Amstel Gold Race takes more credit than deserved in increased prize money for women

On April 9, the Amstel Gold Race organisation announced that it would double the prize money for their women's race and substantially increase participation fees. The race deserves praise for increasing the prize money fund to a level above and beyond what is required by the UCI, but a closer look reveals that the race organisation takes more credit than it deserves. The increase in participation allowances was not a choice by the race but is due to a rule change by the UCI.

The race organisation's press release reads that "the Amstel Gold Race will double the prize money for the ladies for the upcoming edition in April. In addition, the appearance money for all teams has been increased by almost €10,000 in total."

The race director of the Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition, Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel, is quoted as saying that "we are doubling the prize money for the women this year and I am very happy with that."

Zijlaard-van Moorsel also says, "It is now also important to let the sport grow across the board so that all teams can become more professional. For that reason, we have also considerably increased the appearance money for all women's teams."

Increase in prize money not as large as claimed

It is true that the prize fund has been increased considerably. In 2018, the race followed the minimum prize money table mandated by the UCI for a Women's WorldTour one-day race, paying out a total of €5,245 of which the winner Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) received €1,150. The winner of the 2019 edition to be held on April 21 will receive €2,500, and the total prize fund is now €10,000.

The UCI has also increased its minimum prize money ahead of the 2019 season. The minimum total prize fund for a Women’s WorldTour one-day race is now €5,765, €1,265 of which goes to the race winner.

The €10,000 offered by the women's Amstel Gold Race is 173.46 per cent of what the race is required to offer under the current rules – a substantial increase on the UCI minimum, but not twice as much. Some placings, including the winner, will earn more than twice of what was paid out in 2018, but the total amount has in fact not been doubled – the total prize fund was increased by 90.66 per cent.

Some placings receive a far smaller increase, with the 19th- and 20th-placed riders receiving only an 11.11 per cent increase, which is purely down to the UCI’s mandated minimum going up from €90 to €100. These placings receive exactly what the minimum requires, not double.

The total prize fund for the men's Amstel Gold Race is the UCI-mandated minimum of €40,000, €16,000 of which is paid to the winner.

Increase in appearance money down to rule change by UCI

Paying participation allowances to teams is mandatory for Women's WorldTour one-day races from 2019. Until and including 2018, the race could instead choose to cover accommodation expenses for two nights; this option has now been removed, and the participation fees increased.

In 2018, the participation allowance amounted to €200 per rider plus €65 per staff member (for up to three staff). As a team may line up six riders in a Women's WorldTour one-day race, the total participation fee paid to a team in 2018 was €1,395.

For 2019, the amount paid per rider has been increased to €250. The amount paid per staff member is now €100 and will be paid for a minimum of four staff members, an increase from last year's maximum of three. Under normal circumstances, the total participation fee paid to a team will thus be €1,900, an increase of €505 from last year. The UCI has already announced that participation allowances will increase further for 2020.

As the start list for the women's Amstel Gold Race includes 18 teams, the race is mandated by the UCI to pay out an additional €9,090 in participation fees compared to last year. This amount is remarkably close to the "almost €10,000 in total" mentioned in the race's press release.

Each men's WorldTeam receives a participation allowance of €8,500 from a men's WorldTour race like the Amstel Gold Race. Each men's Professional Continental Team invited by the race will receive €3,500 in appearance money.

The Amstel Gold Race organisation has not responded to requests for comment by time of publication.

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