Skip to main content

Women's Tour de France, TV-time, safety and ethics concerns on the agenda for CPA Women

women's peloton
women's peloton (Image credit: Getty Images)

The CPA Women announced that it held two important meetings last week, the first with the UCI on December 15 to discuss a range of topics including riders safety, COVID-19 protocols, and parity within cycling, and the second with Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) on December 16 to discuss a future women's Tour de France.

ASO's marquee Tour de France has continued to thrive over a hundred years but the organisation has been criticised for not offering an official women's Tour de France since the original six editions held from 1984-1989.

UCI President David Lappartient confirmed this summer that ASO will launch a stage race for women in 2022, but he could not confirm the route, number of stages, or that it would be officially named as the women's Tour de France. ASO has said it will be impossible to hold the event in July at the same time as the men's Grand Tour, but speculation has pointed to an eight-day women's event held the week after the men's race.

CPA Women met with ASO to discuss the future women's stage race last Wednesday. According to Marion Clignet, assistant director at the women's association and head of the Association Française des Coureures Cyclistes (AFCC), a women's Tour de France with great media coverage will happen in 2022. In addition, ASO will begin their media campaign for the women's event next year.

Live television and broadcasting exposure was one of the main topics discussed between the CPA Women and ASO. CPA Women indicated that more media coverage for women's cycling would happen in 2021. ASO currently run one-day women's races La Flèche Wallonne, which was shown live on TV for the first time this year, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course and next year's inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix.

"The athletes asked for more media exposure, which is essential for the growth of the movement. The work of their representatives to win it is still in progress, but after the Wednesday meeting that CPA Women had with ASO, that organises top international women's races and is hard at work to restore and promote a new women's Tour de France from 2022, it can anticipate that there will be a wider TV coverage of women's races already in 2021," read a press release from CPA Women.

"Effectively during the men's TDF '21 there will already be publicity for the women's 2022 Tour introducing the riders and teams during each stage. ASO has proved proactive welcoming the CPA WOMEN's cooperation as added values to their women's cycling communication campaign."

Rider safety, ethical concerns, salaries

CPA Women opened its discussions at its meeting with the UCI with a range of important topics including Covid-19 protocols for next year, rider safety conditions, the promotion of diversity and integration, equal prize money and base salaries and working conditions, and creation of a simple procedure for riders to report abuse, according to a press release from the association.

The UCI announced earlier this month, a broad range of new safety measures that will be implemented in men’s and women’s road cycling 2021. The 14 key measures include the creation of safety managers at events, a database of incidents with which to draw on for targeted action, revised measures for organisers, drivers and TV crew, and improved security and barrier standards for the finals at events, which are all part of the package of measures that will be implemented ahead of next season.

"More discussions on these last topics are needed. We thank everyone in the CPA, UCI and ASO for their availability and the fruitful comparison. We have always believed that teamwork is the key to better protect and enhance the girls we represent with pride and passion» comments at the end of the meetings CPA Women's Managing Director Alessandra Cappellotto in a press release.

"A difficult year for everyone is about to end, in which we have worked hard and achieved important goals for women's cycling and the future generation of professional riders. CPA Women will always work with a spirit of collaboration, since the first day our motto has been: “teamwork makes the dream work," she said.

The CPA Women, an association that has a seat at the table during UCI meetings, has taken steps to work more effectively with The Cyclists' Alliance (TCA), a women's riders' association, on various topics that were presented to the UCI in the meeting last Tuesday.

TCA were not invited to attend the meeting regarding the women's cycling at the UCI, however, it provided the CPA Women with its questions and input regarding a range of important topics concerning women's cycling. 

"Whilst the TCA remained uninvited, we are appreciative of the CPA reaching out to us for input, and for offering to take our topics to the meeting. Cross stakeholder collaboration is important for progress in women's cycling," read a statement from TCA.

"We have recently carried out a Covid-19 survey, which has provided helpful feedback on the situation from the peloton. We hope the results will enhance the discussion around updating and enforcing the Covid-19 protocol in 2021. We also raised some questions around other important topics, such as safety, concerns around continental teams and salaries, and we set these out below:

Topics and questions submitted to the UCI by TCA

  • Will the UCI be publishing any suggestions or specific guidance as a roadmap for women’s cycling, containing any timelines or action point around increasing the availability of live tv coverage (as is required by the rules) and other aims for continuing to promote the women’s sport alongside and equal to mens cycling?
  • Has the UCI considered creating an independent, international organization on safe sports to directly handle issues concerning integrity and/or ethics? This is a particular area of concern for female riders. Does the UCI think that the UCI Ethics Commission has the capacity to deal with complaints, bearing in mind that. Besides that, the way of working and communicating is not sufficient for international law standards and we have found that the threshold to contact is too high for riders.
  • Please advise if there will be any prize money changes for the coming year, whether to guidance, structure, or payment.

Safety

  • How will the implementation of the suggested changes be monitored and reported on? For example, we note that a third party tool will be added for risk assessment purposes - will these be made public or provided to teams? For changes to really take effect, transparency around the action items and output is key. 
  • Will the UCI be publishing an update on these actions at the end of 2021?
  • Was the use of an independent third party to audit and monitor race safety considered? If so, please may you advise why this was not implemented as a suggestion?
  • When are the revised safety measures and regulations due to come into force, and will these be put to stakeholders for consultation?
  • Please confirm how a race will be cancelled or postponed in the event that any new safety measures are not met?

COVID-19 protocol

  • Will an updated protocol be published in 2021, taking into account any identified areas for improvement?
  • Will the UCI be implementing a vaccination requirement for riders and staff?
  • How does the UCI propose to assist those teams who struggle with the financial resources to meet the Covid Protocol requirements? For the protocol to work effectively, all teams racing in one event need to be taking the same measures. 
  • Will the results of any race safety assessments and protocol breaches by organisers or staff be published?

Continental teams

  • We think there should be a renewed focus and support provided to Continental Teams and that it would be helpful to form a one-time commission focused on the development of Continental teams. This committee could comprise riders,  Continental team managers and representatives of national federations. Is this something the UCI would consider? 
  • Please refer to the Appendix for some specific suggestions for Continental teams.

Salary

  • Will the UCI consider this wage disparity [between the highest and lowest paid riders], and the lack of salaries, as a focus point in order to enhance both the economic situation for riders and for women’s cycling on the whole?