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Amgen Tour of California 2019, May 12-18

Page 24 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
One word. Velodromes. We have virtually none of them in the US.
We have several in our region and participation is flat to down. Youth programs are available but the cost of entry to racing is much higher than other sports. Young riders that do participate are largely following parents that race as well from what I can see. They also give it up more quickly once they face up to senior age groups. Cycling's a tough sport with very little immediate gratification. How many people that race actually ever win an event; let alone win often enough to be motivated by it? Most of us love cycling because we love to ride. Racing tends to be a different beast in the US. There is huge participation in charity and non-competitive group rides, though.
 
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I think overall riding Mtb is probably one of the best ways to introduce kids to cycling in general. It's fun and the parents are more willing to allow it because their kids won't have to train on open roads.
 
I think overall riding Mtb is probably one of the best ways to introduce kids to cycling in general. It's fun and the parents are more willing to allow it because their kids won't have to train on open roads.
Heartily and hopefully agree and it reinforces the freedom for young riders that they may keep into adulthood.
 
Aug 11, 2016
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One word. Velodromes. We have virtually none of them in the US.
Well, there is one in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is certified. It is part of an entire complex called River Walk. The community is based, if you can believe it, on cycling.

Apart from the Velodrome, there is a crit course that is totally close and is around 1.1 miles in length. There is also a world class BMX facility right next to the crit course. This BMX course held the World Championships back in 2017 and has stadium seating and is lit. The Velodrome is also under lights. These are surrounded by homes and some retail shops.

The Velodrome costs $5.00 to actually rent a bike and ride. You need to be certified, but you can actually rent a Pinarello for 5 bucks and ride all day. You provide the pedals and helmet. They have races every Friday night or at least they were having races every Friday night. I believe they have held the NCAA college tournament there along with I believe a masters event. You can check it all out by just searching for the Giordana Velodrome. It is a really nice facility, and yes I am certified to ride there. The track is concrete as is the seating for fans. The crit course is free. All you need is a bike and helmet. There is also a huge area for motorhome hookups that is in the middle of the crit course parking area. Very well done and thought out.

I cannot say enough for the City Planners here. We have an amazing soccer complex with about 9 fields, 2 of which are stadium setups with artificial turf. There is a tennis complex and a first rate softball complex of 4 fields. Now add in the cycling venues. This has replaced the old guard of industrial garment production which went the way of the dinosaurs. They are now focusing it appears on outdoor activities.

Don't forget that just up the road about 25 miles is the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte that also has a huge MTB presence along with training for whitewater competition.

So, I would agree that we need more awareness in the cycling community but there are some cities that seem to have a vision for cycling as is the situation in Rock Hill. This is not to mention that the NFL Charlotte Panthers are moving their headquarters and operations to Rock Hill by 2020. Their facilities will be right across the interstate from the River Walk Community.

I guess if you want some progress, one might have to pick up and move like I did 15 years ago.

rutan
 
Well, there is one in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is certified. It is part of an entire complex called River Walk. The community is based, if you can believe it, on cycling.

Apart from the Velodrome, there is a crit course that is totally close and is around 1.1 miles in length. There is also a world class BMX facility right next to the crit course. This BMX course held the World Championships back in 2017 and has stadium seating and is lit. The Velodrome is also under lights. These are surrounded by homes and some retail shops.

The Velodrome costs $5.00 to actually rent a bike and ride. You need to be certified, but you can actually rent a Pinarello for 5 bucks and ride all day. You provide the pedals and helmet. They have races every Friday night or at least they were having races every Friday night. I believe they have held the NCAA college tournament there along with I believe a masters event. You can check it all out by just searching for the Giordana Velodrome. It is a really nice facility, and yes I am certified to ride there. The track is concrete as is the seating for fans. The crit course is free. All you need is a bike and helmet. There is also a huge area for motorhome hookups that is in the middle of the crit course parking area. Very well done and thought out.

I cannot say enough for the City Planners here. We have an amazing soccer complex with about 9 fields, 2 of which are stadium setups with artificial turf. There is a tennis complex and a first rate softball complex of 4 fields. Now add in the cycling venues. This has replaced the old guard of industrial garment production which went the way of the dinosaurs. They are now focusing it appears on outdoor activities.

Don't forget that just up the road about 25 miles is the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte that also has a huge MTB presence along with training for whitewater competition.

So, I would agree that we need more awareness in the cycling community but there are some cities that seem to have a vision for cycling as is the situation in Rock Hill. This is not to mention that the NFL Charlotte Panthers are moving their headquarters and operations to Rock Hill by 2020. Their facilities will be right across the interstate from the River Walk Community.

I guess if you want some progress, one might have to pick up and move like I did 15 years ago.

rutan
We have the Redmond Velodrome just down the street. It gets wonderful support and was the vision and project of the late Jerry Baker and many cycling friends. It has great youth and entry level rider programs with former Olympic and World Champions to help staff it. Still; many of the young riders lose interest to the other diversions available like many US kids.
Cyclocross and gravel racing seem to be the best growth option. MTB definitely gave birth to some of that in the Pacific NW where we have much outdoor space and off-road dedicated parks to choose from very close to urban areas. All of that hasn't helped the promoters that would manage road racing because local government, county and state law enforcement control the road use. Their liability concerns and demand for paid traffic control and use fees have impacted all forms of road racing. California is likely just as impacted. Having raced in both area over 30 years it's difficult to find where to move. Oregon/OBRA was the rogue association that defied USAC lockdown on events and maintained a vital, independent scene for some time. They're under pressure now and events like the Cascade Classic have suffered from USAC fee demands and the cost of operation. The future of the Alpenrose velodrome is now being decided as the family that owned the property that graciously allowed free use is selling out.
 
Oct 28, 2019
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Host towns say they were taken by surprise by the race's demise

Which leads me to believe something monumental has shifted/changed and this race is never coming back (with AEG/Amgen).
 
The arguments for and against more commercial air time and money for women in professional sport are numerous either way. I think that it is such a complicated discussion that it is difficult to know where to start.



If you asked teenage boys and girls the world over, right at this moment, who their favourite famous person was, who would win the popular vote amongst the boys, and vice versa amongst the girls?



Something like Lebron James, and Meghan Markle?



How many women watched that royal wedding vs. how many watched the 2019 World Cup Final?



Questions like this are very important in such a discussion. Because it is important as to what both sexes like, and what both sexes admire. Generally speaking, of course.



Because mostly here, we are talking about market demand.



Does Annamiek van Vleuten work just as hard as Tom Dumoulin?



Yes, probably. And if she does not, then that is probably only because she doesn’t have to race as long a distances, over quite as tough a terrain. Which is because she actually isn’t allowed to.



Rather than isn’t able to.



But performance isn’t really the issue here. I don’t see it as an argument that women should not receive as much pay from sport as men because they are not as fast or strong. Whilst the same species, when we talk physically, men and women are rather different creatures. Many men make the point that they only want to watch the best (as in their opinion faster and stronger is all that matters), and make the fair point that they (and let’s face it, pretty much nobody apart from friends and family) do not go out of their way to watch 14-17 year old boys play sport, and that their ‘standard’ generally equates with open age women competition.



But as I’ve already mentioned, I think that it’s about market demand. If female sportspeople can attract the same interest as male sportspeople, then simple standards of performance are irrelevant.



Will people develop a genuine interest in a sport because it is highly commercially viewable to them, or will their genuine interest seek out this sport regardless? For me personally, a straight male (also relevant in this discussion, as whilst there is no strict rule, I think that straight men are more likely to have an interest in sport than gay men, whilst the reverse is possibly true with women), watching sport was most of my life as a teenager. Some of my sporting heroes were highly publicised ones (Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen come to mind), but others not so much. I was a massive fan of distance running, and in particular of men’s distance running. This was despite the fact that big athletic meetings in Zurich and Oslo, etc were never shown on television. Still, I would try to find the results in the very small print in the newspaper. And when the World Championships and Olympics came along, you could be certain that I’d be watching a 5,000 or 10,000 metres race if possible, even if it meant waking up at 2am. Names like Haile Gebreselassie, Paul Tergat, Salah Hissou, Ismael Kirui, Daniel Komen, and Noureddine Morceli became as immediate to me as family members!



My point here is that I think that most teenage boys had such a passion for one sport or another. Whereas I do not believe that most teenage girls do.



Let’s face it, watching sport with such a heavy focus isn’t greatly logical. I mean, you are taking a great interest in others, who quite frankly, have no real impact on your life (or shouldn’t). Many women simply see sport, or at least the viewing of sport, as pointless. It is hard to argue against that. Maybe women prefer to go out and see a movie (that might have a storyline that is more personally relatable than kicking a ball or riding a bike), or to learn another language, or to chat to friends, or to shop (now this I don’t see as very logical either, at least if it is done with a heavy focus)?



I live in Australia, and whilst men’s sport is shown more than women’s, the women certainly get a ‘fairer’ go than in most places in the world. There is opportunity in many cases, to build a ‘brand’, if you will. But if you take an ‘average’ male on television and take an ‘average’ female on television, the male who only takes an average interest in sport will probably be able to name a dozen male Australian footballers (let’s say from all codes, rugby, AFL, soccer). The female on the other hand, might be lucky to name a single female equivalent (perhaps Sam Kerr). Now this is partly due to the less exposure of the female sports stars, but it is also due to the general significantly less interest in watching sport that woman have as opposed to men.



Not helping the situation is that many women who do watch sport, prefer to watch the top men rather than the top women.



We come to tennis, where women have had great success (at least in comparison to other women) in terms of gaining earning power, or at least a strong earning share. Let’s forget about the 5 sets vs. 3 argument (though I think that women should play 5, at least from the quarters onwards when you have time to do that), but just at the fact that women now receive the same pay as the men at the grand slams (actually Ash Barty just won the biggest prize in tennis history at the year end ‘5th’ slam, though perhaps this had something to do with it being ‘bought’ by China…..Singapore – the previous host – certainly provided a good enough product). I probably watch more women’s tennis than men’s….as LS noted, the big 3 dominance for THIS long can get a bit wearing….and whilst I appreciate the GOAT battle for its current and future historic ‘sporting’ significance, the first week of men’s slams is usually very lacklustre. Less power can lead to a more interesting women’s matches sometimes, as serves are far more breakable, and you can get longer rallies (by the way, the women hit their groundstrokes almost as hard as the men, though many are much slower at getting around the court).



Anyway, at this years’ Australian Open I went to the semi-finals; to the women’s semi-finals. It was actually by choice. But just for interests’ sakes, I checked out the prices of all of the big days, and the men’s finals tickets were significantly more expensive than the women’s. It is also important to note, that there were far more tickets still available to the day that I wanted to go to, then there were to the other days. And if memory serves me correctly, the men’s final was sold out, whilst the women’s final wasn’t.



That to me, says that women tennis players are lucky to get equal pay.



Even just wandering about the Australian Open with a ground pass, it is almost always harder to get a seat to a men’s match, than to a woman’s. I’m not kidding. As a fan of women’s tennis, that doesn’t bother me. But I don’t ignore that. And neither should anyone who is interested in this subject matter.



It’s been in the news the past couple of days, that Australia’s female soccer players will now receive equal money as Australia’s male soccer players, at least in terms of when they play for our country. Our female soccer players are more successful internationally, but nevertheless, do they have the same market demand as the men? Probably not. A male world cup qualifier probably attracts at least 40,000 people, whereas you would be lucky to get 10,000 to a female equivalent. And probably like with the tennis, it is likely that those tickets are cheaper.



I have been to a few women’s soccer matches in our national league. Those crowds probably never exceeded 2,000. In the men’s equivalent they probably always get at least 10,000 to matches. Young men want to go and watch football. Young women (always generally speaking) do not.



How many groups of men around the water cooler discuss last weekend’s football results?



How many groups of women do the same?



Personally I quite like watching women’s soccer, and women’s basketball (it isn’t all about dunking), which I still go to locally. But I am in the vast minority.



Those sports are laughed at by many men. And it’s true, that there are significant differences, in terms of athletic prowess. Women’s soccer is noticeably slower than men’s, though tactically I think that it can be watched in just as enjoyable a way (slightly less reliable defences can help too). The actual skills on the ball of the top players are first class, but a little bit like in tennis, their lesser speed of foot is probably the biggest noticeable difference for mine. Because yeah, some women hit some absolutely cracking goals, they really do.



In basketball it really is mainly the jumping. The passing and shooting is pretty much on the same level (less overall height means less number of ‘easy’ shots and slightly lower scoring numbers in women’s games).



But what about cycling?



Interestingly, I think that female cyclists have a better chance to be more popular – generally speaking – than soccer players and basketball players, or at least closer to being considered as entertaining as their male counterparts; for the reason that cycling isn’t an athletic sport. Not really. And so, the difference between Ala or Bala, or Niewia exploding off the front of the peloton at the beginning of a climb (come on guys, Bala might just do it once!) shouldn’t be very different at all, aesthetically. The man might be doing 50 km/h and the woman might be only doing 40 km/h, but if they are increasing their lead on their rivals just as quickly as each other, then ‘the look’ shouldn’t be as noticeable as a dunk vs. a layup.



As many have mentioned in this thread, and on many others, it can also be argued that female road cycling is more exciting because there is less control and there isn’t the same depth in their top teams, as there is in Ineos, QS, Jumbo.



But these discussions can go on for many more thousands of words. For mine, women cyclists should have the same racing opportunities as the men. Should they have the same race coverage? No, at least not initially. But they certainly should get more coverage than what they currently get. Some men – who are already fans of men cycling – will watch it.



But will many women?



And on another topic, which many might consider totally irrelevant, but actually is: I read that the top ten female models in the world earn roughly 80 million dollars a year between them, whereas the top ten male models earn about 10% of that.



That is some serious food for thought. Should there be equal pay for male models?



Whether models – any models – should earn such levels of money for ‘mere’ modelling is another matter, and is irrelevant. Market demand says that they ‘should’. And where does this demand come from? Well, it probably comes mostly from a genuine interest that many women have for fashion.



If women as a whole want closer to equal pay to men in sports, then more non participating women need to get out there, and buy a ticket. But I am not going to demand that they do it.
 
Greg, that’s an awfully long post.
We’ll never know how good ratings for women’s cycling can be until women’s cycling actually gets broadcast on tv. What is needed is for some broadcaster somewhere to work with a race/event to come up with a creative way to put both competitions on the same screen at similar times.
 
Greg, that’s an awfully long post.
We’ll never know how good ratings for women’s cycling can be until women’s cycling actually gets broadcast on tv. What is needed is for some broadcaster somewhere to work with a race/event to come up with a creative way to put both competitions on the same screen at similar times.
I feel it would need to be more than 'a race' to be a representative sample. Due to the plethora of available men's races covered, there is far less negative stigma attached to a boring men's race than there often seems to be around a dull women's race (take for example København 2011), and the casual fanbase can much more readily rebound from a dull race in men's cycling than women's because the next televised exciting race could well only be a day or two away, whereas with the paucity of women's races that get full coverage, it could be a while before that race is shown. Similarly, a really good race like La Course 2018, with Annemiek chasing Anna VDB down on the line, Ash climbing like a queen and Cille being Cille both during and after the race, might garner really positive audience feedback, but then there's not the chance to capitalise on that momentum because there was then a large void for a few weeks where no women's racing is broadcast in any great detail, and then when it is it's a race like the RideLondon crit, and I don't see it as particularly productive to provide world class footage of races like the Champs Elysées crit version of La Course and RideLondon, if we don't also get similar level coverage of the more selective races too.

Similarly, the parcours issue that has been raised frequently over the years - Edita Pucinskaite, Emma Johansson, Annemiek van Vleuten and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig all particularly outspoken about it - has to play a major role, and especially in recent years with there being a bias in the parcours that doesn't need to be there. If you want to go back to Pucinskaite's day and say that the women's péloton doesn't have the depth to handle big Tour mountain stage type routes with any regularity and that is why there are few such races on the calendar, then I disagree with you, but that's one thing. There definitely is a paucity of races in the style of, say, the Tour de Suisse, Dauphiné, Volta a Catalunya, Tour de Romandie and so on - high level mountainous races (I omit País Vasco because it does have a women's equivalent, although the Basque mountains in both races are largely medium-sized and built on steepeness and inconsistency rather than being true high altitude or long challenges) on the women's calendar, and if you were to argue that it would be unfair to judge a complete cold-open start-up race for the women as against a race with a century of history like the Tour de Suisse, then that would be a pretty reasonable argument in my opinion. However, the recent trend for offering the women less challenging races such as at the Olympics and in recent World Championships, or at events like RideLondon, are indefensible to me - rendering some of the obstacles that create the most anticipation for the race off-limits to those with two X chromosomes is really negative as far as I'm concerned, as not only does it not enable a fair comparison of the races, but it actively hurts the anticipation for the women's race. A lot of the pre-Tokyo hype will be about who can get over Mikuri Pass; a lot of the pre-Innsbruck hype was about the Gramartboden climb. The desert was the only thing that stopped Doha being a crit, and the women put on at least as good a show in the 2012 Olympic Road Race as the men did, but have been short-changed in the legacy programme. All things which the women don't get to do - which even removes one of the potential factors for watching the women, at least at World Championships races - people who are interested in men's cycling but not women's cycling may watch the women's race to get a feel for the route, the parcours, and see the obstacles that offer possibilities - and some of them may watch it and enjoy it, if the racing is good.

And when the women have been given an equivalent course to the men - Mendrisio or Firenze, for example - they've also put on really good races.
 
As I've said, for women's sports the skill level needs to be high. Low skill level I won't watch on TV let alone buy a ticket. Women's college basketball is cringe-worthy outside of the top handful of teams. My favorite sport is ice hockey and I've gone to many, many NHL games over the years (regular season and play-offs). (Grew up watching Mario Lemiuex, both on TV and in person). I would buy a ticket to see the US women's team play the Canadian women's team. I would not buy a ticket to see of those teams play a team from other countries because the skill level isn't high out side of North America (for women' hockey). Heck the skill level outside of North America and a handful of Norther European countries isn't that high for the men either. With women's cycling, I do think the skill level is there. What is lacking is well organized races, good routes, lack of races and lack of teams. I do think if the first two items are fixed the rest will follow.
 
This is a difficult thing to phrase, but I think that differences in skill level is more easily bridged, and less immediately noticeable, in more 'pure' athletic endeavours - e.g. racing sports and to a lesser extent combat sports - where the problem is less the skill level and more the depth of talent pool, a problem which becomes progressively lessened as more and more women are able to make a living from participating in the sport. If you look at sports with a long history of women's competitions, then there's not much of a technical gulf at all - take alpine skiing, for example. And where there's domination in the men's fields, sometimes the women's events can be bigger draws - take biathlon as an example.

The example on tennis is two-pronged; the men's final is almost guaranteed to be between two big names, while there's much less predictability in the women's events - but as the women since Serena took her baby break have not seen anybody truly assert dominance in that period and if you buy a ticket deep into the tournament there's a good chance some of the biggest names have already gone home, with several tournaments being won by inconsistent and unpredictable players like Muguruza, whereas it's almost nailed on that at least 2/3 of the big three will make it to the semis in the men's competitions. This means that for the first week of the tournament at least, the women provide more interesting matchups for the TV audience, but are perhaps more risky to gamble on from a live audience perspective.

The other thing is the participation draw. If we take as a starting assumption that there is a greater % of men who want to become sportsmen than women who want to become sportswomen (I don't think this is an unreasonable assumption, though whether that's nature or nurture is obviously a separate topic for debate), then you immediately have a larger pool of male potential athletes. Then you have the division by sports. For most men, there are a range of team sports that are widely televised, widely followed, and attract huge audiences and make huge stars of their players, as well as a range of other individual or small team sports which are also viable career paths, some of which (tennis, golf, boxing) come with big money attached as well, plus a range of niche sports. For women, many of those team sports simply don't exist at anything like the same level; what onus is there to go into women's (ice) hockey, or women's basketball, in terms of media exposure, financial and sponsorship opportunities, competition and so on, compared to athletics, swimming, tennis? For one thing, to play team sports at a competitive level is far more onerous, as you need to have multiple skilled individuals, and if you've found enough of those to make up a team, you then need other teams to play against; this is much easier with men for two reasons: firstly because of that starting assumption that you're playing with a larger % of the genetic pool, and secondly, because the highest profile team sports (soccer, American football, basketball etc.) are more attractive to elite male athletic prospects than to elite female athletic prospects because the men's sport is already highly developed and with more support, recognition and compensation at both the grass roots and the professional level than the equivalent women's competition, which funnels many of the elite female athletic prospects towards those sports where they are able to compete at a highly developed, supported, recognised and compensated level - with the consequence that the sports where women's competitions are already established tend to have the highest drawing power, both to participants and to audiences, and that it requires less technical expertise to excel in some of the team sports than it does in the equivalent men's competition, resulting in the exaggerated inequality of skills that Koronin mentions in sports which are mainstream for the men but niche for the women, such as (ice) hockey, thus the negative perception of these sports is reinforced, as is the positive perception of women's competition in sports like alpine skiing, athletics, tennis, cross-country skiing, swimming etc. where there is an already well-established, well-supported and well-received level of elite women's competition.
 
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Libertine -- I'm sure the pool for male athletes is much larger to start with as well. I think most would agree with that. From my own experience in college it's definitely that way. I played intramural softball for 2 years. If I remember correctly there were 8 -10 teams. There were a grand total of 3 females playing. Obviously one of them was myself. Even crazier was that our team had 2 females and only 1 other team had a female player. All the other teams were only male players. Our team, all of us were friends who all had the same major and had tons of classes together, which is how we ended up putting the team together in the first place. With a total of 3 females playing it again shows you could have put together a league for men but not women.

When it comes to women's sports getting TV time, I will give credit to the NCAA and their TV contracts that some women's sports do get air time. Women's basketball does get some regular season games on TV along with their full end of season (NCAA) tournament. Women's softball also gets their tournament on TV.
 
Very good posts and points being made, and I won't do a point-by-point analysis here. But here's my contribution:

1. It seems like when men-women competitions are organized at the same time, i.e. grand slam tennis, 5 sets or 3, it gives both genders exposure. I like the fairness of that. I used triathlon as an example; I like this model.

2. I'd like to modify my point about mixed cycling competitions. Don't let women start earlier, just have a second starting town (ASO will like it $) closer to the finish. The women's Tour (or Giro, Vuelta, et caetera) will hence be shorter. Course design must be smart so chances are 50-50 to win a non-sanctioned (by points or pro-win count, just glory and money) overall time contest. Maybe the rhythm will change. Boys don't like to lose to girls, do they ;). The big important thing is that teams will be forced to invest in women cycling more than they currently do, sponsors (sharing TV time helps :))...

I like it...

3. I noted Greg's point about women viewing sports in general, and my opinion on that is, in short/general, that besides what they like, women tend to be more discriminating than men as it relates to sport. I'm saying that as a former sport hog...whatever it was, give it to me, I'll watch.

I once argued that the TdF should be broadcasted on the Travel Channel, not a good example (cable...) but when I watch the Tour, castle views are all nice and neat, but there's food, wine, cheese, stories that could bring viewers to watch it. Meet a chef, the PDBF story, there's history everywhere...

And that would mean changing the cycling broadcast booth and crew which has not evolved much in 40 years: one Joe, one former-pro, meh, meh, meh. Bye-bye Kirby, I hope that you're getting over Reichenbach losing the Tour, so close, we'll never know. Adios Bob Roll and his podcast in a hotel room with socks and dirty underwear in the background. Adieu Jalabert.
 
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Reactions: Koronin
2. I'd like to modify my point about mixed cycling competitions. Don't let women start earlier, just have a second starting town (ASO will like it $) closer to the finish. The women's Tour (or Giro, Vuelta, et caetera) will hence be shorter. Course design must be smart so chances are 50-50 to win a non-sanctioned (by points or pro-win count, just glory and money) overall time contest. Maybe the rhythm will change. Boys don't like to lose to girls, do they ;). The big important thing is that teams will be forced to invest in women cycling more than they currently do, sponsors (sharing TV time helps :))...
Not to mention the added element of those teams that have both a men's and a women's division.
Let's imagine the women are caught in a race, and Van Vleuten is in it. Might the Mitchelton-Scott guys decide that she would actually be the best chance for the organisation to get a win, and start helping her? (Alternatively; might some of the men break free from the men's peloton in order to try and catch the women, and help their "sort-of teammates"?)
 
Not to mention the added element of those teams that have both a men's and a women's division.
Let's imagine the women are caught in a race, and Van Vleuten is in it. Might the Mitchelton-Scott guys decide that she would actually be the best chance for the organisation to get a win, and start helping her? (Alternatively; might some of the men break free from the men's peloton in order to try and catch the women, and help their "sort-of teammates"?)

Or would some of the women wait for their male teammates? Take the idea you posted with Mitchelton-Scott and Van Vleuten and swap it for Movistar's women sitting up and waiting for Valverde.
 
There are excellent ideas to improve the marketability of cycling noted above.
It does get down to spectacle that is interesting.
Note that women have less problem with economic parity in tennis, gymnastics, skiing, volleyball....they have compelling stories and good visuals.
Let's face it; most casual sports fans would watch a men's road race and ask "when is something going to happen?" The US has hardly any TV exposure and sponsors would need a really good reason and product to get behind.
 
Another change that could have been the tipping point: Sagan agreeing to do the Giro. Don't know if his decision to leave sunny California for a hilly Giro was about appearance fees or a the Giro's start nearer his home country.
He was the most compelling repeat rider at Cal, though.
 

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