UCI president Brian Cookson has said that he remains committed to introducing a minimum wage in women's cycling but he estimates that it might take another two to three years before the measure is introduced.
"I am very keen on having a minimum wage for women: it's something that I promised to do," Cookson told Cyclingnews in a recent video interview. "What I've had to do as a result of the advice that I've received from the women's commission is to put that on hold temporarily while we develop and evolve women's road racing."
The immediate priority for the UCI, Cookson explained, is developing the existing infrastructure and economy of women's cycling by expanding the calendar of top-level racing.
"I think we're moving towards something like a WorldTour for women within the next two or three years," he said. "Within that period I think we'll be in a position to establish a minimum wage for women on professional teams."
Cookson added that he felt introducing a minimum wage with immediate effect would prove counter-productive and that it would first be necessary to categorise women's professional teams into distinct division similar to the men's system.
"If you passed a rule that said there must be a minimum wage for UCI women's teams that wouldn't have the desired effect of having a few hundred women paid the minimum wage: it would have the effect of reducing and destroying the number of teams," he said. "It's not as simple as passing a rule that there shall be a minimum wage."
Cookson pointed to the investment in television coverage of the World Cup as one of the progressions made in women's cycling during his first year of his presidency, as well as the establishment of new races such as La Course and the Women's Tour of Britain.
"It shows that women's events don't always need to be secondary or subsidiary to men's events, they can stand on their own and be really successful," he said of the women's event.
Watch the video below to see Brian Cookson discuss his hopes for women's cycling. To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click here.
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