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Armitstead speaks out over sexism in professional cycling

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
July 31, 2012, 12:55 BST,
Updated:
July 31, 2012, 13:56 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Race:
2012 Olympic Games, Olympic Women's Road Race
Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) has spoken out against inequality after winning silver in the 2012 Olympic road race

Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) has spoken out against inequality after winning silver in the 2012 Olympic road race

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Olympic silver medal winner calls on UCI to address inequality

Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) addressed issues over sexism and inequality surrounding women's sport during her post-race press conference.

Armitstead finished second in the women's Olympic road race on Sunday, an event that started with half the numbers that had rolled out the previous day for the men's equivalent event. Members of the women's professional scene have advocated for a minimum salary in their sport, as well as greater number of women's teams and enhanced media coverage.

"Pat McQuaid [UCI President] came and shook my hand and it was the kind of moment where you want to say lets sit down and have a conversation after this, Pat. It's something that can get overwhelming and frustrating, the sexism I experience in my career. But it's something that as an elite athlete you just get used to. At the moment there's not much I can do to change it but after my career I hope to," she said.

"It's just obviously a big issue in women's sport, like salaries, media coverage, just general things that you have to cope with your career. But if you just focus on that then you get very disheartened. You try and focus on the positives."

For Armistead, a share of the responsibility is on the UCI to deliver.

"There are lots of different things that could be done but certainly I think we could get more help from the top, which is the UCI, perhaps through forcing ProTour teams to have a women's team," she added.

"The problem is of being a female athlete is that you don't want to come across as negative or moaning and it's very difficult to change things in a positive way."

Armitstead, who rides on the continent for AA Drink-Leontien.nl, was also asked whether Sky, the backers behind the successful British men's team, should reinforce their commitment to cycling by sponsoring a women's team.

"I think Team Sky are perhaps missing an opportunity," Armitstead said.

"There are three GB Olympic medallists out there on the road side but it's not just a Team Sky issue, and luckily I'm part of British Cycling, which means I do get certain advantages from the co-operation with Sky and the fact that they sponsor the federation. I'm happy with my team AA Drinks and they've done a fantastic job of preparing me for the Games."

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