Making a mark in history requires a catalyst. It requires a pivotal moment where there is an interruption of the norm. I think of it as a”shuffling of the feathers.” You could feel the changes in women’s cycling this year at the Olympics. The perception of women’s professional cycling shifted from being seen as a “boring” small field affair to an exciting race on equal ground with the mens race. Women professional cycling is in a catalystic stage in it’s development.
It’s just a matter of time before promoters, sponsors , fans and the UCI will full understand what is at stake. That time where women’s sports takes the main stage is on it’s way, just like any historical event of significance.
There is no arguing that mens cycling is in turmoil. Doping confessions revealed the truth behind many successes in the peloton. Books were written, testimonials were given, public confessions are being heard, and letters from organizing bodies are flying in every direction. It’s not that that doping doesn’t occur in the women’s peloton but the prevalence is currently less. The women peloton is a disadvantaged minority in a male dominated sport.
Even the big guns are getting vocal, as in this interesting article from this week, “Lizzie Armitstead and Marianne Vos united in fighting prejudice.” It is a great summary of two great cyclists experiencing change in their cycling career.
We must change this, starting here in California.
There is a small campaign on facebook to include a women’s stage race in the upcoming Tour of California. Tour of California race director and Senior Vice President of AEG Sports, Kristin Bachochin announced that AEG will once again run a women’s time trial before one of the stage, but even that race seems flux. It’s unfortunate that a woman race director cannot put on a commensurate women’s stage race during the largest cycling event in the US.
Kristin Bachochin stated,
“It’s something I have looked at, but it really depends on how the stages play out. We do know it’s do-able to focus on that one day with the time trial, and it’s really successful for the teams and the riders. We’re definitely moving forward with that for 2013.”
In the midst of the doping scandals and sponsor exits, it is likely that Tour of California is in jeopardy and will not survive too far into the future Although a recent headline in CyclingNews.com states that TOC is “stronger than ever,” it is doubtful that the race will continue to get enough sponsor support next year after several previous winners confessed to doping. Fans are disappointed and this further jeopardizes a womens TOC stage race next year.
But yet there’s something brewing in the air…
A women stage race in the Tour of California is overdue. It is something TOC will have to think about, especially if we clamor for it.
Support the campaign, “Like” us on Ladies Tour of California fan page.
The social media’s campaign is to voice out and make everyone aware that a women stage race in the Tour of California is past due. The fans would like to see action and effort into making it happen in California.
What do we want to see if there is a Ladies Tour of California?
Here are our demands for “America’s Greatest Race,” Tour of California:
1. A commensurate women’s stage race of at least 3 days of racing preferrably the last three stages in NorCal as announced.
- Stage 6: Friday, May 17 – San Jose (Ladies Team Time Trial)
- Stage 7: Saturday, May 18 – Livermore to Mt. Diablo, Queen of the Mountain
- Stage 8: Sunday, May 19 – San Francisco to Santa Rosa, Sprinters
2. Commensurate prize money for women participants
Ladies will received the same prize money for each stage as well as same prize money as the men for overall winner of each category i.e. Sprinters, QOM, Young Rider, Aggressive etc. Ladies Team Trial will received special team prize money. Starting out with a team time trial will inject an interesting strategy play into the race for all teams.
3. Online or broadcast coverage of the entire event in line with coverage of the mens race
4. Commensurate hotel arrangements, accommodations and race information for the Ladies of Tour of California.
5. Media coverage such as daily interviews from Stage 1 will help introduce the Ladies TOC teams as well as individual stories. This will provide inspriration to other younger fans and additonal information about life as a professional cyclist.
6. Special Ladies TOC VIP parking spots for each stage at the start and at the finish to allow fans to get autographs and meet the teams. This will help teams showcase sponsor products and promote their team. Include these VIP parking area in the overall race maps for fans.
7. Ladies TOC teams will have special team presentations the day before the Ladies Team Time Trial for an opportunity to showcase the teams for the fans. This can be arranged right after the men start Stage 5. Team presentations will be covered online by media in San Jose.
It is time for a change.
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