The American race, the Tour of the Gila has announced that it will pay equal prize money for men and women in 2023. The long-running race now in it’s 36th year, this is the first time that the race organisation has been able to raise the money required to pay the women’s peloton higher than the UCI minimums for its race. The prize purse for both races sits at $35,350 for 2023 after donations allowed the women’s purse to be increase to the same level.
“We’ve been wanting to make this happen — and go above and beyond the UCI requirement — and now we’re finally able to do it. It’s been a Tour of the Gila goal from the race’s beginning. As new racers look to start their careers and more established competitors make the decision to continue each season, this type of support is generous, deserved, and embodies so many of the characteristics I love about the Tour of the Gila and the team that tirelessly works to put the race on every year.”Jack Brennan, Tour of the Gila race director
There are now only 2 UCI level stage races left in the US, a surprise when you think back to the former Tour of California that was a Men’s and Women’s WorldTour race. Major riders came over to America to take on the country’s best domestic riders on tough routes. Now though, there is only the Tour of the Gila and the Joe Martin Stage Race. One of the rules to be a UCI level race is the adherence to certain minimums for prize money which are currently set higher for men in the rulebook.The Joe Martin Stage Race was able to equalise it prize money in 2022 thanks to sponsorship from Walmart.
“The money is important, but by continuing and even accelerating Tour of the Gila’s tradition of supporting female athletes, this move affirms the value of women’s racing.”Mara Abbott
Prize money has been a contentious issue for a long time. With women cyclists always receiving much less than their male counterparts for the same race. The gap is closing but with live coverage considered the better option to show off a race, that has generally taken priority.
Last year’s Tour of the Gila was won by American Lauren de Crescenzo by exactly 1 minute ahead of Krista Doebel-Hickok.