The women's peloton will receive equal prizemoney at the 2019 Santos Women's Tour Down Under after an announcement by the Government of South Australia overnight.
Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell announced the match at the annual Legends Night dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre on the eve of the conclusion of the Santos Festival of Cycling on Sunday.
The prize pool across all classifications will be more than $100 thousand, compared to $15,000 in this year's competition.
That move has been met with support from the women of the peloton, with several of this year's contingent voicing their support of the move on social media.
Wow, not that I needed any more reasons to love Tour Down Under. What a huge step forward for equality 👏🏻👏🏻 https://t.co/gK88JhBNFt — AmandaSpratt (@AmandaSpratt) January 20, 2018
Amazing news!!! Thank you @southaustralia for being a leader and supporter of women’s cycling and equality. https://t.co/uFwol22AEA — Tiffany Jane (@tiffanycromwell) January 21, 2018
Just wow. Huge news & just one more example of how women's sport is on the up and in the forefront of the public's mind in Australia. #proud https://t.co/643Xmic3Zh — Chloe Hosking (@chloe_hosking) January 21, 2018
The announcement follows the successful running of the women's race at a UCI 2.1 classification - one level shy of Women's WorldTour status.
Minister Bignell said discussions with new UCI President, David Lappartient had continued since November 2017 and culminated at this year's event.
"This is exciting news for women's sport and I'm thrilled to announce our government is providing equal prize money for female riders in the Santos Women's Tour Down Under," he said.
"I wrote to UCI President, Mr David Lappartient, in November last year and we finished the discussion today and agreed the Santos Women's Tour Down Under was the perfect event to lead the way for equal prize money.
"These athletes are at the top of their game, display professionalism determined and skill during every stage of the hard-fought race.
"It's only fair the prize money they receive is on par with their male counterparts for each stage as well as the general classification.
"We were the first major international race in the world to replace podium girls with junior cyclists - a move which has been widely commendd by the international cycling community.
"I'm proud South Australia is taking the lead in supporting our female athletes."
Mr Lappartient expressed his enthusiasm for the move at his first UCI WorldTour event.
"I applaud the steps taken by the South Australian Government to replace the podium girls with junior cyclists t both men's and women's race presentations," he said.
"I am a strong advocate for women's empowerment in sports in general and cycling more specifically.
The UCI has indeed introduced equal prize money for men and women across all UCI World Championships and World Cups, and it is fantastic to see South Australia once again take the lead, elevating women in sport through offering equal prize money for male and female competitors in the Santos Tour Down Under."
Women's race director Kimberley Conte said the move would attract an even higher calibre of rider and team to the 2019 event.
It comes after a stronger contingent of female rider arrived at Adelaide Airport thanks to the UCI 2.1 classification granted to the event this year.
The 2018 edition of the race saw a challenging mix of three road stages and a concluding criterium crown the winner of the race, Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) with her second title.
"It's really great to have the support of the State Government and the UCI, to continue to elevate this race and recognise the skill and efforts of our riders.
"We have women coming from all over the world for the Women's Tour Down Under.
"Having equal prize money will result in event more interest from top international female riders and help take this race to the next level."