Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Women Ride - Women Race

I love the Tour Down Under each January in Adelaide.

Adelaide plays host to the first Pro Tour Cycling race of the year conducted over 6 stages through the streets of Adelaide and surrounding hills and vineyards.

The atmosphere is fabulous and incredibly positive as thousands of cyclists and cycling enthusiasts come together.

The roads are packed with riders and the local community embrace the event and show patience to the pedalling hordes who overtake the City.

The event is televised around the world and shows our country to be beautiful, active and positive and by all accounts, the competing cyclists love the event, if not the travel to and from.

The Tour Down Under ranks alongside all the other annual International events we host including the Australian Open Tennis, Formula One and MotoGP Grand Prix’ and Bells Beach Surfing at Easter.

I can’t wait to get back to Adelaide in 2018 and to do it all again, to be part of it and to meet new friends.

It is year 20 of the Tour Down Under and an extra special round of celebrations are planned.

I mentioned earlier the event is televised but that is not quite right because only half the event is.

There is a Men’s and a Women’s Tour Down Under and while one receives much coverage, the other is almost ignored.

Women’s elite sport is booming as Australian Rules Football, Soccer, Cricket and Netball receive genuine coverage and attract sponsorship. There have never been more elite options available for young Women athletes to pursue.

As part of the 20-year anniversary of the Tour Down Under, I call on the world of Australian cycling to ensure genuine TV coverage of the Women’s Tour Down Under. It will cost money but surely Cycling Australia must be able to garner sponsorship and State and Federal Government support to ensure excellent coverage of the Women’s Tour.

There is no clash of Women’s and Men’s Tours as stages are not held in parallel.

Women cyclists provide a wonderful role model of health, fitness, dedication and a love for what they do. They represent incredibly positive role models.

 Women’s racing is as exciting and often more exciting than the Men’s. The competition between several teams for the Young Rider prize on the final stage of the 2017 Women’s Tour Down Under was epic as we witnessed a battle of tactics, athleticism, teamwork and commitment.

A week later, the Women’s version of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Classic was the highlight of the weekend and far more exciting than the Men’s event.

Tiffany Cromwell (Twitter) is an experienced and successful professional cyclist with Canyon/SRAM Racing and an Adelaide product.

More than that, she is articulate and prepared to express her opinion in a constructive way. She cares about her sport and is a great role model. She also embraces the Media.

We have had several instances where cameras have been fitted to bikes and the images provided from the race peloton have been sensational.

I suggest negotiating with Tiffany and her team and seek to include her as part of a media package for TV.

As well as a camera mounted on a bike, let’s set up the ability for Tiffany to commentate from within the race. She is a master tactician and hearing her talk about what is happening within the race would be captivating and she can talk.

The Women’s edition of the Tour Down Under deserves a full media coverage. Cycling needs this too if it is going to stand up to cricket, AFL and other sports in the competition for the best Women athletes.

Let’s take advantage of having an elite, local cyclist who is articulate, knowledgeable and a great role model be part of revolutionising the way this great sport is covered.

And lets ensure the 2018 Women’s Tour Down Under is remembered always as being the event where Women’s cycling earned comparative coverage to the Men's, and a new incite in to the race was provided to viewers.

As a final comment, can you imagine the coverage of the Australian Open Tennis being restricted to the Men’s games only?

Of course not, so why should the elite women cyclists of the world be treated any differently?

Cycling Australia, South Australian and Federal Governments and the Tour Down Under Organisation, let’s leverage local champion Tiffany Cromwell and put Women’s Cycling on an even larger map.

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