The Australian Road National Championships will kick off in Victoria this week with Cycling Australia closely monitoring any fire danger from bushfires in New South Wales.
But these championships will be slightly different for Australia’s elite road cyclists, the change is important but still easy to miss.
The elite women’s race will be the last event of the day. The women will ride last.
The women’s race’s move to the last billing is an easily missed milestone and yet its importance should not be neglected.
It is often taken for granted that the men’s event, in any sport, is given top billing and runs last.
Think Wimbledon singles finals, for example, Roger and Rafa always feature after Serena and Maria.
The Olympics even falls foul of the same timetabling hierarchy, with women’s events often considered merely part of the build-up for men’s events.
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Looking back on the 100m finals at the Rio Olympics in 2016, arguably the most popular event in the whole competition, the men’s event was a whole day after the women’s.
Cycling Australia moving the women’s event to top billing for the National Road Cycling Championships is a huge step forward for female cyclists.
The Sturt Street event will give its female riders a huge opportunity to show just how the main event can be interchanged between both genders.
Australia’s elite women have the chance to make their own mark on the event and to make an impact on the way women’s events are considered in the first place.
The main event does not always have to be the men, the women have the chance to prove themselves just as exciting and just as impressive.
Women’s races and events deserve just as much time in the limelight as their men’s counterparts and Cycling Australia have (hopefully) started a new trend that other federations will follow.