UCI president Pat McQuaid's assessment that women's cycling has "not developed enough" for a guaranteed minimum wage for riders was met with robust criticism from the podium finishers in the women's road race at the UCI World Championships.
At a press conference on Saturday morning, McQuaid was questioned on whether the UCI had plans to introduce regulations governing minimum salaries in women's cycling.
"We have an agreement in men's sport, but women's cycling has not developed enough that we are at that level yet," he replied.
World champion Bronzini was informed of the comment when she met the press after the race, and stated that the time was ripe for women riders to have more closely regulated contracts. "We're not less than the men," she said.
Bronze medallist Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany) was more outspoken when she outlined her stance on the matter. "Why do they say that? I think that's total bullshit," she said. "We've seen in the last number of years that it's getting more and more professional. The level is getting harder. You can't come to a race anymore and win if you are not fit. I don't know why guys would deserve a minimum salary and women don't. We're living in the 21st century so there should be equal rights for everybody."
Marianne Vos (Netherlands), who took a fifth consecutive silver medal in the road race, supported Teutenberg's rebuttal of the UCI's position, pointing out that a minimum wage would also serve to raise the level of women's cycling and aid in its development.
"I think we all do as much for the sport as the men do, so why not equal it?" Vos asked. "Of course, it's a younger sport than the men's sport, but it's getting more and more professional and with a minimum salary it can only be more professional."