Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) is only 27 but has been in the elite peloton since her first year out of the junior ranks and has risen along with women’s professional cycling amid drastic improvements over the past decade. Speaking ahead of the opening Spring Classic, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad , Kopecky spoke in favour of the UCI-imposed minimum salaries for women.
"They need to be [in place] because otherwise, women’s cycling will not grow," Kopecky said, adding that riders need to be able to live from pro cycling and not have to work at the same time, "because then there will always be this big gap."
Kopecky was defending the salary rules only because Patrick Lefevere, who owns the AG Insurance-Soudal-Quickstep elite and development teams and men’s WorldTeam, last week criticized the minimum salaries saying "women’s cycling is just not broad enough to justify" a minimum wage of €60,000.
[The current minimum for Women’s WorldTeams is €26,849 for employed neo-pros, €32,102 for experienced riders, and more for self-employed riders who don’t earn the same benefits. Only self-employed experienced riders will have a minimum salary that exceeds €60,000 but not until 2025. – ed]
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However, Lefevere’s own rider, Belgian Justine Ghekiere, made him eat those words when she escaped on the final day to win the overall Setmana Valenciana last weekend. […]
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