Prudential RideLondon organisers join UCI seminar in Mallorca
16 Dec 2016, 11:15 a.m.
Prudential RideLondon has begun the build-up to hosting its first ever men’s UCI WorldTour event by meeting with organisers of the rest of the world’s elite cycle races.
Mick Bennett, Race Director, and Kevin Nash, Route Director of Prudential RideLondon, attended the UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour seminars in Mallorca to discuss everything from increased safety in the peloton to raising the profile of women’s bike racing.
It was the first time Prudential RideLondon, now the host of two UCI WorldTour events, has been invited to the UCI seminar - which was also attended by team managers from the men’s and women’s WorldTour teams.
2016 saw the first ever UCI Women’s WorldTour event at Prudential RideLondon. The new Prudential RideLondon Classique, held on a spectacular central London route, was won by the Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild.
Now, after just four years, the men’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic has also been awarded UCI WorldTour status – the first British race to ever be put on the top tier of the world cycling calendar.
And Bennett says other UCI WorldTour event organisers and teams have been impressed with the progress Prudential RideLondon has made in such a short space of time.
He said: “Everyone looks up to London and the UK as a whole because cycling has been booming ever since the London 2012 Olympics. We have had lots of positive feedback and London is looked upon as a great location to race. Everyone who comes is well looked after.”
Bennett also had the chance to receive feedback from the UCI Women’s WorldTour teams on the debut running of the Prudential RideLondon Classique.
“The women’s teams have been very positive,” said Bennett. “Even though it is a short, circuit course, some even said that it is the toughest race on the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar because it is so quick and the crowds are so big that everyone really races so hard. They like having that showcase event on the calendar and it also enables them to bring different types of riders to the event.”
One topic that was discussed in detail at the seminar was raising the profile of the UCI Women’s WorldTour.
Prudential RideLondon has led the way in promoting equality in men’s and women’s bike racing. This year’s #PedalParity campaign celebrated the fact that both the winner of the women’s and the men’s race were paid exactly the same, with both the richest one day UCI WorldTour races in the world.
But the UCI wants more to be done to narrow the gap between women’s and men’s professional cycling elsewhere.
“Prize money is one element to it which helps make women’s cycling financially viable. There is also the need to increase racing days across the calendar which the UCI has done for 2017,” said Bennett. “There are now 47 racing days which is an increase of more than 30 per cent from 2016.”
Prudential RideLondon 2017, the world’s greatest festival of cycling, takes place from 28-30 July. The Prudential RideLondon Classique is on Saturday 29 July and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday 30 July.