Overall winning ladies Yolande Speedy and Catherine Williams celebrate an emotional finish at the finish line of the final stage (stage 7) of the 2013 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Stellenbosch to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, South Africa on the 24 March 2013 Photo by Karin Schermbrucker/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICSThe 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.”

 

Photo: 2013 Absa Cape Epic / spotrzpics.com/Karin Schermbrucker

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