Vital Statistics: Facts that show the differences in women's and men's pro cycling

The professional women's peloton raced a thrilling fifth edition of La Course by Le Tour de France on Tuesday, won by the recent Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile champion Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott). The women's race was held in conjunction with stage 10 of the men's 21-day Tour de France between Annecy and Le Grand Bornand.

Both events are run by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). La Course by Le Tour de France, which on petition, started as a one-day circuit race five years ago, increased to a two-day format last year, but returned to a one-day road race in the Alps for 2018.

Organisers put together a mountainous 112.5km parcours for the women's peloton that included four ascents, but it was a fraction of the men's 159km stage, and some considered ASO's decision to reduce the race to one day as a step backwards.

At a time when the lack of parity in professional cycling is at the forefront, and when the UCI only just confirmed the introduction of a minimum wage requirement for women in two years (2020), Cyclingnews contributor Isabel Best dissects some of the differences between men's and women's cycling.

View the list of vital statistics below to learn the facts on salaries, prize money and team budgets, the number of stage races and race distances, and other UCI regulations for women’s races, TV coverages and more.

Vital Statistics

UCI WorldTour and Women's WorldTour

Number of women's races on the 2018 Women's UCI WorldTour Calendar: 23
Of which stage races: 8
Total number of days racing: 52

Number of men's races on the UCI WorldTour Calendar: 37
Of which stage races: 17
Total number of days racing in 2018: 179

Race distances

Maximum number of permitted stages for a men's Grand Tour: 23
Maximum number of permitted stages for a women's stage race: 6
Number of women's races that have special permission to exceed this number: 1 (the Giro Rosa with 10 stages)
Maximum average distance per stage in a women's tour: 140km
Maximum women's ITT distance in a women's tour: 40km
Maximum average distance per stage in a men's tour: 180km
Maximum men's ITT distance in a men's tour: 60km (i)

Tour de France, La Course and Grand Tours

Years in which there was a women's Tour de France on the same days and roads as the men's: 1984-1989
Number of stages in the 1985 women's Tour de France: 17
Words devoted to the women's race in the history section of ASO's Tour de France website: 0
Number of mentions of the Tour Féminin on the website of La Course: 0

Number of people who signed Le Tour Entier's petition for a women's Tour de France in 2013: 97,000
Number of editions of La Course, the result of Le Tour Entier's petition: 5
Number of stages in this year's edition of La Course: 1

Number of women who have officially taken part in a men's Grand Tour: 1 (Alfonsina Strada, 1924 Giro d'Italia)
Longest stage of the 1924 Giro: 415km (Bologna-Fiume)
Shortest stage of the 1924 Giro: 230km (Taranto-Foggia)
Total race distance: 3,613km

Olympic Games and World Championships

Year a men's road race was introduced in the Olympics: 1896
Year a women's road race was introduced in the Olympics: 1984
First men's world championship road race: 1927
First women's world championship road race: 1958

Year Nicole Cooke won the gold medal in both the Olympic road race and the World Championship road race: 2008
Number of riders, male or female, who have won an Olympic and world championship road race in the same year: 2
Other rider to have done the same thing: Marianne Vos, in 2012, who that year also won the UCI women's World Cup.
Additional major international races Vos won in 2012: 8

Minimum wage and payments

Year when Pat McQuaid, then UCI President, declared women's cycling hadn't made sufficient progress to warrant a minimum wage: 2012
Time frame within which newly elected UCI President and former head of British Cycling, Brian Cookson, said he planned to introduce a women's minimum wage, on the occasion of his 2013 election: 12 months. (ii)
Year when David Lappartient, current UCI President, plans to partially introduce a women's minimum wage: 2020

Minimum wage for a male rider on a Professional Continental team: €30,855
Minimum wage for a male rider on a WorldTour team: €38,115
Percentage of female riders earning less than €10,000: 50%
Percentage of female riders in a professional team with no salary: 17%
Percentage of women earning more than €40,000: 8%
Percentage of female riders who have had to reimburse their teams for services like mechanical assistance, medical testing, travel costs to races, bikes, parts, accommodation, meals etc: 52%
Percentage of female riders who have to work a second job in order to make ends meet: 52% (iii)
Number of months Nicole Cooke's team failed to pay her salary in the run up to the 2012 Olympics: 3 (iv)
Brian Cookson's salary in 2013: £235,000
Pay cut he'd elected to take following McQuaid's presidency: 25%
Chris Froome's salary in 2016: £4 million (v)

British riders

Number of Olympic medals won by British women across all cycling disciplines at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics: 16
Of which gold: 9
Increase of female cyclists in the UK since 2013: 723,000
Increase of women holding racing licences with British cycling since 2013: 72% (vi)

Team budgets

Average annual UCI WorldTour men's team budget, according to Shayne Bannon, Mitchelton-Scott's General Manager: £15 million (vii)
Estimated initial four-year budget provided by BskyB to Team Sky at its outset in 2010: £30 million (viii)
Typical budget for a top women's cycling team: a little over US $200,000 (ix)

British riders and Grand Tours

Number of years British Cycling and Team Sky set for themselves to get a British rider to win the Tour de France: 5
Years in which British rider Emma Pooley came 2nd in the women's Giro: 2011 and 2012
Steps taken by British Cycling and sponsor Sky to help Pooley assemble a team with which to win the Giro: 0 (x)


Annemiek Van Vleuten's average speed when she won the elite women's TT world championship in 2017: 40.025kph over 21.1km
Tom Dumoulin's average speed when he won the men's TT world championship in 2017: 41.626kph over 31km

Prize money

Year the US national championships introduced prize money parity: 2013
Year Nairo Quintana received €200,000 for winning the Giro d'Italia and Marianne Vos received €535 for winning the Giro Rosa: 2014 (xi)
Year Lizzie Deignan (then Armitstead) received £2,000 for winning the world championship road race and Peter Sagan received £20,000 for the men's race: 2015
Year the UCI begin introducing equal prize money for the women's and men's races at the world championships: 2016
Year the UCI introduced a women's WorldTour series of races, with expectations on race organisers to organise TV coverage: 2016
Year The Women's Tour de Yorkshire and Prudential Ride London both announced prize parity with the men's editions of their races: 2016
Year British Cycling introduced prize parity for the National Women's Road Series with the men's Spring Cup and Grand Prix: 2017
Year three major women's WorldTour stage races announced prize parity with their men's races (The Santos Tour Down Under, The Ovo Energy Women's Tour, and the AMGEN Tour of California): 2018

Live coverage

Number of televised views of women's UCI races in 2016: 80 million
Hours of TV broadcasting of women's races in 2016: 310
Number of televised views of women's UCI races in 2017: 124 million
Hours of TV broadcasting of women's races in 2017: 650
Number of women's WorldTour races this season to be broadcast live: 15 out of 23 (xii)


Number of UCI men's WorldTour teams that have a professional women's team: 5 (Sunweb, Movistar, Mitchelton-SCOTT, Lotto Soudal, Astana). (xiii)

Mitchelton-Scott and the Giro d'Italia

Number of minutes it took Annemiek Van Vleuten, of Team Mitchelton-Scott, to climb the 11.9k kilometres and 1,200m of vertical ascent of the Monte Zoncolan, featuring an average gradient of 11.5% and sections at 22% in stage 9 of this year's Giro Rosa: 48 minutes 3 seconds.
Van Vleuten's place on Strava's overall leaderboard for the Zoncolan climb: 15
Number of minutes it took Team Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates to scale the same climb at this year's Giro d'Italia: 40 minutes 4 seconds.
Number of victories Team Mitchelton-Scott has had in a Grand Tour stage race, either male or female, in its 7 years of existence: 1
Number of jerseys the women's team took home: 3 (leader, points and mountains)
Number of Mitchelton-SCOTT riders on the Giro Rosa podium: 2 (Van Vleuten 1st, Amanda Spratt 3rd)
Number of videos on Mitchelton-Scott's website about the men's team: 15
Number of videos on Mitchelton-Scott's website about the women's team: 1
Twitter followers for Annemiek Van Vleuten: 50k
Twitter followers for Simon Yates: 28.9k

Dave Brailsford and women's cycling

Year in which Dave Brailsford, then Performance Director at British Cycling as well as Manager of Team Sky, said the following about the need to support British women's road racing; "We are on the case, recent comments have not been falling on deaf ears and we have been thinking hard about it [...] Rather than just dive in I'm trying to hold everybody back just a little bit, maybe just four or five weeks, so that we can review everything properly and make sure we get this right first time. We are very well aware that there is a stark inequality between women's professional cycling and men's, so British Cycling, along with Sky as its key partner, have been looking at some structures to see how best we can support and develop these girls. There has never been a better time to be a talented young British rider": 2012 (xiv)


(iii) All data on women's salaries from a 2017 survey conducted by the Cyclists' Alliance
(xii) source: UCI press office
(xiii) Point made by Kathryn Bertine

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