The Bigla Pro Cycling Team has announced on the morning of the Energiewacht Tour that it will not be taking to the start line of the UCI 2.2 race in protest against the cost of race entry. A statement from the team reads, "The race has grown in stature and will enjoy TV coverage this year making it more accessible to fans, which is good for women’s cycling.
"However, the Bigla Pro Cycling Team does not agree with a fee requested by race organisers from teams in order to start the race."
The team added that the fee requested by the race organisers was a further financial burden for the growth of women's cycling.
"Professional women’s cycling teams already have limited budgets in which it supports full time athletes and staff. For teams to pay to start a stage race while the athletes will be the stars of the show is not in the interest of sustainability for the sport," the statement read.
The Swiss team is yet to win in Europe this season with new recruit Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio providing all four victories of the season so far at the South African national championships and African Continental Championships in the road race and time trial.
In preparation for the stage race, Bigla raced the Grand Prix de Dottignies with Finnish road race champion Lotta Lepistö finishing fourth. Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten had been the team's best finisher the day before at the Women's Tour of Flanders in fourth place for successive top-ten World Cup placings.
"There's huge interest and momentum in women’s cycling and making good decisions now is vital for the sport to keep its upward trajectory. We wish the race success over the week of racing," the team statement added.