With just 21 women across the 37 UCI registered teams in the downhill World Cup, there's a big gender divide between who's getting sponsored and who isn't. Unlike our skinny tired siblings on the road, women in downhill race on the same day and on the same course as the men but there is still a huge disparity between the coverage and opportunities afforded to the men and the women. Even if the events may run in parallel, men are given longer training sessions at more favourable times and in the race itself, only a quarter of the number of women can qualify for a World Cup as men, and just 10 women's race runs are broadcast as opposed to 40 in the men's. In short, things are not equal.
In a recent interview while talking about women's racing, Rachel Atherton said, "I think the sponsorship definitely needs to improve, I think it's ridiculous that big companies don't have a female rider and I think that's really shameful on their part." We spoke to team managers, racers and other industry personalities to see how sponsorship of women can be improved and what may be holding back more teams from sponsoring female athletes. The best responses are below.
Will Longden - Team Manager, Madison SaracenKaty Curd - Racer, PrivateerKathy Sessler - Team Manager, Santa Cruz SyndicateFabien Cousine - Team Manager, Polygon URLars Sternberg - Marketing, Transition BikesMyriam Nicole - Racer, Commencal Vallnord