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Giro d'Italia Donne prize money falls short of promises

CUNEO ITALY JULY 02 Ruth Winder of United States and Team Trek Segafredo Pink Leader Jersey celebrates at arrival during the 32nd Giro dItalia Internazionale Femminile 2021 Stage 1 a 267 Team Time Trial stage from Fossano to Cuneo 540m TTT GiroDonne UCIWWT on July 02 2021 in Cuneo Italy Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Ruth Winder wears the first pink jersey of the 2021 Giro d'Italia Donne (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Giro d'Italia Donne is the longest and most prestigious stage race on the women's calendar, which in 2021 is into its 32nd edition. Although the riders will compete over 10 gruelling stages to fight it out for the overall win, the rider who takes home the final pink jersey will walk away with just €8,000.

By contrast, other races on the women's calendar offer far more, such as the six-day Women's Tour, which has a total prize pot of €97,880. For the recent Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, which took place over four days, the winner of the overall took home €7,860 and a stage win was worth €735. 

Although these two races have Women's WorldTour status, while the Giro d'Italia Donne is 2.ProSeries in 2021, last year, while the race held a top-tier status, the winner of the overall took home just €5,000, with the second and third-placed riders taking €1,000 each. Also in the 2020 edition, a stage win was worth €665.

After multiple failings, including a lack of mandatory live coverage and other organisational concerns in 2020, the Giro Rosa — as it was known — was demoted to the 2.ProSeries level for 2021. 

This year, the new organiser, PMG Sports, has stated its intention to improve the race, with PMG founder and Giro d'Italia Donne General Director, Roberto Ruini stating: "When in February of this year we chose to take on this three-year project, shared with FCI, our mission was exactly to bring the Giro back into the Women's WorldTour. After this choice by UCI, we will always continue to give our best, both in terms of organization and production and of media distribution."

Part of the event's commitment to improvements included offering better prize money to riders. In a separate statement, Ruini stated that oranisers doubled the prize money.

"We have decided to give value to the enhancement of women in sport, doubling all the prize money and offering high-level hospitality, as well as organizational and logistical standards appropriate for the top cycling series. With particular attention also to the issues of safety and environmental sustainability, thanks to the support of many sponsors and partners who enthusiastically joined the project."

This year, the Giro d'Italia Donne is offering €550 for a stage win, €972 for the prologue and €8,000 for the overall win. The second-placed rider will take home €3,000 and third place earns €1,500 in the overall standings. 

While these figures surpass both the UCI minimum standard for 2.ProSeries level races — which mandates a minimum of €550 per stage (€415 for prologues or half stages) and 20 per cent of the total cumulative prize money for all the stages, prologue included — and the 2020 prize pot, PMG has not doubled the total prize money from 2020.

However, should the race wish to return to Women's WorldTour status next year — as the organisation has already stated its intention to do — it must offer more prize money for stage wins. 

The UCI minimum for WWT stage wins in 2022 will be €735. The race is currently on the 2022 Women's WorldTour calendar, but the governing body stated in a press release in June that the Giro d'Italia Donne's return was contingent upon "the 2021 edition meeting the specifications for the series", which includes at least 45 minutes of live coverage among other minimum standards. 

Giro d’Italia Donne organiser has confirmed that it will provide a live television and streaming broadcast of the 10-day event. However, the only racing that fans can expect to see will be the last 15 kilometres of each stage as part of a broader 60-minute race package that includes podium ceremonies, interviews and analysis.

Giro d'Italia Donne 2021 - Prize list

(Image credit: PMG Sport / Giro d'Italia Donne 2021)