camp, women’s cycling generally is gaining momentum. Women are the biggest growth market in the cycling industry, and on the professional circuit female cyclists are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
At the end of March RideLondon announced that the pro women’s race would have the same prize fund as the men’s. And just a few weeks ago came the news that all UCI World Championship Road events will offer equal prize money for both male and female events. Which leads nicely to the excitement of the Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain, which runs 15-19 June!
Since the inaugural event in 2014, interest in this five-stage race has really grown and there will doubtless be massive crowds out to support the peloton, regardless of what the weather is doing. The distance and total ascent is growing year on year and the 2016 event looks to be the best yet, with some really challenging climbs as the race enters the Peak District.
Watch out for some the very best women in the sport today. World champion Lizzie Armitstead is on good form and working towards the Rio Olympic Games. Emma Pooley, who retired two years ago, is back on the road and reigning Olympic road race champ Marianne Vos will be looking to make her mark on this race – and will probably be sending a few messages to Armitstead ahead of their August meeting in warmer climes! Meanwhile, there is a clutch of younger British riders to follow, including Hannah Barnes who has started to make a strong impression. The race covers parts of Suffolk, Norfolk, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Northamptonshire – full details of the race stages are available from British Cycling Want to keep in touch with the day’s events? ITV 4 is showing highlights every evening.
Greater equality with the pro men and the sheer quality of these female riders is a great example of girl power – and the Women’s Tour will hopefully inspire even more women to start cycling more. And what better jersey to wear than our very own Rosie the Riveter!
Long before The Spice Girls set out to own girl power, Rosie the Riveter was an icon of female strength. Dating back to 1943, Rosie was designed to inspire and boost the morale of workers in America during the war – and even today, Rosie continues to inspire. Just as the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign is inspiring women to take up all forms of exercise, no matter what age, shape or size they may be, so Rosie is doing her bit for women cyclists (in our humble opinion!). Wear Rosie the Riveter and how can you fail to not give every ride your best effort, to keep spinning the legs when they’re burning on a climb or to get a personal best on a Strava segment or, sometimes, just haul yourself out of bed and get out on the bike – with ‘we can do it’ proudly emblazoned across your chest and back, you have to just believe it and go for it!