Ludwig praises Giro Rosa for ‘taking women’s cycling seriously’ but still upset by lack of TV coverage
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig has praised Giro Rosa organisers for allowing the women’s event to be ‘taken seriously’ after longer days’ racing of up to 170km were unveiled as part of the nine-stage tour.
The Italian race, which begins in Tuscany on Friday, will see the peloton navigate stages similar to the lengths of the men’s, rather than in other events where the day’s riding can be under 100km.
And Ludwig, who won the white jersey at the Giro Rosa in 2017 and then finished sixth overall 12 months later, is excited to get going later this week.
"It's so cool, and, like, yes – finally we're being taken seriously, and they don't think our uteruses will fall out if we ride long stages, or if we do long climbs," Cycling News reported her as saying in a video interview.
"This is what we need, especially after last week when we were doing only 90km races, or up to 100km. It just felt a bit sad – as though they needed to shorten the women's races so that they were finished before the men's races, because the men's races are the most important.
"So it's really cool to have these longer stages because I think we deserve to have some proper distances, and not junior distances."
However, one of the major problems with the Giro Rosa is the lack of TV coverage of the race, merely a highlights show of the stages each night.
And 25-year-old Ludwig was not shy in speaking out about the disappointment of not getting the TV attention the race deserves.
"It's our Grand Tour, and people say, 'I want to watch the Giro,' and you say, 'Yeah, you can watch the highlights at six o'clock in the evening,' and I think that's a bit sad," she added.
"You feel really appreciated that you're there, as they take women's cycling seriously, and they're so good at involving the community. They say to schools, 'Come out and watch the bike racing,' so you'll have huge crowds, and you feel like you're riding at the big men's races.
"And then you go to the Giro Rosa and it's, like, there's no live coverage, and hardly anyone out there on the course. It's just really sad, because I think if people knew we were coming and there was live TV, people would watch it."