Three updates on the “riders treated badly” blog

I wrote about riders not being paid and being treated really badly by teams, and I have two three updates to make.  Firstly, people have rightly said these things also happen to men, especially young men, at entry-level and in Conti teams, and I don’t know about that, but I’ll believe it – it’s a cycling problem, I’m sure – but I so think there are layers of sexism that women face that the men don’t, and the fact there is only one layer of UCI teams for women mean that there isn’t an obvious pro level to escape to.

I don’t want to dismiss the shit young men go through, though – and of course I hope that the UCI will set up pathways to help everyone with team issues.

Secondly, some comments from Bridie O’Donnell:

UPDATE!  And a third (including it as an example of a pro’s experience, not for the nice words about me!)


4 thoughts on “Three updates on the “riders treated badly” blog

  1. Thanks for speaking up on this. It’s a difficult sport for young riders to break into, you practically have to have a “private sponsor” who covers your costs, off bike support and travel while you race for a pitifully small salary. Those sponsors are primarily male because, globally, men have more resources than women and can afford such generosity. That said, it is much, much, much harder for young women to overcome socially ingrained sex stereotypes to gain such sponsors – men have been socialized to not see women as highly competitive, hard training, dedicated athletes who are capable of excelling in their sport and thrilling spectators. They don’t see this. Many of them don’t want to see this. All of them are significantly less likely to invest in women athletes, even when they do see their strengths. Lack of support drives many promising women away.

    The number of women’s teams is significantly smaller than men, at all levels, from club teams to UCI Pro. Athletic girls do not have the same opportunities for youth teams, nor do they receive the same encouragement and support as boys on a coed team. Lack of opportunity prevents the growth of women’s cycling at every level of the sport.

    Finally, men are glorified for their spectacular crashes and limping across the finish line. Women are ridiculed for not avoiding the crash and cautioned not to scratch their pretty faces. Men’s bodies are not objectified and marketed for sponsor benefits. Women’s Team photos in high heels, skintight off-the-shoulder minidresses and glamorous facial makeovers or draped over the team bike showing cleavage are the norm, not the exception. What man wants his years of suffering on the bike to be reduced to a sexy pin-up for Local Bike Shops? No woman does, yet she often contractually bound to provide such imagery. If the sport of cycling wants to include 50% of the worlds population in their fan base, women cyclists need more respect, better opportunities and fair pay.

    • I get so, so angry about women cyclists expected to be sexy/cute, in ways the guys never do. People always bring up David Beckham, or the naked Pipo Sidi ad, and I’m always – that’s the exception, no one assumes Chris Froome should look boyband, or that Sky should hire pretty boys, whereas I’ve seen people I really like suddenly talk about how there’d be more sponsorship for women’s teams if they had more bikini shots!!!! Ugh. No words.

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