‘Everyone will have to compete with British races’: Barnes praises Women’s Tour equal pay

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    The 2018 Women’s Tour will have its own dedicated television coverage

    Britain’s Hannah Barnes believes other cycling events can learn from how the Women’s Tour champions equality with its men’s version, the Tour of Britain.

    This year the Women’s Tour has more than doubled its prize fund to match the sums awarded in the men’s race.

    “It’s a huge deal and I’m really proud. I feel the sport is moving in the right direction and I feel Britain is to thank for that,” Barnes told BBC Sport.

    “I believe everyone is going to have to compete with the British races.”

    The Women’s Tour runs over five stages, beginning in Framingham, Suffolk on 13 June and ending in Colwyn Bay, north Wales on 17 June.

    Organisers of the event announced in March that they planned to increase the prize fund for this fourth edition by 55,000 euros (£48,434) to 90,000 euros (£79,257).

    This year’s Tour de Yorkshire also had the same prize money on offer for both the men’s and women’s races.

    Meanwhile, the Women’s Tour Down Under drew praise in January when it announced equal prize money from next year.

    However, in many women’s cycling events the sums offered to the peloton can be paltry.

    Five-time world champion Ellen van Dijk followed up the debate with this tweet: “For the record this is what every rider of the team in that race got. So races like Tour de Yorkshire (and for example Prudential Ride Classique) are unique with their amount of prize money. Thanks @letouryorkshire, you’re doing a great job! #WTDY”

    “We do a lot of races where it’s difficult to look at the prize pot for men and women as sometimes it’s thousands and thousands of euros difference,” added Barnes.

    “There’s more to be done but I’m really happy to be part of women’s cycling at the moment.

    “To have done this 10-15 years ago would have been a huge struggle. Now I feel like it’s not a fight anymore and it’s going in the right direction.”

    Another difference with the Women’s Tour is that it will have its own dedicated television coverage instead of the last few kilometres being shown before the start of a men’s race.

    “A lot of the time we’re competing for the limelight,” explained Barnes.

    “In Flanders and the Ardennes it’s great that we have a women’s race but in the back of your mind you think the crowd are there to see the men come through afterwards. But with the Women’s Tour you know everyone is there to watch us race and that’s really special.”

    At last year’s edition, Barnes finished third in the general classification, also claiming the jersey for best British rider.

    She followed that by taking an impressive stage win at the Giro Rosa – regarded as the biggest stage race in women’s cycling,

    This year the 25-year-old enters the Women’s Tour as Great Britain’s highest-ranked elite woman and says the race is one of her targets for the year.

    “Last year I think I shocked quite a few people,” said Barnes.

    “I came second in two stages so this year one of my goals is to win a stage. This year the stages look a lot harder but I feel stage racing is my forte and I get better as the race goes on.

    “Having the British National Road Championships coming up around 10 days after, for me, it’s a really important three weeks to focus on those two main targets.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44446728

    “I’ve won the national jersey before and really miss it so I’d love to win that race again.”

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