After the World Championships, Pat McQuaid belittled the women peloton by assessing that women cycling is not ‘developed enough’ to demand a guaranteed minimum wage. Naturally it irked the peloton and the top athletes made their feelings known. Currently, UCI president finds himself in the middle of various battles and his ‘know-all’ judgment of women cycling didn’t help his cause. This goes on to show further how disconnected McQuaid is from the very same sport he is supposed to administer. His generic comments and ‘Big Brother’ kind of admonishment reminds me of Indian sports administrators who like him are incompetent and live in an alternate universe.
McQuaid’s naive assessment of women cycling exhorts one to take a deeper look into the sport. Since 2005 onwards, there have been 27 stable teams registered with UCI. The number of registered teams went upto 44 in 2007 but with the realization of economic reality, the figure has now settled to 28 in 2011. One could safely assume that the teams which survived the financial meltdown or formed after it will be able to continue and develop women cycling in the future. This give a core of around 27 teams each of which roughly employs 7-10 riders. A rough estimate of 250 pro/semi-pro women cyclists is a ‘good enough’ base to start with and McQuaid should work towards improving the sport rather than shirking away from his responsibilities.
Currently there is only one team registered in Great Britain (Garmin-Cervelo) and Germany (Abus Nutrixxion). Given the passion for sport in the country and the size of their economy, UK and Germany should have more women cycling teams. With the news of possible Rabobank women team next season, there will be only two Pro Tour Men team with a parallel women program in 2012. If UCI is serious about women cycling, they should work with big Pro Tour teams like Team Sky, to start similar women programs. McQuaid should rectify his astigmatic vision of globalizing cycling across different geographies and should work equally for improving the sport across both genders.