Amy Pieters wins Nokere Koerse ahead of Grace Brown

The first Belgian race to offer equal prize money

Nokere Koerse will be the first Belgian road race to equal prize money for the men's and women's races.

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Danilith Nokere Koerse announced today that from 2022 on the race will offer equal prize money to both its men’s and women’s race. For the women’s race it means the organizers are tripling the UCI-mandated prize money for a ProSeries one-day race. The winner of both the men’s and women’s race will earn €7.515. The total prize purse is €20.300 per race.

“Women’s cycling is becoming more and more important. The gap with the men when it comes to prize money must therefore be closed,” race organizer Robrecht Bothuyne said in a press statement on Wednesday. “Together with the municipality of Kruisem, the arrival point Nokere is a sub-municipality of Kruisem, we are now increasing the prize money for the women’s race to the level of the men.”

The organizers claim to be the one-day race with the highest prize purse at the moment. In recent history Ride London offered €25.000 to the winner but this race is becoming a stage race in 2022. The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race offered equal prize money to both men and women with €16.000 for the winner but the race is cancelled for 2022.

Nokere Koerse celebrated its 75th men’s edition in 2021 but only it’s second edition for women. The race started as a UCI 1.1, or third division race in 2019 with Lorena Wiebes being victorious on the cobbles of Nokereberg. In 2021 the race was upgraded to UCI Pro Series level when Amy Pieters beat Grace Brown in an uphill sprint in Nokere. The race wants to join the UCI WorldTour series in 2023.

“As a Women’s ProSeries race we already pay a decent starting fee to the participating teams. It is a multiple of what teams get in lower categorized races and is also close to the starting fee for the men’s teams,” women’s race director Gil Steyvers added. “Now we are stepping up our efforts to close the financial gap by rewarding the women equally for their performance. We hope the top teams and top cyclists appreciate our efforts and will also be at the start in Deinze on March 16th. Thus we want to strengthen our candidacy for the UCI Women’s World Tour. We are convinced that our race can be an added value in terms of sport, appearance and therefore financially. We therefore hope that the UCI will approve our candidacy for 2023.”

In 2021 the race didn’t have live television coverage but instead offered a 25-minute summary to be shown straight after the men’s race finish. The organizers are negotiating with the VRT, the Belgian public broadcaster, to get the women’s race broadcasted live as well but emphasize this requires a significant financial investment.