Danilith Nokere Koerse triples women’s prize fund to reach parity with men’s race

NOKERE BELGIUM MARCH 17 Arrival Amy Pieters of Netherlands and Team SD Worx Celebration Grace Brown of Australia and Team BikeExchange during the 3rd Nokere Koerse Danilith Classic 2021 Womens Elite a 124km race from Deinze to Nokere NokereKoerse on March 17 2021 in Nokere Belgium Photo by Mark Van HeckeGetty Images
Amy Pieters (SD Worx) won the 2021 edition of the race (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Organisers of the Belgian Danilith Nokere Koerse races have announced that they will provide equal prize money across both the men’s and women’s events in 2022.

The welcome news effectively means that the women’s prize fund has been tripled from 2021, making the event one of the most lucrative in the women’s racing circuit with the event pushing to be considered part of the Women’s WorldTour in 2022.

The women's prize fund for the one-day race will stand at €20,300 next year. The UCI's minimum prize fund for a Women's WorldTour event currently stands at €7,700. 

Gil Steyvers, race organiser for the women’s race, welcomed the news and hoped that the development would encourage more of the top women’s riders and teams to be on the start list in March 2022.

"As a Women's ProSeries race we already pay a decent starting fee to the participating teams," said Steyvers. 

"It is a multiple of what teams get in lower categorized races and is also close to the starting fee for the men's teams. Now we are stepping up our efforts to close the financial gap by rewarding the women equally for their performance.

"We hope the top teams and top cyclists appreciate our efforts and will also be at the start in Deinze on March 16. Thus we want to strengthen our candidacy for the UCI Women's WorldTour. We are convinced that our race can be an added value in terms of sport, appearance and therefore financially. We therefore hope that the UCI will approve our candidacy for 2023.”

The race also aims to modify its parcours next year with a course that should tip the balance away from the pure sprinters and more towards the all-rounders in the field with a tough finish on the Nokereberg climb.

But while an exciting race is always important, the significant news of a financial parity is a major stepping stone for the future of both the race and women’s cycling as a whole.

"For our men's race the UCI has set a prize money of €18,800. That's 3.5 times more than for the women’s race (€5,130). However, women's cycling is becoming more and more important," said event president Robrecht Bothuyne.

“The gap with the men when it comes to prize money must therefore be closed. Together with the municipality of Kruisem, the arrival point Nokere is a sub-municipality of Kruisem, we are now increasing the prize money for the women’s race to the level of the men.

"On top of that we also have our ‘Pur Natur mountain prize’ of €1,500, which has been the same for men and women for several years. This brings us to a total amount of €20,300 per race. Danilith Nokere Koerse is the one-day race with the highest prize money in women's cycling. We also link this to our candidacy for the Women’s WorldTour.”

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