From 2018, the South Australian government will secure equal pay for the Santos Women's Tour and Tour Down Under peloton. The announcement was made by the Minister for Tourism, Leon Bignell, during the Legends Dinner of the race and confirmed Sunday morning in a release.
The Tour Down Under, celebrating its 20th edition in 2018, is classified at WorldTour level while the Santos Women's Tour was upgraded to 2.1 status from this year. The overall prize money on offer at the Tour Down Under in 2018 is €98,000, while the women's peloton was originally competing for €11,019. The four-stage Santos Women's Tour finished last week while the Tour Down Under concludes Sunday with its sixth stage.
The overall winners of both races receive €12,000 in prize money with €4,000 for a stage win. The top-20 riders on general classification and stages also receive prize money, along with the top three riders in the mountains, points, and young rider classifications. There is also a daily prize of €250 for the most combative rider.
The winner of the Santos Women's Tour was to be awarded €1549.
"We're absolutely delighted with the announcement of equal prize money. This is a huge leap forward, not only for our Women's Tour Down Under riders, but female athletes all over the world," race director Kimberley Conte said of the decision.
"It's really great to have the support of the State Government and the UCI, to continue to elevate this race and recognise the skill and efforts of our riders. We have women coming from all over her the world for the Women's Tour Down Under. Having equal prize money will result in even more interest from top international female riders and help take this race to the next level."
For South Australian sports minister, Leon Bignell, the decision continues the government’s commitment to gender equality and follows the change to podium protocol of replacing hostesses with junior cyclists from 2017.
"This is exciting news for women's sport and I'm thrilled to announce our Government is providing equal prize money for female riders in the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under," Bignell said in a release. "I wrote to UCI President, Mr David Lappartient, in November last year and we finished the discussions today and agreed the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under was the perfect event to lead the way for equal prize money.
"These athletes are at the top of their game, displaying professionalism, determination and skill during every stage of the hard-fought race. It’s only fair the prize money they receive is on par with their male counterparts for each stage as well as the general classification."
UCI president David Lappartient also applauded the changes, stating that pay equality supports "significant transformation for women in cycling."
The Santos Women's Tour was won by Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) for the second year running.