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Zam

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Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
« on: February 10, 2012, 00:08 »
http://marijndevries.nl/?p=4117

OPEN LETTER TO PAT MCQUAID



Dear mr. Pat McQuaid,
You are quite sad nowadays because of all the doping cases in the men’s cycling. I understand that. Even though, I hope that despite all the troubles you will take the time to read this heartfelt cry of mine. Otherwise this decennium might end up to be one of the saddest ever for women’s cycling.
The fact that you can’t arrange a basic salary for female riders and that you get angry if someone yells at you in the face, doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. You are not the guy in charge of the distribution of money within the teams. You can’t force our employers to pay us more. On the other hand, our employers would like to pay us more, I am convinced of that, but they lack the money to do so.
Let’s take a step back then. How do you get money in cycling? Via sponsors and giving them the opportunity to generate publicity for their product. And that’s what it is all about. More and more girls buy race bikes and ride on the weekend, but there is hardly any media coverage for women’s racing. That doesn’t make sponsors very interested to invest in cycling.
It’s frustrating the media give so little attention to women’s racing but blaming that all on them is a bit too easy. Why would a sports show feature images of an unknown rider in an unknown race? Viewers want to be involved, which is impossible if they have no idea what or who they’re watching.
I do see a change coming though. Races that are on the men’s calendar, like Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Flèche Wallonne and foremost Ronde van Vlaanderen do put women in the spotlight. Even though the attention is minimal, we do get time on national tv, and the time slot increases every year. It makes sense because every cycling lover knows those races. And it can be quite fun to see a peloton of women climb the Muur of Huy or cross the cobbles of the Paddestraat. It’s easy for media because they are already on the scene with all of their equipment. So it should be quite easy to shoot some images of the women and broadcast those.
This is where you can help. You are the one to tell race organizers to feauture a women’s race too. If they don’t, you just withdraw their UCI-license. Of course, it will take some extra time and money but that’s only peanuts compared to what they need to invest in organizing a race for men only. All in all, a women’s version of the big races should be easy.
Moreover, there were times in which Leontien van Moorsel and Jeannie Longo battled against each other on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez during the Tour de France for women. There were times when Debby Mansveld won the Amstel Gold Race and Mirjam Melchers claimed victory in Milan-San Remo. It is possible! Even better, the great historical races were already there for us, women. Where have they gone? Why were they cancelled? How can it be that we actually ride the same route, more or less, as the Amstel Gold Race but on a different day and time than the pro’s?
If you consider that women’s cycling has improved and professionalized a lot since the age of Van Moorsel, Longo, Mansveld and Melchers, it’s even more remarkable. The sport has matured, the level is higher. Still, only the top riders can earn a living out of racing, even though it’s not a lot. We, the unknown gregario’s in the big teams, have to work hard to keep afloat. We have to work next to racing, or ask support from our parents or husbands. To compare, for the money Bauke Mollema earns in a month we have to race five years.
That doesn’t get us any further. We can be as professional as we are, working hard to reach our goals but in the end it all depends on the money to take our sport further. Women’s cycling doesn’t have the image or grand history the men have. But we can start building that image and make history if we start racing the famous and infamous races that are on the men’s calendar. The tv cameras and journalists are already there so it should be really easy for both the media and the public.
In Flanders they understood this and introduced Gent-Wevelgem to our race calendar. But not every race organizer is as willing as they are in Flanders. If they were, the Primavera Rosa or Amstel Gold Race for women wouldn’t have been skipped. And times have changed. We are all on twitter, Facebook and the internet. People follow us but they hardly ever get to see us actually race.
We don’t have to expect anything from the well-known race organizers, even though there are some exceptions. Therefore it’s time that the UCI takes measures into its own hands and demands that every race also feautures a women’s version. Needless to say that we would be delighted and find it extremely cool. It’s up to you mr. McQuaid.
Thank you for your time.
Marijn de Vries

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  • « Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 00:09 by zam »

    just some guy

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    Re: Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
    « Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 06:38 »
    Now it is up to a journo to follow this up.

    Ask if he read the letter and get a response.

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  • Fignon - In my day, doping methods were derisory and the riders´exploits were massive.
    For the last 15 years or so  it has been the other way rond: there is a huge number of ways in which riders can dope, and any exploits are derisory.

    Zam

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    Re: Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
    « Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 10:46 »
    I am suprised that english site did not make it a story.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
    « Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 10:51 »
    I am suprised that english site did not make it a story.

    Tweet it to Shane Stokes cycling
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    I would but not in that Universe
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  • benotti69

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    Re: Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
    « Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 11:06 »
    She might want to edit out the name of Jeannie Longo  ::)
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  • « Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 11:06 by benotti69 »
    "ahaha, ever had the feeling you been cheated?" JL SF Jan'78

    just some guy

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    Re: Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
    « Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 11:13 »
    She might want to edit out the name of Jeannie Longo  ::)

    I read that and smiled a bit - but well then read this - If you consider that women’s cycling has improved and professionalized a lot since the age of Van Moorsel, Longo, Mansveld and Melchers, it’s even more remarkable.

    much better since ... as I read it ???
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  • « Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 11:14 by just some guy »

    Francois the Postman

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    Re: Open letter to Pat Mcquaid - Marijn de Vries
    « Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 11:09 »
    Good for her. It's a good letter, and raises many good points. I hope it gets heard.

    Yeah, Longo. Awkward......

    On the other hand, the letter certainly highlights how impossible it is for many women to get even a half-a decent living out of their career, which kinda sets the stage for someone who will improve your chances of making ends meet. Not that that is a good excuses, or an attitude I condone, but I can certainly see the temptation, under those circumstances.
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  • riding too slowly

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    Well done Marijn - hope he actually read it. For some real action, they need to target a couple of major sponsors who are big PLCs.   All have to have a load of corporate governance policies in order to be listed and they always have a policy stating that they will not support or sponsor activities that don't provide equality of access or reward.  I seem to remember Flora sponsored the London Marathon and required equality of prize lists of the organisers, before the signature went on the dotted line.  Could get Rupert's Sky with that one.  He certainly wants some pats on the back for doing something right and good  just now.  Brailsford would luuuvvv it.  He is so much wanting to run a women's team as well.  Can he have a third salary if he does it ? 

    As to Longo.  Well she should have read the runes last year before hubby got caught with his hand in the jar. Just loved the early statements about suing Joe Papp for deformation - all them lies he was spreading ! But does anyone think "steeped in the tradition" Van Moorsel  had not worked out what she needed to do to gain the edge ?  No, a bit like big Mig - forever clean.  That TT at Athens was an unbelievably good ride.  And surprise package, pulling it out of the hat with super ride of her season,  in 2nd was Dede Barry, wife of US Postie rider.  Meanwhile over on the men's side, one of the Hamilton twins won with good ol' Ekimov second.  Yes comparing anything with the past is not a smart idea.  Best not referring to anyone and leaving our rose tints in place.
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