The establishment of equal prize money for men and women in the mountain bike discipline has received a boost from South Africa.
The organisers of the famous Absa Cape Epic (23-30 March) and the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek (12-18 October) have taken another step in the promotion of women’s cycling: they will offer equal prize money for the 2013-2014 season. These two events, raced in pairs, are the only two South African races to have the UCI label.
Andrea Marcellini, Project Coordinator at the International Cycling Union, has competed in the mythical 800km Cape Epic. She welcomed the decision: “South Africa is doing a lot for mountain bike but also for cycling in general. I am delighted by the country’s initiative. It is a demonstration of the organisers’ respect for the athletes and their desire to increase female participation at their events.”
The UCI had already led the way by offering equal prize money at the World Championships and World Cup. The initiative that has followed from the Cape Epic and the Bridge Cape shows that private organisers are also capable of following suit and contributing to the promotion of women’s cycling.
Andrea Marcellini adds: “Equal prize money will help professional women cyclists take on their careers with more serenity. This sort of initiative can only encourage more women to enter the sport. It is excellent news but it is only one step in the recognition of women’s cycling.”
A sunny autumn day provided great racing in the third round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in . All the day’s winners took solo victories on the demanding course.
Impressive win for Albert
During the fourth of nine laps he left his last rivals behind, clocking the only sub-seven minutes lap time of the day on the tough sandy course. The next four laps Albert kept going flat out and he led his first rivals by a minute, taking away any winning hopes they may have harboured. At the finish line Albert had time to copy the memorable finish from his compatriot Paul Herijgers, when the latter won the World Championships on the same location in 1994. A smiling Albert waved to the crowd, hopped off his bike and back on it before crossing the line and taking his first World Cup win of the season.
In the battle for second place German champion Philipp Walsleben (BCKP-Powerplus) and French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ.fr) had the upper hand in the final laps. The duo was joined by World Champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) during the penultimate lap but in the sprint Mourey and Walsleben captured the final podium spots at half a minute from Albert. Despite finishing off the pace in tenth place Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) remains in the overall lead of the World Cup standings.
Compton distanced the field immediately
The US-champion never eased off and reached the finish line more than a minute ahead of runner-up Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP). Belgian champion Cant battled with British champion Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) for that second place but the young Belgian showed maturity and made no mistakes in the dunes of Koksijde.
A very quick start from Sabine Stultiens (Rabo Women Cycling Team) was rewarded with a fourth place at the finish line. Fellow quick starter Helen Wyman (Kona) blew up her engine but salvaged her World Cup ranking by placing sixth. Compton now comfortably leads the rankings with 170 points, thirty more than Harris.
Van der Poel blisters U-23 field
World Cup leader Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) left no doubt about his ambitions in the Men Under 23 category and took a blistering start in Koksijde. World Champion Mike Teunissen and Belgian champion Laurens Sweeck were the last riders to keep the Dutchman in sight. Sweeck won the battle for second place at 41s from Van der Poel. The latter strengthens his lead in the World Cup standings as previous second-placed Wout Van Aert only managed a 15th place in Koksijde. Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) was third in Koksijde and he takes over second place, forty points from the leader.
Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) remains in the lead of the World Cup standings in the Junior Men category after a sixth place in Koksijde. Iserbyt holds a narrow lead over compatriots Yannick Peeters and Kobe Goossens. The latter clearly was the best in Koksijde, attacking in the penultimate lap and finishing solo. Iserbyt finished at the back of the first chase group in the sprint at 14s from winner Goossens.
The next round of the World Cup is held at the citadel in Namur, in the south of Belgium on December 22.