Flanders Classics has raised the bar in its bold four-year plan for equality – Closing the Gap – implementing equal prize money across all six of its 2023 Spring Classics races.
The new step is thanks to a renewed partnership (opens in new tab) between Flanders Classics and KPMG and their efforts to professionalize women’s cycling.
“Last season, we expressed our ambition to offer equal prize money for all races in 2023. Today, we can already confirm that will indeed be the case this spring. As of the season’s opening classic, this will no longer just be an ambition but a concrete achievement,” said Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics, which runs Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and Brabantse Pijl.
“Together with the new initiatives in 2023, the total investment in the project already amounts to some €1.6 million,” he said.
Van Den Spiegel said in an interview with Sporza (opens in new tab) that offering equal prize money across events was the cherry on top of the bigger picture. “We’ve already been working on upgrading the start fees, improving our races and more media coverage and broadcast hours.
“But you can’t get left behind with prize money, and we want to show that this is the momentum. We want to lead by example.
“Women’s cycling used to be described by organizers as a cost. Today it’s an investment. We want to be innovative, and we want to stay first in our class. And so I think other organizers will be obliged to follow.”
Flanders Classics made a promise to women’s cycling through its well-known four-year initiative, which aims to bring visibility and equality to its events from the bottom up.
It was launched in 2020 in partnership with KPMG to create equality across all of its six women’s and men’s Spring Classics in three main areas: live TV coverage, classification on the international calendar and prize money.
Last year, Flanders Classics offered €50,000 for women’s Tour of Flanders to equal the prize purse of the men’s race.
Currently, three of Flanders Classics women’s events are part of the Women’s WorldTour; the newly upgraded Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem, and Tour of Flanders.
There are then two events that are part of the ProSeries; Dwars door Vlaanderen, which is part of the men’s WorldTour but was denied a license to be part of the Women’s WorldTour for this season, and De Brabantse Pijl. Scheldeprijs remains a 1.1 women’s event to give…
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