Australia’s Tour Down Under is making headlines this year for their step toward pay equality. This pay gap between male and female professional cyclers has been under increasing examination over the past few years as women riders are now becoming more vocal about the inequality of pay within the sport. Beginning next year, women will see the same amount of money in the competition’s prize pool as the men’s.
If you’ve never heard of the Tour Down Under, here are a few quick facts. It is a four-day race that stretches over 386.1km (roughly 240 miles). Like most tours, there are different classifications for winners. In the Tour Down Under, jerseys to be won are the Santos Ochre Leader’s Jersey, southaustralia.com Sprint Jersey, Subaru Queen of the Mountain Jersey, the #seesouthaustralia Young Rider’s Jersey, and the Wilson Parking Winning Team jerseys.
Stage one is held in Gumeracha. The two loops around the Adelaide Hills is a distance of 115.7 km (about 72 miles). The steepest climb in this stage is 11.1% gradient. In stage 2, begin in Lyndoch, and face two steep climbs of 9% gradient and 14.4% gradient. The length of this stage is 102 km (just a little more than 63 miles). The third stage has the furthest distance of 122.4 km (75 miles). The climb to conquer on this day is off 12.2% gradient. Finally, the last stage of the tour is 20 laps around one of the parks in the center of Adelaide. This evening sprint is 46 km (28.5 miles).
Leon Bignell, the South Australian sports minister, spoke out about the pay equality for this race. He said the display of professionalism, the determination, and the skill during each of the four stages shows that these athletes are at the top of their game. Because of this, it’s only fair that they receive the prize money that’s on par with the men’s competition. Kimberley Conte, the race director of the Women’s Tour Down Under, weighed in as well stating that the equal payout will gain this race more recognition for the skill and efforts of the riders and elevate it to have even more international female riders in the coming years.
Many are applauding the efforts of the South Australian government for paving the way to equal pay for both male and female riders. I’m looking forward to seeing many, if not all; other organizations follow suit.