Well, it looks like Andrew Messick and AEG Sports listened to the criticism about making the Stage Six of the AToC a "Battle of the Sexes". The women will now have their own ITT (individual time trial) and a big purse to boot.
Women's Amgen time trial, invitation only, offers $10,000 purse
Mr. Messick, were you really surprised by the negative criticism of your prize money idea? I'm not.
I'm a little murky in my feelings towards such an event. Really, why would organizers just sprinkle women amongst the men in the ITT and tie the women's purse to how many men they beat? It makes little sense to this Women's Cat. 4 racer. I have no doubt that these elite women could ride the legs off a ton of the men, but why tie the money to that? Why not offer the purse in a traditional manner to both men's and women's fields? I don't get it.
I have no problem with women racing with men. I've raced Cat. 4 with Cat. 5 men for my entire (short) racing career. I actually like racing with the boys; it's challenging and motivating, especially when I can catch and stay on some one's wheel. I play co-ed hurling with men that outweigh me by 80 lbs. or more. And I love it! Playing with the guys makes me scrappy-er (is that a word?) and not afraid to make a tackle for the ball. I'm guessing it's the same, only even more so, for a professional woman cyclist.
I think a lot of pro women, purse or no purse, would jump at the chance to ride with the men. I would.
Boys, I still hope the women kick your @$$.
Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.