In 2018, the Union Cycliste International found itself in the midst of a firestorm when it revealed the road race course for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo. The men’s course was longer, harder, and more spectacular, featuring a challenging ascent along the flanks of Mount Fuji. By contrast, the women’s course bypassed Japan’s iconic volcano altogether and ended with a shorter finishing circuit. It was a blatant example of women’s cycling being given short shrift yet again.

“Disappointed (again!) to see the differences in courses between the men’s and women’s road race,” tweeted Annemiek van Vleuten as the social media platform erupted.

The antry response to the Tokyo Olympic courses revealed how passionately the cycling community has fully embraced the ethos of equality in pro racing. It also raised an interesting question: what should women’s racing look like anyway?


What irked many

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