A USA Cycling spokesman Friday offered some reasons for the original prize-purse disparity between the pro men’s and pro women’s races in the Cascade Cycling Classic.

Both races are sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) this year, which is the world governing body for cycling. USA Cycling serves as a liaison to UCI.

“What the UCI does is set minimums,” said Chuck Hodge, vice president of operations for USA Cycling and a liaison to the UCI for the CCC. “The UCI has financial obligations they set for the prize list for categories. The UCI has a pretty high financial obligation for the men’s category, and much lower for the women.”

Hodge noted that cycling is a much more male-dominated sport in Europe, where most UCI races are staged. Also, the men have three tiers of sanctioned categories, while the women have only one.

“It’s really a male-dominated sport,” Hodge said. “I think it’s a cultural thing. The UCI has its world championships, where they do prize parity. It’s changing, and I’ve got to give them some credit.”

According to the technical guide for the Cascade Cycling Classic, which started Wednesday and runs through Sunday, the total prize purse for the pro men was $23,979, with the overall winner earning $2,951. The total prize purse for the pro women was $8,025, with the overall winner getting $225.

In a swift display of public outcry over prize money disparity, the Central Oregon community stepped up Thursday to support the women riders in the CCC. More than $15,000 was added Thursday to the women’s prize purse, including more than $6,000 in community donations.

The women’s prize purse is now the same as what is listed for the men’s through the top 15 positions of the pro races, according to a Thursday news release from the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, which puts on the race.

“UCI points in a race like Cascade are very important to the women,” Hodge said. “For USA Cycling, we are definitely pushing for complete parity in our national competitions.”

The Cascade Cycling Classic pro women’s race was sanctioned by the UCI for the first time last year, but this marks the first time in the 38-year history of the event that both the pro men’s and women’s races have been sanctioned by the UCI.

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,

mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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