Ride the Puddles

Tying Womens’ Results to Overall Team Rankings

Posted by bikezilla on March 27, 2011

The womens’ side of professional cycling has been underappreciated and disrespected forever.

There’s lots of indignation over this, complete with demands for bigger prize money, more sponsorship, for womens versions of all the most prestigious mens races and for better pay.

The easy poopoo to this is, “there just isn’t enough money”.

I propose, first and brilliantly, you’ll kindly remember when anyone speaks of this in the future (and I’ll cling to that notion no matter how many of you present evidence to the contrary) a solution.

— Here’s the full on version:

Make it mandatory for every ProTour team to also run a womens team (ok, I confess that part has been mentioned by several people).

Tie the results of the womens teams unequivocally to the overall team standings.

By that I mean, for the purpose of ProTeam licenses and admission to major races, a ranking based on both mens and womens teams is used.

Just stack the womens’ points right on top of the mens and, blammy, you have the new totals. Easy as . . . something really, really, super ridiculously easy.

There’d be no, “Ok, we’ll use the combined ranking for X, but the separate rankings for Y.” One combined team ranking. End of calculations.

Because if you use the separated results for any OFFICIAL purpose, then you reduce the effect of the program in elevating womens racing.

But let’s assume that “there just isn’t enough money” is a valid argument and soften things up a little.

— Here’s the softened version:

Do NOT make it mandatory for every ProTour team to also sponsor a womens team.

But the women’s points for teams that do sponsor a womens team are still tacked on to those team’s overall total and used unequivocally in the official team rankings.

The respect, importance and value of womens racing immediately goes up, once their points directly effect overall team rankings, because teams without a womens team are instantly at a disadvantage, no matter how good their mens team is.

I like the softened version of things better. Because all those teams now saying “we just don’t have the money to run a womens team” would somehow begin finding the money. It’d be like a miracle or something!

And with the elevation in importance I think we’d soon see organizers of major mens races adding womens versions.

Of all major professional sports, I think the women of cycling offer the product that most closely resembles the mens side of the sport. In fact, I believe that the very best of the women could replace a few of the male riders.

If you’ll look at watts / kg for men vs women you’ll see that some of the women, in fact, surpass some of the men.

Ideally, at least in my mind, this would would even lead, eventually, to the inclusion of the very best female riders in what we now think of as the “mens” side of things.

I don’t think it’s an impossibility.

— The downside.

With heightened import comes heightened pressure. That could lead to increased doping in the womens ranks.

But to use that as justification to continue marginalizing the womens’ side of professional racing would be cowardly.

— The upside.

More respect and appreciation, better visibility, better pay, higher sponsorship levels, more highly prestigious womens races, more internet, radio and television coverage, more opportunities to ogle deliciously hot cycling women, and of course their undying and enthusiastically repaid gratitude for my brilliant idea and how I single-handedly pulled them from the depths of obscurity and into the glories of the limelight.


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