CrossVegas has joined the list of particularly cyclo-cross races moving to narrow the prize money gap between the elite men’s and women’s field. Organiser Brook Watts has announced a ‘podium bonus’ for the top three finishers in this year’s women’s race, with each rider to receive an additional $500USD on top of the prize money nominated by the International Cycling Union’s management committee.
“Would I prefer to be announcing 100 per cent equality in women’s and men’s prizes? Absolutely I would,” said Watts. “However despite our current economic climate, I’m pleased to be able to move the bar up a notch in recognition of the equal effort put in by the Elite Women’s field at CrossVegas.
“There has been a lot of chatter in the online world in the last few days about the CrossVegas prize list,” he added. “What doesn’t get publicised is the work that goes on behind the scenes by me and other interested parties trying to raise the necessary funds to make fundamental changes like this not only for CrossVegas but other cyclo-cross races as well.”
Watts doesn’t hide the fact that the women’s prizes – at $766, $687 and $643 respectively – are still lower than the men’s, but highlighted that he’s been instrumental in the push for equality. He helped get the NACT series prize lists equal for both men and women.
“Changes like the NACT purse and the CrossVegas podium bonus have been in the works for some time so it makes some of the recent criticisms frustrating,” said Watts.
Watts called on other disciplines to join cyclo-cross in the push to provide equal prize money for both genets. “It seems like ‘cross has been singled out for an issue that cuts across all cycling and in fact all sports,” he said.
CrossVegas is held during the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, USA. This year’s event will be staged on Wednesday, September 22.