There is a teaching technique called ‘ two stars and a wish’. It does what it says on the tin: give the student two things that they should be proud of, praised for, and then a bit of criticism. It’s an iron fist in a velvet glove.

(It’s also known more prosaicall­y as the proverbial ‘sh* t sandwich’.)

So, good things first. The Tour de France Femmes will pay € 250,000 in prize money in its inaugural edition, which is the largest prize purse for any women’s race ever, dwarfing the £ 100,000 that was on offer at the last RideLondon Classique in 2019. € 50,000 of the prize money will go to the overall winner. Secondly, Trek-Segafredo revealed that they have been making up the discrepanc­ies between prize money for men and women at equivalent races this season. For example, they made up the gap between the € 1,535 paid to Paris- Roubaix Femmes winner Lizzie Deignan, and the € 30,000 that Sonny Colbrelli earned for winning the men’s race a day later.

Here’s the wish: simply, pay women more. It is great that so much money is on offer for the first Tour de France Femmes, but that is a fraction compared to the € 2.3million up for grabs including € 500,000 for the winner of the men’s race. Sure, the women’s Tour will be shorter, but even proportion­ally there should be € 876,190 on offer. Instead, there is less than a third of that.

Trek should be commended for boosting those prize pots, but this should not have to happen. UCI rules say that the prize money for a WWT one- day race should be €7,005, with € 1,535 awarded to the winner; conversely, they say that a men’s WorldTour one- day race should pay out € 50,000, € 20,000 awarded to the winner. This discrepanc­y is egregious. The wish is the more important bit: pay female riders more, put them on television more, give them the spotlight, and the sport will grow exponentia­lly.

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