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Women's racing, etc

Old 02-08-12, 01:35 PM
  #26  
ridethecliche
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Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
rtc?
I can speak for myself, thanks.

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Old 02-08-12, 01:46 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
some of the most prolific posters might not even ride a bike.
It's me, It's me..........
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Old 02-08-12, 02:54 PM
  #28  
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and the OP doesn't bother to return (last signed on an hour ago) after realizing he has problems with making logical arguments.

i'm thankful that this thread hasn't turned for the worse. A lot of politics related stuff can be dragged in real quick... Maybe i should take it in that direction
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Old 02-08-12, 03:01 PM
  #29  
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I'm also female and read this forum regularly. I've learned a great deal for which I thank you all, but feel I don't have much to contribute at this stage. I would warrant that there are an awful lot of female lurkers in the 33 ... ( I mean a lot relative to the number of girls who ride bikes, of course)
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Old 02-08-12, 03:04 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
and the OP doesn't bother to return (last signed on an hour ago) after realizing he has problems with making logical arguments.

i'm thankful that this thread hasn't turned for the worse. A lot of politics related stuff can be dragged in real quick... Maybe i should take it in that direction
PM me your ideas, I'll threadjack it, I have very low moral fiber, people have too much respect for you...
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Old 02-08-12, 03:06 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by trigger View Post
I'm also female and read this forum regularly. I've learned a great deal for which I thank you all, but feel I don't have much to contribute at this stage. I would warrant that there are an awful lot of female lurkers in the 33 ... ( I mean a lot relative to the number of girls who ride bikes, of course)
Everyone is welcome in the 33 unless:
1. You wear your sunglasses inside you helmet straps
2. You train less than 15 hours a week
3. You weigh less than I do
4. You are Cat 6 or higher
5. But most importantly, you are Canadian - Bwahahahaha
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Old 02-08-12, 03:13 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
Everyone is welcome in the 33 unless:
1. You wear your sunglasses inside you helmet straps
2. You train less than 15 hours a week
3. You weigh less than I do
4. You are Cat 6 or higher
5. But most importantly, you are Canadian - Bwahahahaha

Hmmmm. Some of those things I can work on, other not so much ... I trust you'll be alright with that, eh?
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Old 02-08-12, 03:17 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by trigger View Post
Hmmmm. Some of those things I can work on, other not so much ... I trust you'll be alright with that, eh?
You sure can you know. Nothing like a little poutine while working on the ice shack at the back of the hoooose eh











BTW, I'm as well am from Canuckistan

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Old 02-08-12, 06:07 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
Should this go in the 217?

Anyway, the whole Pat McQuaid / Giorgia Bronzini / Chloe Hosking fracas...

I dunno, ladies. From my view it's just economics.

At the amateur level it's about entry fees and field sizes. Get more ladies to show up to races, you'll have bigger prize lists, and promoters will be more likely to listen to your ideas about courses and categories. As long as the Women Open field has fewer racers than the Junior 14's, you're going to have comparable prize lists.

At the pro level, it's about demographics and eyeballs. In this case, what sells? Personalities. Stories. Controversy, and (sad reality) sex sells. Sure, results, too.

But I don't buy into the line of argument offered by some lady racers that goes "we are pros so therefore we should get paid the same". By that logic, the $15k dreamer guy racing US domestic NRC should get paid the same as Boonen. That's just silly. You get paid based on your value to the sponsors. Want more money? Attract more positive attention to your brand(s).

Flame on.

http://thewomenspeloton.com/2012/01/...-are-speaking/
The implication (not just by you, also by Fat Boy and others) is that the unfavorable economics of women's pro cycling is the fault of women cyclists, for (among other things) not showing up in large numbers at races, not providing marketing value to sponsors, not racing an exciting way, etc. All of these factors need to be examined more closely.

For example, why is women's cycling, at the amateur level, so much different from men's cycling? Do ladies just intrinsically not enjoy racing bikes or doing other physical activity? The success of well-funded, supportive women's and girls' sports programs in sports like soccer and crew suggest that this isn't the problem and that many women riders (of whom there are a LOT) don't feel welcome or comfortable at races. This isn't the fault of promoters, usually.

What about that marketing issue? The UCI sure has put a lot of effort into continually developing men's pro cycling as a commercial enterprise, with the structure of the Pro Team system and all that, as well as a calendar that emphasizes the highest profile events. On the women's side... *crickets*. Women pros don't seem to be under the impression that the economics of cycling could support stars with the kinds of salaries that a Boonen or Gilbert pull down, but they do seem to be under the impression that the UCI has little interest in expanding or promoting their events. That impression seems like a pretty sensible one to me.

And of course, there's the racing, which as some have pointed out, is very different in character from the men's racing, tending toward more pack finishes and sprinting, less team impact on the races and more boring racing overall. What could contribute to this? Do women just suck at racing? I don't think so - for one thing, the UCI is operated by people immersed in old-world sexism of the don't-let-them-work-too-hard-or-their-uteruses-might-fall-out school. The women's Ronde is about 120 km. 120! The men's race, meanwhile, is over 250 km, as it must be in order to truly make a selection. There is no rational basis whatsoever for women's races to be less than half the distance of men's, and yet this the convention. Everyone takes it for granted. On top of that, team sizes are capped at, what, five? Make the men's Ronde 120 km with five-man teams, and I will guarantee you a boring race. This, frustratingly, is possibly the number one problem with women's racing, and it's the one almost no one is talking about. It's insulting, it's infantilizing and it condemns women's road cycling to permanent ghettoization as long as these conventions stand. The quality of the field in women's cycling is far too good for such crappy, short races.

For comparison, look at women's rowing, marathoning or triathlon. Relative to the men's side of the sport, they get a lot more attention than women's cycling, and the athletes are far more respected, and the fact that they are competing in the same distances is not just coincidence. The level of participation by women in races is also much higher, and again, it's not just some weird coincidence. Sexism isn't going away in the immediate future, and as a result women athletes in these sports still do not receive the attention and respect that they deserve, but it's clear that it is within the power of the sport's governing body (and bodies, at the national and local level) to take steps to make cycling look more like these sports with respect to participation by women. The UCI has elected to pretend that there's nothing they can do, and that's what's pissing people off.
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Old 02-08-12, 06:54 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
For example, why is women's cycling, at the amateur level, so much different from men's cycling? Do ladies just intrinsically not enjoy racing bikes or doing other physical activity? The success of well-funded, supportive women's and girls' sports programs in sports like soccer and crew suggest that this isn't the problem and that many women riders (of whom there are a LOT) don't feel welcome or comfortable at races. This isn't the fault of promoters, usually.
As you said, show up to a try-athlon. What's the gender ratio? Show up to a running race. What's the gender ratio? Both are endurance sports, no?

What could be different about cycling that neither of the former two have? Oh, i donno, maybe the fact that there's a higher probability of getting crashed out? The perceived danger of the sport cannot be discounted, and it looms especially large for beginners. We all rationalize our way out of it so we can race, but i think it was found that in general, women are more risk averse, and there's absolutely nothing more risky that getting carted onto an ambulance and into an ER room.

Originally Posted by grolby View Post

What about that marketing issue? The UCI sure has put a lot of effort into continually developing men's pro cycling as a commercial enterprise, with the structure of the Pro Team system and all that, as well as a calendar that emphasizes the highest profile events. On the women's side... *crickets*. Women pros don't seem to be under the impression that the economics of cycling could support stars with the kinds of salaries that a Boonen or Gilbert pull down, but they do seem to be under the impression that the UCI has little interest in expanding or promoting their events. That impression seems like a pretty sensible one to me.
you ever wonder why the purses at NRC races are larger than purses at most European races? Mind you, the primary participants of male NRC events are continental teams, aka third division. You think the more entrenched gender views in Europe might have something to do with it?

What about WNBA, women's soccer, and other sports? You see any women's sport flourishing on their own without the athlete exposing a lot of skin?

Fat Pat may indeed be a d!*k, and his decision to expand cycling to China, among other choices, are inexplicably bad. That said, a broken clock is correct twice a day, and the market for watching women's races isn't that large.

Here's the women's version of RvV. Start in 3:38. What climb do you think that is? Hint, it's the last kasseien hellingen of the race.
How about now? Looks familiar?

Now fast forward to 4:08 of the women's race and note the number of spectators on the left of your screen.

Here's what it looked like in the men's race

mind you, this was "rigged" as the women's event took place before the men's event, and some of the spectators at the women's event probably wouldn't have gone if the two events were not held so close together.
Originally Posted by grolby View Post

And of course, there's the racing, which as some have pointed out, is very different in character from the men's racing, tending toward more pack finishes and sprinting, less team impact on the races and more boring racing overall.
donno who previously said it was different as far as the racing is concerned, but look above for counter example. Or, read about last week's Tour of Qatar Feminine

Originally Posted by grolby View Post
What could contribute to this? Do women just suck at racing? I don't think so - for one thing, the UCI is operated by people immersed in old-world sexism of the don't-let-them-work-too-hard-or-their-uteruses-might-fall-out school. The women's Ronde is about 120 km. 120! The men's race, meanwhile, is over 250 km, as it must be in order to truly make a selection.
I hope you set up a trap to catch a few crows. I'll be kind enough to give you a few pots of boiling water. Here, even better, i'll cook it for you Ortolan style
Originally Posted by grolby View Post
There is no rational basis whatsoever for women's races to be less than half the distance of men's, and yet this the convention. Everyone takes it for granted. On top of that, team sizes are capped at, what, five? Make the men's Ronde 120 km with five-man teams, and I will guarantee you a boring race. This, frustratingly, is possibly the number one problem with women's racing, and it's the one almost no one is talking about. It's insulting, it's infantilizing and it condemns women's road cycling to permanent ghettoization as long as these conventions stand. The quality of the field in women's cycling is far too good for such crappy, short races.
How about: what people want isn't necessarily what you think is most progressive, and cycling is probably one of the least progressive sports out there given the majority of the fanbase is located in a few, Catholic, European countries. Just like you can't change de facto racism such as white flight by brute force, you can't change de facto sexism by fiat. Slow, incremental changes go a long way, but it sure ain't gonna be pretty for the pioneers.

In this sense, it's laudable that many of the major classics now have a feminine version taking place a few hours before the men's race. People camp out on the Muur hours before the men's race starts, and there are actually quite a few spectators on the Muur for the women's race. Who knows, maybe in a few years people will think it's interesting enough that more will come out, watch, and care about the women's race. In that light, it would be wiser for Fat Pat to spend more money to include feminine versions of the classics (women's MSR was cancelled) rather than planning to start pro-tour races in China or Russia.

PS. For someone who claims to care about women's cycling, you apparently didn't care enough to look up the results of the past women's RvV or the World Championships. Same goes with the op. Do all of you who just bs your way through the internet thinking no one will fact check? Are you just trolling or are you just that sloppy when it comes to argumentative persuasion?

PPS. Here's what Hoskings actually said. In case someone's reading comprehension is impaired, she is lobbying for minimum salary. No where does equal pay come up.

To say at the biggest sporting event for women's cycling that we haven't progressed enough to have a minimum salary - how do we progress if we all have to still work and we can't support ourselves.
PPPS. I normally suffer fools on the internet b/c it's just not worth the time, but something happened today that's really pissing me off, alas...

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Old 02-08-12, 07:01 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
The women's Ronde is about 120 km. 120! The men's race, meanwhile, is over 250 km, as it must be in order to truly make a selection. There is no rational basis whatsoever for women's races to be less than half the distance of men's, and yet this the convention. Everyone takes it for granted. On top of that, team sizes are capped at, what, five? Make the men's Ronde 120 km with five-man teams, and I will guarantee you a boring race. This, frustratingly, is possibly the number one problem with women's racing, and it's the one almost no one is talking about. It's insulting, it's infantilizing and it condemns women's road cycling to permanent ghettoization as long as these conventions stand.
As a woman who is kind of bored of women's racing, I think this could be worth exploring / considering.
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Old 02-08-12, 07:22 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
Take a look at the Presbyterian Hospital Crit last year.
Women's purse: $25,000
Men's Purse: $50,000
Starters in ladies race: ~60
Starters in mens' race: ~120

Ladies distance: 25 miles
Mens distance: 50 miles

Just the facts. If you look at most of the NRC or higher class races they all look about the same.
Chicken, or egg?

Originally Posted by grolby View Post
The implication (not just by you, also by Fat Boy and others) is that the unfavorable economics of women's pro cycling is the fault of women cyclists, for (among other things) not showing up in large numbers at races, not providing marketing value to sponsors, not racing an exciting way, etc. All of these factors need to be examined more closely.

For example, why is women's cycling, at the amateur level, so much different from men's cycling? Do ladies just intrinsically not enjoy racing bikes or doing other physical activity? The success of well-funded, supportive women's and girls' sports programs in sports like soccer and crew suggest that this isn't the problem and that many women riders (of whom there are a LOT) don't feel welcome or comfortable at races. This isn't the fault of promoters, usually.

What about that marketing issue? The UCI sure has put a lot of effort into continually developing men's pro cycling as a commercial enterprise, with the structure of the Pro Team system and all that, as well as a calendar that emphasizes the highest profile events. On the women's side... *crickets*. Women pros don't seem to be under the impression that the economics of cycling could support stars with the kinds of salaries that a Boonen or Gilbert pull down, but they do seem to be under the impression that the UCI has little interest in expanding or promoting their events. That impression seems like a pretty sensible one to me.

And of course, there's the racing, which as some have pointed out, is very different in character from the men's racing, tending toward more pack finishes and sprinting, less team impact on the races and more boring racing overall. What could contribute to this? Do women just suck at racing? I don't think so - for one thing, the UCI is operated by people immersed in old-world sexism of the don't-let-them-work-too-hard-or-their-uteruses-might-fall-out school. The women's Ronde is about 120 km. 120! The men's race, meanwhile, is over 250 km, as it must be in order to truly make a selection. There is no rational basis whatsoever for women's races to be less than half the distance of men's, and yet this the convention. Everyone takes it for granted. On top of that, team sizes are capped at, what, five? Make the men's Ronde 120 km with five-man teams, and I will guarantee you a boring race. This, frustratingly, is possibly the number one problem with women's racing, and it's the one almost no one is talking about. It's insulting, it's infantilizing and it condemns women's road cycling to permanent ghettoization as long as these conventions stand. The quality of the field in women's cycling is far too good for such crappy, short races.

For comparison, look at women's rowing, marathoning or triathlon. Relative to the men's side of the sport, they get a lot more attention than women's cycling, and the athletes are far more respected, and the fact that they are competing in the same distances is not just coincidence. The level of participation by women in races is also much higher, and again, it's not just some weird coincidence. Sexism isn't going away in the immediate future, and as a result women athletes in these sports still do not receive the attention and respect that they deserve, but it's clear that it is within the power of the sport's governing body (and bodies, at the national and local level) to take steps to make cycling look more like these sports with respect to participation by women. The UCI has elected to pretend that there's nothing they can do, and that's what's pissing people off.
Whoop there it is.
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Old 02-08-12, 11:30 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
The implication (not just by you, also by Fat Boy and others) is that the unfavorable economics of women's pro cycling is the fault of women cyclists, for (among other things) not showing up in large numbers at races, not providing marketing value to sponsors, not racing an exciting way, etc. All of these factors need to be examined more closely.
I did not make this statement by implication or any other manner. Primarily I didn't make it, because I don't think it. The racing itself is a secondary matter and who gives a damn who should have the blame. My statements is strictly an economic one. Women's racing does not generate the marketing dollars that men's racing does. Full stop. No other statement needed.

Generate the marketing dollars through whatever means necessary. I don't know what that is. It might be changes to the racing, it might be something completely different. Certainly Danica Patrick has not made Indycar racing any better, but she's put asses in the seats and (more importantly) in front of TV's. That's why she's making the money she is. Simona De Silvestro (who?) is another female Indycar driver. She's faster than Danica and a hell of a lot nicer person. She doesn't create the controversy and attention that Danica does, though, and she's not making 1/10th what Danica does, probably not 1/20th. It has _nothing_ to do with what happens on the track.

Danica is off to NASCAR world this year. Now you're going to see a real marketing machine in action.
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Old 02-09-12, 07:31 AM
  #39  
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I got my wife racing a couple of years ago. She is now on a local women's team and tries to get out to as many races as possible.

That said, she is generally disappointed with the amateur racing scene. There are rarely enough women to justify separating the 4s from the pro,1,2,3s - meaning the minute upgrading from a 4 is like going straight to a 1, because that is who she would be racing against. And despite her efforts, few of the women she knows want to race. Why? I don't know.

It's gotten to the point that frequently promoters don't even include a women's race because they can't justify an entire race - and payout - for just 8-10 women.

As for the pros, look at how much WNBA players make compared to NBA players. It's an apt comparison for cycling.
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Old 02-09-12, 08:19 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Chicken, or egg?
Both, scrambled.
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Old 02-09-12, 08:55 AM
  #41  
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It's a tough thing, promoting women's racing. I think ultimately it comes down to forcing the issue, i.e. forcing the rules to change.

I was watching a race DVD from a few years ago, early season classic (Het Volk maybe). Phil/Paul were commenting on this "new ProTour thing, we'll see how it goes". Poeple got dragged kicking and screaming into the ProTour and now look, it's here. Guaranteed salaries? Who'd ever heard of that before? You could hear the skepticism in their voices, like the ProTour would all be gone by May.

A long time ago I had a long talk with a soigneur of the Mercury cycling team - she was trapped in the feeding zone and was being a very polite PR person, talking to an inquisitive spectator (because that's all I was by that point of the race). She happened to be the wife of one of the riders, and she was working primarily to support her husband's efforts on the team. She said the lower end guys get about $7k a year to race - and this was on one of the big domestic pro teams, if not one of the biggest. The guys would ask for a few extra boxes of PowerBars a month so they could sell them to friends and such.

(I'm guessing that $7k would be a decent amount for a domestic pro racer now. And to put it in perspective, the Women's World Champion one year was almost unsigned because she wanted $21k a year. I was thinking that our bike shop should just pay her - imagine the publicity!)

If women's pro racing were forced to move into the 21st century, it could work. Establish set of races for women, certain minimum exposure on TV (like if someone signs to do the RvV, they have to show the women's race too, and not just pretty faces for the interviews), and some kinds of standards for televising (like if it's really poorly done, aka Tour of CA that one year, then no one will want to watch it even if were Boonen or whoever).

If the rules are there and enforced, the teams will follow. The money will come from somewhere. Maybe it'll be smaller for a year or three, but it'll revive.
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Old 02-09-12, 09:25 AM
  #42  
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Okay, let's address a couple of these issues.

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
As you said, show up to a try-athlon. What's the gender ratio? Show up to a running race. What's the gender ratio? Both are endurance sports, no?

What could be different about cycling that neither of the former two have? Oh, i donno, maybe the fact that there's a higher probability of getting crashed out? The perceived danger of the sport cannot be discounted, and it looms especially large for beginners. We all rationalize our way out of it so we can race, but i think it was found that in general, women are more risk averse, and there's absolutely nothing more risky that getting carted onto an ambulance and into an ER room.
I see. Let's just assume for now that women are naturalistically more risk-averse than men and run with that - can the differences in attendance by women by explained by the relative levels of risk? That's a research project of its own, but it seems pretty unlikely to me.

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
you ever wonder why the purses at NRC races are larger than purses at most European races? Mind you, the primary participants of male NRC events are continental teams, aka third division. You think the more entrenched gender views in Europe might have something to do with it?

What about WNBA, women's soccer, and other sports? You see any women's sport flourishing on their own without the athlete exposing a lot of skin?

Fat Pat may indeed be a d!*k, and his decision to expand cycling to China, among other choices, are inexplicably bad. That said, a broken clock is correct twice a day, and the market for watching women's races isn't that large.
In order by paragraph: duh, duh, and duh. I am well aware of the issue of entrenched sexism, this is the first part of the point that I am making. But the second part is that these entrenched issues are not resolved by saying "Ho hum, there's no market for that, we can't do anything about it." Not to put too fine a point on it, but the suffragists did not say "Gosh, most people just don't want women to be able to vote, we'll just have to make slow incremental changes." They fought for a change in the U.S. Constitution. Later, the gains made by the second wave of feminists for women's equality in the 1960's and 1970's was not made by people sitting around and saying "We'll settle for incremental change, since there's not much support for full employment and financial independence for women." They demanded it. The strength of women's crew in the United States today is owed almost entirely to Title IX - one of the great success stories of social-change legislation.

The point being that saying "The culture isn't there yet," is not acceptable. The UCI and other governing bodies could take steps, even small ones, to make some change in that culture. They choose not to.

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
How about: what people want isn't necessarily what you think is most progressive, and cycling is probably one of the least progressive sports out there given the majority of the fanbase is located in a few, Catholic, European countries. Just like you can't change de facto racism such as white flight by brute force, you can't change de facto sexism by fiat. Slow, incremental changes go a long way, but it sure ain't gonna be pretty for the pioneers.
As above, I am unimpressed by these arguments. I am well aware of the cultural obstacles. To argue that there are cultural obstacles, oh well, isn't good enough. I am not saying that there's any way that the UCI can, by fiat, make a huge fanbase for women's pro racing suddenly appear, or guarantee women pros the same kind of income that the men get, or have races that are as big and important. This is fracking obvious to everyone. But there is certainly more that could be done to support and promote the growth of women's cycling by the UCI. The only rationale I can see behind the arguments you are making is that you think you are doing the maximum. And yet:

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
In this sense, it's laudable that many of the major classics now have a feminine version taking place a few hours before the men's race. People camp out on the Muur hours before the men's race starts, and there are actually quite a few spectators on the Muur for the women's race. Who knows, maybe in a few years people will think it's interesting enough that more will come out, watch, and care about the women's race. In that light, it would be wiser for Fat Pat to spend more money to include feminine versions of the classics (women's MSR was cancelled) rather than planning to start pro-tour races in China or Russia.
It's almost like you also think that the UCI could be doing more than it is. I'm inclined to wonder if you bothered trying to understand the points I was making. Instead, it seems that you decided that I was saying something else, got really pissed off about it and decided to argue against the points that I wasn't making.

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
PS. For someone who claims to care about women's cycling, you apparently didn't care enough to look up the results of the past women's RvV or the World Championships. Same goes with the op. Do all of you who just bs your way through the internet thinking no one will fact check? Are you just trolling or are you just that sloppy when it comes to argumentative persuasion?
I wasn't aware that citing the podiums of these races were relevant to the points I was making. What exactly are you trying to prove? I will fully admit to being part of the problem, but let's back up a minute - what opportunity do I have, here in the United States, to support women's European pro cycling in a tangible way? None of these races are broadcast on any American television network except for the Olympic road and track races, which I DO watch, for your information. Because it's actually made available to me! Getting into women's racing is made harder by the lack of readily available coverage. I do in fact follow what I can. I of course remember Nicole Cooke's WC win in 2008, especially as she is the only cyclist ever to have won the Olympic and World Championship road races in the same year. I recalled Bronzini as having followed Cooke, and in fact twice; however I had forgot about Guderzo in-between. What a pissing contest in "who's followed more women's pro cycling" is supposed to prove about the actual arguments made, though, is beyond me; it's a red herring.

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
PPS. Here's what Hoskings actually said. In case someone's reading comprehension is impaired, she is lobbying for minimum salary. No where does equal pay come up.
Again, I am well aware that she was not demanding equal pay, and I have not argued at any point that the UCI could or should guarantee it.

Originally Posted by echappist View Post
PPPS. I normally suffer fools on the internet b/c it's just not worth the time, but something happened today that's really pissing me off, alas...
That's a poor excuse.
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Old 02-09-12, 09:32 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
I got my wife racing a couple of years ago. She is now on a local women's team and tries to get out to as many races as possible.

That said, she is generally disappointed with the amateur racing scene. There are rarely enough women to justify separating the 4s from the pro,1,2,3s - meaning the minute upgrading from a 4 is like going straight to a 1, because that is who she would be racing against. And despite her efforts, few of the women she knows want to race. Why? I don't know.

It's gotten to the point that frequently promoters don't even include a women's race because they can't justify an entire race - and payout - for just 8-10 women.

As for the pros, look at how much WNBA players make compared to NBA players. It's an apt comparison for cycling.
I neglected to make this point, so thank you. Small field sizes make for a vicious spiral that is hard to open up, on top of everything else.

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
It's a tough thing, promoting women's racing. I think ultimately it comes down to forcing the issue, i.e. forcing the rules to change.

I was watching a race DVD from a few years ago, early season classic (Het Volk maybe). Phil/Paul were commenting on this "new ProTour thing, we'll see how it goes". Poeple got dragged kicking and screaming into the ProTour and now look, it's here. Guaranteed salaries? Who'd ever heard of that before? You could hear the skepticism in their voices, like the ProTour would all be gone by May.

A long time ago I had a long talk with a soigneur of the Mercury cycling team - she was trapped in the feeding zone and was being a very polite PR person, talking to an inquisitive spectator (because that's all I was by that point of the race). She happened to be the wife of one of the riders, and she was working primarily to support her husband's efforts on the team. She said the lower end guys get about $7k a year to race - and this was on one of the big domestic pro teams, if not one of the biggest. The guys would ask for a few extra boxes of PowerBars a month so they could sell them to friends and such.

(I'm guessing that $7k would be a decent amount for a domestic pro racer now. And to put it in perspective, the Women's World Champion one year was almost unsigned because she wanted $21k a year. I was thinking that our bike shop should just pay her - imagine the publicity!)

If women's pro racing were forced to move into the 21st century, it could work. Establish set of races for women, certain minimum exposure on TV (like if someone signs to do the RvV, they have to show the women's race too, and not just pretty faces for the interviews), and some kinds of standards for televising (like if it's really poorly done, aka Tour of CA that one year, then no one will want to watch it even if were Boonen or whoever).

If the rules are there and enforced, the teams will follow. The money will come from somewhere. Maybe it'll be smaller for a year or three, but it'll revive.
Yes, this. The only way to make change is to force it. There are undoubtedly limits on what can be done, but this is the only way progress has ever been made.

Another quick thought on this: Pro Teams are required to have U23 development squads. They are NOT required to have women's teams. What's up with that? U23 Men's racing is not some hugely profitable commercial enterprise (thereby destroying the argument that the obstacles are merely commercial), yet the UCI is leaning hard on teams to be a part of growing it. This has obvious long-term benefits for the teams themselves, of course. But there is no good justification that I can see not to require women's teams as well. The long-term benefits for women's racing of such an arrangement should be obvious.
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Old 02-09-12, 09:37 AM
  #44  
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somebody who feels strongly about it should put the time and money into developing women's racing. as it stands there's barely interest in mens' racing
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Old 02-09-12, 11:00 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
somebody who feels strongly about it should put the time and money into developing women's racing. as it stands there's barely interest in mens' racing
Originally Posted by grolby View Post
Yes, this. The only way to make change is to force it. There are undoubtedly limits on what can be done, but this is the only way progress has ever been made.

Another quick thought on this: Pro Teams are required to have U23 development squads. They are NOT required to have women's teams. What's up with that? U23 Men's racing is not some hugely profitable commercial enterprise (thereby destroying the argument that the obstacles are merely commercial), yet the UCI is leaning hard on teams to be a part of growing it. This has obvious long-term benefits for the teams themselves, of course. But there is no good justification that I can see not to require women's teams as well. The long-term benefits for women's racing of such an arrangement should be obvious.
Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
It's a tough thing, promoting women's racing. I think ultimately it comes down to forcing the issue, i.e. forcing the rules to change.

I was watching a race DVD from a few years ago, early season classic (Het Volk maybe). Phil/Paul were commenting on this "new ProTour thing, we'll see how it goes".....You could hear the skepticism in their voices, like the ProTour would all be gone by May.



If women's pro racing were forced to move into the 21st century, it could work. Establish set of races for women, certain minimum exposure on TV (like if someone signs to do the RvV, they have to show the women's race too, and not just pretty faces for the interviews), and some kinds of standards for televising (like if it's really poorly done, aka Tour of CA that one year, then no one will want to watch it even if were Boonen or whoever).

If the rules are there and enforced, the teams will follow. The money will come from somewhere. Maybe it'll be smaller for a year or three, but it'll revive.

OK, so here we go. We need to make a women's Pro Tour. We need to have television representation and we need a decent televising. I agree that all these things are necessary.

So who is going to form the sanctioning body around it? Who is going to pony up the money for the TV time and production? Who is going to run the show? You could say UCI, but they haven't shown the will to do this, for whatever reason (economic, social, sexist jerks, whatever). The teams don't complain about running U23 teams. That's their training ground for new riders. I can tell you that no one is getting rich from U23 racing, that's for damned sure. For the big teams, it's just the cost of doing business. Running a women's team does not have the athlete investment portion of it that you find in the U23 teams. Not that this is a huge stumbling block, but it has to be considered.

Ultimately, to make this work it comes down to money. You need investors. You need people willing to run the organization. If you want to make it happen, more power to you and good luck. If you do a good job of it I will watch, as will a bunch of other people. It takes someone to really put a lot on the line, though. It's not a deal for the faint of heart.
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Old 02-09-12, 12:18 PM
  #46  
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I haven't read all the arguments because frankly some of them sounded a bit mysogynistic.

But this morning I asked my friend who was the manager and DS for the Webcor women's team (which was a domestic and international team).

She said that the minimum wage would drive smaller teams out of the pro ranks. The larger teams are already paying that, more or less, but the smaller ones are not.

She said that what's needed to boost women's pro racing is to 1) have more races. There aren't many. Requiring race promoters to put on a women's race along with the mens would help (they already have the road closure etc up, it just takes more officials). She said that she often got calls from sponsors asking how the women's team was going to handle say the Tour of California, only to have to tell them that the women just get one 45 minute crit. 2) would be to have more women's racing on tv. Require (or incent or whatever) some mininum amount of coverage, more than showing a woman crossing the line with her arms in the air. 3) is to require mens pro teams to spend 5% of their budget on the womens team. She said that'd quadruple the typical woman pros salary (not the top riders, they're the only ones making anything reasonable, but everyone else).

I think that the market needs to be there to get the sponsors to pony up the money. The market comes from having races and getting media coverage of them. if there's a market and there's more sponsor support then more women will be racing so the quality of the racing will improve. Not that I am buying the argument that womens racing is boring- the few I've see in person or televised have not been boring to me.
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Old 02-09-12, 12:18 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
Ultimately, to make this work it comes down to money. You need investors. You need people willing to run the organization. If you want to make it happen, more power to you and good luck. If you do a good job of it I will watch, as will a bunch of other people. It takes someone to really put a lot on the line, though. It's not a deal for the faint of heart.
This doesn't work when you try to debate with someone who's taken too many Women & Gender Studies classes and lost out on economical common sense in the process.
----------
i'll give you that my first point is a casual observation backed up by only casual observation somewhere else, but for the rest
Originally Posted by grolby View Post
In order by paragraph: duh, duh, and duh. I am well aware of the issue of entrenched sexism, this is the first part of the point that I am making. But the second part is that these entrenched issues are not resolved by saying "Ho hum, there's no market for that, we can't do anything about it." Not to put too fine a point on it, but the suffragists did not say "Gosh, most people just don't want women to be able to vote, we'll just have to make slow incremental changes." snip
Did you really just compare the right to earn a living while providing a service that most would consider tertiary if not quartenary to fundamental civil rights such as voting?

Here, let's categorize a few things. There are unalienable civil rights (such as voting, right to property). There is the right of pursuit of happiness (i.e. no artificial barriers such as quotas and glass ceilings). Then there's is the equal pay for professions in which the gender of the worker has no discernible difference: doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc.

Cycling, sports in general, and anything in which people make money based off of their physique and physical abilities is inherently unequal as far as gender's concerned. If it were, then everyone should just race together. Hell, why do you think the Victoria's Secret models are more well known and get paid more than male underwear models? Obviously, those were rhetorical points, but how do you convince people whom you view "unenlightened" (and i'll even agree with you on that) that there's even a place for it when you yourself don't want to make the point for equal pay, implying the inherent inequality? Cycling is dependent on sponsorship, and sponsorship is dependent on viewership. You can do everything you do forcing the management to chip in more, but if you can't increase viewership as well, it's doomed economically. You seem to have problem understanding that de facto discrimination can't be solved de jure.

Which part of the MLS barely scrapping by while the original women's soccer league folded after a year is hard to understand? Mind you the women's league was at a much higher level (all world class) compared to the AAA-league (if that) that MLS is.

I wasn't aware that citing the podiums of these races were relevant to the points I was making. What exactly are you trying to prove?
you said the women's races were boring and always ended in sprints, and that they were too short to have any action going on, with the implication that there would be no viewers as a result. I provided you with more than one counter example.

I said i deplore the fact that UCI decides to spend money and spread cycling to China instead of investing it in women's racing, and you seem to have ignored it. I said that it's a good idea to have the women's races come a few hours before the men's races to increase exposure, and you ignored that all the while you say incremental changes are important. You seem to have willfully decided not to fact check and hope that no one calls you out on your bs. In debate, this is called chipping away at your credibility, or logos if you will

these are your words, not mine

Originally Posted by grolby View Post
And of course, there's the racing, which as some have pointed out, is very different in character from the men's racing, tending toward more pack finishes and sprinting, less team impact on the races and more boring racing overall. What could contribute to this? Do women just suck at racing? I don't think so - for one thing, the UCI is operated by people immersed in old-world sexism of the don't-let-them-work-too-hard-or-their-uteruses-might-fall-out school. The women's Ronde is about 120 km. 120! The men's race, meanwhile, is over 250 km, as it must be in order to truly make a selection. There is no rational basis whatsoever for women's races to be less than half the distance of men's, and yet this the convention. Everyone takes it for granted. On top of that, team sizes are capped at, what, five? Make the men's Ronde 120 km with five-man teams, and I will guarantee you a boring race.
with all that said, i don't think it's a bad idea to try to make the Pro Tour teams have an affiliated women's team, as you suggested. But don't get pissed and cry about it should such a venture not work out for the teams and a few of them have to close down the women's team. As pointed out by numerous posters, many pro tour teams are scraping by as is.

Again, I am well aware that she was not demanding equal pay, and I have not argued at any point that the UCI could or should guarantee it.
reading comp fail. that was directed at the OP, not you
That's a poor excuse.
for what? this is one of the few times i care enough to correct something anyone said b/c i need to vent a bit. Now i've wasted quite a few hours and realized what a folly i made. No, you don't get to jump on my self-deprecating remark.

--------

With all that said, racing at amateur levels is a much different dynamic, and I think activities such as training races and such could really help to boost the popularity of the sport amongst female athletes.
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Old 02-09-12, 12:39 PM
  #48  
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From a promoter blog about a Southern CA crit recently:

Re-cap of January 22nd Crit:Biggest field: 50+, 86 racers
Smallest field: W1-3, 22 racers
Other fields: 5 (50), 4(60), 3(53), P/1/2(50),
30+4/5(75), 55/60(66), W3/4(27), 45(75), 35(85).
As a businessman, it looks like I can replace the Elite Women (22 boots on the ground) with a 40+ 4/5 (75 boots). I can also give the P/1/2 prizelist (50 boots) to the 50+ (86 boots). The top-3 categories for the BAR Series are the 50+, 35+ and a 2-way tie for 3rd (30+ 4/5 and 45+). In case January was a fluke, I'm looking for repeats (good or bad) in our February crit.

Grolby, this is reality.
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Old 02-09-12, 01:17 PM
  #49  
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This whole argument is specious simply because you are comparing apples and oranges. Basing how pros are handled by using metrics from amateur fields is mostly meaningless. And BTW, if you don't see teamwork in an NRC women's crit, you're not paying attention to the right things.
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Old 02-09-12, 01:26 PM
  #50  
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Why not make women's pro cycling the test-bed for new ideas and initiatives. Race radios, 4-day stage races, equipment, smaller team, bigger teams, weird TTTs, etc. The UCI want to try some of this stuff and the rider's reps and/or sponsors want to see some of this stuff. Maybe that provides a little more incentive? If the ladies aren't doing the full routes of the men's races then it's not like you're taking away the "equality".
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