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Tour De Yorkshire: Race To Offer Bigger Prize To Women Amid Pay Gap Controversy

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23/03/2016 16:12 GMT | Updated 23/03/2016 16:19 GMT

Organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire are challenging the gender pay gap by offering the most lucrative prize to women at this years event. 

The prize money for the one-day race will comfortably exceed what is on offer to the men racing their three-day stage race over the same weekend, and will feature World Champion Lizzie Armitstead. 

The decision comes amid controversy over the amounts awarded to men and women in tennis after some male players claimed they deserve to be paid more.

Mike Egerton/PA Archive
Lizzie Armitstead will be competing for the prize money

 

A Tour de Yorkshire spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK that even if a male cyclist wins every stage of his race, he will earn less prize money than what the women's one-day race offers. 

This year's women's winner will receive £15,000 from a £50,000 prize fund. Last year's winner Louise Mahe received £1,000.

The organisers have not revealed the exact amount to be awarded to the men, but confirmed it would be less than set aside for the female competitors. 

The 135km ride from Otley to Doncaster takes place on Saturday, 30 April, with the second stage of the men's three-day race starting later on the same course.

"Today is a hugely significant milestone for women's racing," said Sir Gary Verity, Welcome to Yorkshire's chief executive.

Yorkshire-born Armitstead, who currently tops the women’s world rankings after a series of impressive wins in the season so far, said:

“The Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s race will be my first race in the UK in my World Champions jersey and it’s an absolute dream to be starting in my home town.”

Speaking of the sponsorship and reasons to support women’s racing, Andy Clarke, Asda President and CEO said:

“It’s a privilege to be supporting the Tour de Yorkshire women’s race and helping to raise the profile of women’s sports. In 2014 Asda was the official partner of the Tour Makers for the Yorkshire Grand Départ, which was a resounding success.

"We’re incredibly proud of our Yorkshire roots and wanted to remain part of this exciting legacy that works to bring communities together in celebration of an amazing sport set against the backdrop of an unbeatable county.”

Tour De Yorkshire
Lizzie Armitstead will be competing for the prize money

Tennis star Novak Djokovic caused a stir this week when he reacted to comments by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore, who said the women's game "rides on the coat-tails" of the men. 

The world number one responded to the comments and said:

"I think that our men's tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men's tennis matches.

"I think that's one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve."

Despite comments such as Djokovic's, cycling has a far worse record for gender inequality than tennis.

Leading female riders have been calling for better events and more exposure for years.

The men competing in the Dutch Tour of Flanders can take home a prize of £15,600, while the winner of the women's Tour of Flanders will be offered £957.

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