June 11/14 16:54 pm - Gastown Grand Prix becomes Richest Women's Criterium in North America
Posted by Editoress on 06/11/14
2014 race to feature more laps, more riders and the richest prize purse ever
The 2014 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix women’s race on July 9th will feature more laps, more riders and its largest ever prize purse as it becomes the richest women’s criterium in North America with $25,000 cash and thousands more available in crowd and sponsor primes. The women’s distance will also be increased from 30 to 35 laps (42 km) to reflect the growing calibre of the women’s field, which finished well ahead of schedule last year.
Photo gallery - A history of Women at Gastown
The BC Superweek race, which is also part of the USA CRITS Championship Series, will now offer a $13,000 winning prize and the same prizing as the men for every position. The increase in prize money and move to gender equalization for prizing was led by title sponsor Global Relay, a Gastown-based technology services company that provides the worldwide financial industry with cloud-based message archiving and compliance services.
“As a businesswoman running a technology company, I am very proud Global Relay is offering North America’s largest women’s criterium prize purse at this year’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix,” said Rogers. “Whether their career is in technology, business or cycling, successful women all share a strong spirit, drive and work ethic. At Global Relay, we are committed to promoting these qualities among our staff and in the broader community and to helping women in all fields follow their dreams and achieve their goals.”
Cycling Canada President John Tolkamp applauded Global Relay’s move saying, "We are very pleased to see the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix continue to recognize and support women's cycling. We commend the organizers for bringing parity to the prize list and I am personally looking forward to an even more exciting and stronger event in 2014!"
Global Relay’s efforts were also supported by former pro Gina Grain, who shares the record of three Gastown victories with Verna Buhler: “It’s wonderful that the sponsors are recognizing women's talent and are supportive of it. Equality has been and still is a long time coming in women's cycling and it’s nice to see it moving forward. Women train just as hard as the men, why shouldn't the prize money be equal?”
Global Relay provides additional support for women’s cycling through its Bridge-the-Gap fund which is led by current cycling pros Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEDGE), Will Routley (Optum Pro Cycling) and Ryan Anderson (Optum Pro Cycling), and former pros Erinne Willock and Andrew Pinfold.
The program addresses the gap that exists in the development of Canadian cyclists between the ages of 19 to 25, by helping provide access to the coaching, resources and equipment cyclists need to reach their full potential. Among the women cyclists the program supports are: Lex Albrecht (TWENTY16 Pro Cycling); Kinley Gibson, Jenny Lehmann and Tessa Pinckston (Trek Red Truck Racing); Annie Ewart, Leah Kirchmann, Denise Ramsden and Joelle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies); Gabrielle Pilote Fortin (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86); Annie Foreman-Mackey (Stevens-The Cyclery) and Anika Todd and Alizee Brien (Team TIBCO).
In an effort to continue the growth of cycling, the other races in BC Superweek have also increased their prize money in order to offer equal prize money to the top three men’s and women’s podium finishers in each race. That brings the overall prize money for the BC Superweek series up to $120,000 for 2014.
Online registration is available on the new BC Superweek website. Discounts are available to riders entered in all stages, and teams that sign up six riders for the entire BC Superweek series can register an additional three riders at no cost.
About BC Superweek
BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest cycling series, with $120,000 in prize money available during nine races over 10 days. BC Superweek runs from July 4-13, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 4, 5, 6), UBC Grand Prix (July 8), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 9), Giro di Burnaby (July 10) and the Tour de White Rock (July 11, 12, 13). For more information, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.