Trek Bicycle is to offer equal prize purses at a UCI cyclo-cross World Cup to be held close to its US HQ in September, the first such event to offer such equality.
A starement from the family-owned company said: "Athletes are athletes. Gender, race, size, shape, and ability do not determine a person’s value. Desire, ambition, goals, dreams, and heart are not defined by looks. Every person should have equal opportunity to fulfill their potential, and should be equally rewarded for doing so."
Trek added that it hopes a precedent is being set so that "other races and organizers will follow suit."
Trek has released the following statement regarding the event to ensure all racers, spectators, and sponsors understand that people of all backgrounds will be welcomed in a collective celebration of world-class competition:
Athletes are athletes. Gender, race, size, shape, and ability do not determine a person’s value. Desire, ambition, goals, dreams, and heart are not defined by looks. Every person should have equal opportunity to fulfill their potential, and should be equally rewarded for doing so. Trek is proud to host the first World Cup in cycling’s history to offer equal payouts to the men’s and women’s fields.
Seven-time world champion Marianne Vos said:
"As the first UCI World Cup cyclocross that will offer parity in prize money, Waterloo will set a benchmark for other world class events. This is a valuable step following increased fan and media interest in women's cyclocross over the last years. I'm sure the women will race with the same motivation as ever, but this recognition will give an extra boost to the sport."
Two-times European champion Helen Wyman added:
"It is amazing that the Waterloo World Cup has gone above and beyond to provide the first-ever equal prize money for a World Cup. I have huge respect for the American racing scene and this shows me once more how the USA are leading our sport in equality. Week after week, we get to see our sport on national television in Belgium with hugely significant viewing figures, and equal prize money for this World Cup reflects exactly how valued women's racing is and should be. I truly hope others follow."
The 2017 Trek CX Cup takes place September 22-24.