Women’s cycling is blooming. Tour de Pologne marks another step

Polish women’s cycling is going from strength to strength – not just thanks to Katarzyna Niewiadoma. Ladies are outperforming men with their results. The relaunch of Tour de Pologne Women marks another step to strengthen their position in the global peloton. Women’s cycling is trending, that’s a fact!

Figures leave no doubt – women’s cycling is growing at an express pace. 2023 Tour de France Femmes averaged 2.25 million viewers on French television. The decisive stage was watched live by up to 5.1 million!

– We have been experiencing a real boom in recent years. Teams want to invest more money, new races are appearing, there are many more live broadcasts – claims Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Poland’s best rider.

Two decisions have been crucial for the growth of women’s cycling. First one – the introduction of a minimum wage in World Tour teams, which has been a standard in men’s cycling for many years. In 2020, the UCI set the lower threshold for annual earnings at €27.5k for female riders and €41.5k for self-employed. Biggest stars earn well over €100k. This allows most of the peleton to focus on one job.

The decision to host women’s Tour de France, starting from 2022, has been the second milestone. – This drove the whole market. A new era of women’s cycling had begun – Niewiadoma has no doubts. She has been on the podium twice in the two editions of this race so far. Both times she came third and will be hoping to make another step this season.

Tour de France boost has also been followed by significant promotional steps. Each Women’s World Tour race organizer must provide at least 45 minutes of television coverage on every racing day. In most cases, however, it’s considerably more, like during Tour de France (one and a half hours). When it comes to one-day classics, the finish of women’s race is usually set shortly after the final of men’s competition, what results in a high audience.

Today, every “big brand” in UCI cycling calendar wants to host women’s race as well. Czesław Lang and Lang Team saw this potential as early as in 2016, when neither Tour de France, Vuelta a’Espana nor Tour de Suisse had organized their stage races for ladies. The first edition of Tour de Pologne Women received a lot of media attention, but it took time for sponsors and cities to see the potential as well.

In 2024 women’s race is returning for good. Heart of the competition will be in Lubuskie, that has fallen in love with cycling. The beautiful roads of this region were used by Tour de Pologne and ORLEN Nations Grand Prix in recent years. Now it’s time for the ladies. The race will see as many as 18 teams: 3 national (Poland, Denmark, Ukraine) and 15 professional ones from all over the world.

A steady march to the UCI Women’s World Tour series in the goal of Tour de Pologne organizers. Czesław Lang sees a huge potential in women’s racing. – There are no calculations, no looking back. Women attack from the first to the last kilometer. You never know which move will result in a victory. This makes it a thrilling experience – says general director of the race.

There is one more unquestionable factor. It’s the position of Polish female riders in the peleton. Not only Katarzyna Niewiadoma is capable of winning big races, but also Daria Pikulik, Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka and Marta Lach have had their days of glory. Our ladies have outperformed men in recent years. Results are clear in the UCI ranking and also with the size of Olympic Games teams. In Paris, during the mass start race, Poland will be able to field a three person women’s team and barely one rider in the men’s race.

Tour de Pologne Women 28-30.06.2024:
STAGE 1 – LUBLIN – LUBLIN (Individual Time Trial), 4.5 km