- - Brian Cookson Reports on the Progress of Women’s Cycling

Brian Cookson Reports on the Progress of Women’s Cycling

As part of his initial campaign promise, UCI president Brian Cookson remains  committed to establishing a minimum wage in women’s cycling, but says it will likely take another two to three years before the measure is introduced.

“I am very keen on having a minimum wage for women: it’s something that I promised to do,” Cookson told the British cycling site, Cyclingnews, in a recent video interview. “What I’ve had to do as a result of the advice that I’ve received from the women’s commission is to put that on hold temporarily while we develop and evolve women’s road racing.”

According to Cookson, the first priority for the UCI, is to improve the infrastructure and economy of women’s cycling by first expanding it’s calendar with top venue races. 

“I think we’re moving towards something like a WorldTour for women within the next two or three years,” he said. “Within that period I think we’ll be in a position to establish a minimum wage for women on professional teams.”

Cookson added that he felt by simply introducing a minimum wage for women would prove to be counter-productive, and that it would first be necessary to categorize women’s professional teams into distinct division similar to the men’s system.

“If you passed a rule that said there must be a minimum wage for UCI women’s teams that wouldn’t have the desired effect of having a few hundred women paid the minimum wage: it would have the effect of reducing and destroying the number of teams,” he said. “It’s not as simple as passing a rule that there shall be a minimum wage.”

In addition, Cookson pointed to the investment in television coverage of the World Cup as one of the key accomplishments the UCI has made regarding women’s cycling, as well as the establishment of new, high profile races such as La Course and the Women’s Tour of Britain.

“It shows that women’s events don’t always need to be secondary or subsidiary to men’s events, they can stand on their own and be really successful,” he said of the women’s event.

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