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[Podcast]: Equality and inclusion in professional cycling

Pro cycling is a male-dominated sport. Why is it so, and how can we get more women into cycling? We met with the General Manager of Team Jumbo-Visma and one of the riders in the new women’s team of Team Jumbo-Visma to talk about diversity and inclusion within cycling.

General Manager in team jUmbo-Visma and rider Anna Henderson

This article was written when Visma was co-sponsor of Team Jumbo-Visma. Today, Visma is first title sponsor of Team Visma | Lease a Bike.

Team Jumbo-Visma is ranked as the best team in the cycling season 2020 and we are proud to sponsor this world-class team. In 2020, they established Team Jumbo-Visma Women’s team. What led to this decision, and how has this been received by the public? 

Listen to the podcast below: 

– The women bring in new perspectives, and I believe that makes us better

In this podcast episode, the General Manager, Richard Plugge talks about the establishment of the Team Jumbo-Visma women’s team—and how the team actively focuses on diversity and inclusion. 

For instance, within professional cycling, a new team needs to ride one year as a continental team before riding as a world tour team–which also means lower salaries. Team Jumbo-Visma decided to give the female riders the same salary as if they were a world tour team during this year, thus giving them the opportunity to pay full focus on cycling:

“Women athletes are no less than male athletes, and so we need to also give the women the opportunity to do what they are good at–and that’s cycling. It’s not mandatory for us to pay the female riders the same salary as if they were a world team but we wanted to have this minimum salary for the riders so that they can actually live as a top sports athlete and to be able to put in a 100% into the sport and become a professional,” explains Richard Plugge.

One of the initiatives for recruiting young talents into the sport is the Team Jumbo-Visma Academy, which also involves a development team. In collaboration with schools and associations, Team Jumbo-Visma aims to get more young people to pick up biking–both girls and boys: 

“We believe that cycling is good for everybody and we try to encourage young boys and girls to start cycling. We do it through our Academy, which has worked well in the Netherlands so far, and we try to do it in Belgium. That is also a reason why we wanted a women’s team because this ultimate goal for young riders – men and women, boys and girls – can then be “I want to be on this world tour team for men” or “I want to be on this world tour team for women””.

– Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. If you have a dream, then go for it

In the podcast, we also get to know one of the riders, Anna Henderson, and her journey from a professional skier towards becoming a pro cyclist. We asked her what advice she has for girls or young women interested in a cycling career, and what it is like to be a woman in such a male-dominated sport:

“I hope there can be even more women riding their bikes and becoming a pro. Every athlete is the same: You put in the same work, you put in the same hours. And with the minimum salary coming in, I think that is really good because it really allows women to be professional athletes. That would be really good for this sport.”

Anna Henderson

Learn more about diversity at Visma

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