There will be the same prize money for the 2018 Women’s Tour of Britain as the men’s Tour.
Lead sponsor OVO Energy has increased the Women’s Tour prize fund by €55,000, bringing the pot from €35,000 to €90,000.
The OVO Energy Women’s Tour takes place 13th to 17th June.
The announcement on purse parity came today at a reception held inside the Houses of Parliament as race organiser SweetSpot previewed the five-day route for women’s race.
Women’s Tour 2016 winner Lizzie Deignan said: “It’s an important step to offer equal prize money to the comparative men’s race.
"To be honest, I wish gender parity wasn’t an issue in cycling; I think I speak on behalf of most women in the peloton when I say I just want to get on and compete and be recognised fairly for what we do. So this support from OVO Energy means we can now focus on playing our part in an amazing race."
The 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Tour, which forms part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, will begin in East Anglia, with five stages taking the race to Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, before a final day’s stage through the Snowdonia National Park and a first overall finish in Wales.
The prize money structure for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is now identical to that of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain. Stage by stage, jersey by jersey, the Women’s Tour riders will receive exactly the same prize money as the men’s Tour of Britain. The overall General Classification winner of the Women’s Tour will receive as much as the winner of the Tour of Britain.
Global Cycling Network presenter and former pro rider Emma Pooley, said: “There’s been a long campaign for parity in cycling, and I strongly believe that women’s racing should be moving towards equal racing opportunities and equal media coverage. The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is already leading the way in this, and a major step to addressing the imbalance in cycling’s economy is equal prize funds for high quality races.
"Women’s cycling has a huge amount to offer fans and sponsors alike and I believe it will further inspire more women to ride bikes.”
Chris Houghton, CEO, energy retail at OVO Energy, said: “Our announcement today is a meaningful step towards gender parity in cycling and we’re proud to play our part in supporting the development of professional women’s sport. We’re incredibly excited to support the OVO Energy Women’s Tour over the next two years, helping to provide an equal platform on the world cycling stage.”
Race director Mick Bennett added: “As organisers we are delighted by the increased commitment of OVO Energy in relation to prize money; their passion and support for the event will further enhance the development of the sport as well as the Women’s Tour.”
In addition to the professional race, amateur cyclists will be able to take part in the official sportive on Sunday 1st July in aid of Breast Cancer Care, the Official Charity of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. Starting and finishing in Southwold, home of Official Partners Adnams, riders will have the chance to ride one of two rides taking in the Stage One route in Suffolk.