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Tour de France women earned less than a third of men in prizes

The Tour de France Femmes was undoubtedly the highest profile stage race that the women's peloton has had in the modern era but when it comes to prize money, the earnings for women came nowhere close to what the men received.

Comparing the two races, both run by the Amaury Sport Organisation, is a challenge since the men have enjoyed a Tour de France for 109 editions while the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is new, making a return after 33 years. 

While the prize purse of €247,000 published on Tuesday was on par with that of the Giro d'Italia Donne, who touted a €250,000 purse, it was less than a 10th of the men's prize list, which totaled €2,257,000.

While Jonas Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma team raked in €779,750 during the Tour Hommes, Movistar and Tour Femmes winner Annemiek van Vleuten made €62,440.

There are plenty of caveats to consider - the men raced 21 days to the women's eight, there were 22 men's teams to the women's 24. But even when divided per stage, the men still earned €3.47 for every euro the women made.

It is just a start for the Tour de France Femmes if all goes well, the value of the race and the money it attracts will trickle down to the teams, building a deeper field and making professional cycling a more lucrative career for women.

The race is still in its infancy but the Tour de France Femmes branding and the thrilling racing has already captured the attention of fans. During the Tour Hommes, France Télévisions estimated a 4 million viewer audience in France per stage with a peak at 8.4 million for the Alpe d'Huez stage. The women's peaked at 3 million viewers per stage.

The Hommes gained an estimated 150 million television views of at least one minute, while the women got about 20 million eyeballs. Factor in the length of the race, the women's audience was 35% of the men's.

By some estimates, Cyclingnews readers paid more attention to the Tour Femmes than they did to the men's Giro d'Italia.

It is clear from these numbers that the women are giving more than their fair share of value to the ASO. Hopefully, that will translate into a richer prize purse for the coming editions.

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Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.