With 2018 in the books, it’s a good time to take a quick look back on an eventful year for women’s sports, women’s cycling, and gender equality in general. The potential of our first Tour of America in 2020 got a boost from what we might consider four giant leaps forward:
- The Road to Parity in women’s cycling – UCI Agenda 2022. In July, the UCI announced that will enforce a minimum wage for women’s cycling beginning in 2020. The “restructuring” of teams into a tiered system at least opens the door to growth in pay for top tiers, and serves as a hopeful starting point that will move minimum salaries higher over time for everyone. Naturally, this ascent will pick up speed if there are more high-profile women’s races that provide proof of the untapped commercial value of elite women’s cycling. The Agenda includes commitments to gender equality through an organizational code of conduct and improved working conditions.
- The Road to Sustainable Development – A New United Nations Resolution. In November, the United Nations affirmed “. . . the contribution of sport in promoting tolerance and respect and empowering women and young people, individuals and communities. The document also places a spotlight on the impact sport has on health, education, social inclusion and the fight against corruption, encouraging governments’ efforts to focus on these topics.” (Full press release here)
- The Road to Leadership – Midterm elections. In the United States midterm elections, it was the Year of the Woman, as nine women won governorships and 117 women were elected to Congress. While this is still only 20% of the Legislative branch of our government (for a gender that is 50% of the population) it is a roar that we can’t help but hear, and a step toward leadership parity that we can all support and celebrate, regardless of our political affiliations.
- The Road to the Tour of America – The Colorado Classic – In what may be the biggest boost to our vision for the Tour of America, the Colorado Classic will become the only standalone multi-stage elite women’s cycling race in the western hemisphere 2019! It is a bold and visionary decision built upon the same logic that we have been espousing throughout 2018: the recognition that an elite women’s race, standing alone from a men’s race, can deliver commercial value with a strong social platform. To quote from their release:
“More than a race, the Colorado Classic will act as a movement to inspire women, challenge and redefine female professional cycling, and ultimately, empower women of all ages to break the mold, and fight for their goals.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
We believe the 2019 Colorado Classic will be a perfect proof-of- concept for the Tour of America in 2020 and we look forward to their success in the coming year. Congratulations to RPM Events Group for raising the bar on women’s cycling and paving the way for more races like ours to emerge on the calendar!
Happy New Year from the Tour of America, and all the best for a great 2019!