ŠKODA Cycling: This Is Our Time
[JULIET]: Sparking a conversation about women’s cycling is important. ŠKODA wanted to shine a light on women’s cycling with #ThisIsOurTime. A lot of people didn’t realise some of the issues that female cyclists face. You only have to look at the newspapers, for example, to see just how many column inches are provided to men’s sport compared to women’s sport. So we need more live television coverage in women’s cycling to bring in the sponsorship so that the sponsors will get the return on investment, and that will mean that they can put in more money. It would be great to see more of the men’s teams replicate what they do, but for women as well, and give them the opportunity. I think there are more women getting out there and cycling. The fact that our cycling club has grown in the last 5 years that I’ve been a member bears testimony to the fact that more women are getting out there. With women’s cycling we’re progressing, but I think it’s coming down to how women are going to change it for themselves. We started The Cyclists’ Alliance, which is a union just for women. It’s going to help us be able to stand on our own two feet a little bit easier. [JULIET]: ŠKODA have been really supportive of women’s cycling for ages. I think having Donnons des elles au vélo, J-1, the women’s cycling team who are riding the Tour de France a day before the men, having them on board has been brilliant. That story really grabbed people. People sat up and took notice because of those guys. One of the most encouraging things about the progress we’ve made with women’s cycling is that it’s working. It was on the front page of the Telegraph Sport, which is a huge thing, it’s one of the biggest newspapers in the country. To take over that page to push this campaign is truly amazing. [CARMEN]: The more and more we can have that media behind us and the exposure, it’s going to help. [SARAH]: But we also need the other areas of the media to work really hard on promoting women’s sport. So, there is a long way to go, but by shining a light on that, and showing exactly what the differences currently are, people are starting to say “Actually, I’d like to support this. I’d like to be that difference”. In the UK, we’re leading the way in terms of equality. We’ve got 2 big stage races in the Tour of Yorkshire and the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, that are providing equal prize money, that are pushing to have an equal number of race days. [JULIET]: Women have got so much to gain from cycling. [SARAH]: ŠKODA can’t do this by themselves. They’re already doing a huge amount, and it’s been an incredible first year of the campaign. Hopefully, other people will join on board and we’ll have strength in numbers to move it forward more quickly. Follow your dreams, is the best piece of advice. Make sure you work hard every day to follow what it is that you want to do. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something. If you’re prepared to work hard enough then anything is possible.