I really like women’s cycling and I really want to see it become equal to men’s. The women’s peloton is full of talent and I think we as an audience should be able to see these amazing women compete. But unfortunately, almost none of the women’s events are broadcast live. This needs to change immediately.
With the founding of the Women’s World Tour in 2016, I thought for sure this was going to allow women’s cycling to move up closer to where the men stand… eeerr ride. As I went to report on all the Women’s World Tour events last year I was distraught to find that there was no live video at all for many of the races in the WORLD TOUR. I can understand not having motor bikes with cameras following a small 1.1 races but if we are truly going to have a Women’s World Tour, then we need to have some video coverage. World Tour races even had a full moto video recording system set up but yet nowhere could I find full stage broadcasts.
The “best” I could find was a UCI channel report for some of the races. Now to be clear these race videos are far from ideal; let’s examine the Queen Stage from the 2016 Giro Rosa, for instance. For those that don’t know, the Giro Rosa, Giro d’Italia for Women, is a 10 day race in July, and is known as the women’s grand tour. This video which I linked to is part of a playlist of all 10 stages that the UCI put out for the race. The video is about 7 and a half minutes long and seemed extremely promising when I first came across it. However, it only contains a minute and a half of the race. To me this seems ridiculous not only because of the short length but also the fact that they had recorded the entire races and only chose a minute and a half of footage to show.
It would seem to some that the videographer cared very little about the ladies on the bikes and more about what they were doing before and after the stage. Granted, I greatly enjoyed hearing what the riders had to say about the stage to come and about their thoughts on what just happened. I really found these behind the scenes stuff fascinating and I will give credit where credit is due. That being said, I could see this video being 15 or even 20 minutes long. A couple minutes up front to introduce the stage and ask some of the expected protagonists about their plans for the day is perfectly fine. After that we need to show more than just a simple condensed highlight package. Obviously, interviews with the stage winner, race leader, and other contenders are very nice to have as well.
I am of the opinion that these races need to be broadcasted live in order to grow the sport. If the concern is that there is no one to commentate, I know two people who would be more than happy to lend their voices (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). There are more races added to the Women’s World Tour calendar this year, and if we want to keep adding races, we will need to bring more demand for races, and literally the only thing that can do that is increased exposure. Everything is in place for showing, especially in races where the men and women compete on the same day i.e. Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders, Flèche Wallonne (I could go on). It seems the only thing the UCI and race organizers lack is a desire or will to actually do it.