Women’s equality in Europe has been a major area of development in the past few years, and Koppenbergcross has taken it a step further and has become the first European ’cross race to give equal prize money to men and women.
From the race promoters:
The Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde has set a new milestone in the history of cyclocross. In cooperation with the American company Twenty20 Cycling we are the first European cyclocross to provide equal prize money for men elite and women. So far there was a gap of over five thousand euros between the prize scales for men and women in first category races, such as the Koppenbergcross. A gap that the Sint-Pietersvrienden, organizers of the Koppenbergcross, now decided to close.
The winner of the GP Twenty20 Cycling (the new name of our women’s race) on Saturday November 1st 2014 is no longer rewarded by 350 euros but by 1667. Exactly the same as the next winner of our GP Willy Naessens for Elite Men. The same counts for all riders further down the results of our men and women’s race. A clear signal with which we hope to help the current growth of the Koppenbergcross and women’s cyclocross. So far, the world championships were the only cyclocross races on European soil to give equal prize money.
The British rider Helen Wyman – European cyclocross champion, member of the cyclocross committee of the international cycling federation, triple winner of our race and resident of Oudenaarde – is obviously happy with this step. “In my eyes, this is a huge step. It is a very significant moment for women’s cycling. This allows women to make one step up the ladder towards equality. I spend a lot of my free time trying to advance women’s cyclocross and I hope this will lead to a chain reaction of races who do the same, as I know the support is there from sponsors, supporters and riders. To be a part of this development for the sport is fantastic for me.”
“For the Koppenbergcross to be the first race in Europe to do this is very special. I love the Koppenbergcross, to me it is the biggest race outside of the World Championships. It is legendary. To have an American sponsor back the race shows how significant it is around the world. I can’t thank Twenty20 Cycling enough on behalf of all of the racers that take part next season. I’m certainly already looking forward to the GP Twenty20 Cycling and hope to collect another cobble stone in 2014.”
Kristopher Auer, manager of Twenty20 Cycling, is proud to connect the name of his company to the women’s race of the Koppenbergcross. “Twenty20 Cycling Co. is a small two-store bicycle shop located in Baltimore and Savage, Maryland in the United States. One of the things that makes our business unique is how it developed from a cyclocross background. Since before we opened our business I have been supporting the growth of cyclocross in America. I was promoting UCI cyclocross races in Baltimore nearly a decade ago when I met my future business partners. Growing the sport has always been on our agenda and I’ve always looked to ensure both women and men can race with equal opportunity.”
“There have been a lot of discussion recently about the globalization of the sport, and women’s racing is high on the agenda for change. Following discussion with Helen Wyman, a six-time winner in our UCI races in Baltimore, we looked for an opportunity to do our part to help advance these two key areas of change. As a company we are excited to be part of such a prestigious event as the Koppenbergcross. It is an amazing race with its own rich history, tough conditions and a fantastic venue. We are proud to be part of what I believe to be an important, if not historic, moment for women’s CX and women’s cycling in general. The growth of women’s sport is not to be ignored and we are hopeful that support of the Koppenbergcross will send a powerful message in Europe and the United States that the time is now.”
The GP Twenty20 Cycling, our women’s race on Saturday November 1st 2014, once again will be part of the bpost bank trofee, just like our men’s and u23 race.