The Cyclists’ Alliance (TCA) rider union has released more findings from its 2023 rider survey. The TCA collates answers given anonymously by its members to try and identify areas for improvement in the women’s peloton and areas that might go under the radar but are a big concern for all involved. The last release about the rider survey came last month.
The UCI’s announcement on August 2nd mentioned the creation of a UCI ProTeam level for women in 2025 and integrating stakeholders of women’s professional road cycling into the Professional Cycling Council (PCC). As a result, women, for the first time will have a direct voice on the PCC as the sport begins to professionalise more and more. However, professionalisation also goes beyond salaries and contracts to cover areas like working conditions, staff qualifications, daily team environment, equipment, and race calendar organisation.
In February 2023, TCA’s Rider Council strongly supported the potential creation of a “Pro Continental” division in women’s cycling. Lead representative Ellen van Dijk stated that Women’s World Tour teams should aim for higher standards to support the growth of women’s cycling.
TCA’s 2023 survey revealed that further professionalisation is still needed. For instance, 29% of respondents felt their team wasn’t run professionally, and only 45% said their team provided opportunities to improve race performance. The survey also showed increasing safety concerns among riders, including poor concussion management and insufficient professionalism from staff.
The TCA offers professional support services to its members. This year’s survey identified that the most popular services for members of the TCA are legal advice, free contract review, and salary guidance. The 2023 survey revealed more professional female cyclists are using direct support when finding and negotiating contracts, but many still seek TCA’s advice.
TCA successfully helped riders involved in the Zaaf continental team case terminate their contracts earlier this year and hopes increased professionalisation will prevent similar cases. TCA and its Rider Council hope to be part of future Professional Cycling Council discussions, aiming for lasting positive change in women’s cycling. They offer their assistance to the UCI to build a positive, long-term relationship benefiting the women’s peloton. Currently, the UCI and its own union the CPA Women tend to gatekeep the discussions around women’s cycling. This olive branch from the TCA is an attempt to join up all of the rider unions into a collective voice for the women’s peloton.
The full 2023 annual survey report is due to be released in September 2023.