Track cycling superstar Katie Archibald says she’d rather women’s cycling was a passion project for someone in future rather than vast sums of money be poured into the sport.
Team Sky recently announced a takeover – effective from May 1 – by chemical firm Ineos, owned by Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
With the team’s annual budget said to be upwards of £35million – compared with well under half a million pounds for many pro women’s teams – it’s been a heavily criticised move which provoked a mixed reaction among leading female cyclists, most asking why there can’t be a similarly well-funded British women’s setup.
— Six Day (@sixdaycycling) March 23, 2019
“The economics behind it really aren’t as important as the passion,” said Archibald at the inaugural Phynova Six Day Manchester track event.
“For a lot of these sponsors it’s a passion project. They’re putting money into something they feel passionate about which is gorgeous. You want the pride of owning a road team and being part of that journey.
“I think we will find that same passion when there’s someone who wants to put their project into a women’s team. We’ll just keep knocking on doors and find the right millionaire.”
Although track and time-trialling is her forte as she builds towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Archibald has history on the road with Team WNT and Wiggle High5 in recent seasons and stands shoulder to shoulder with her road colleagues.
Team Sky will become Team INEOS from 1 May. The launch of Team INEOS will take place at the Tour de Yorkshire.
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) March 19, 2019
“I feel a little unqualified to comment on women’s road cycling but they are shorter, harder races – that’s why they often split early,” said the 25-year-old, who hasn’t signed for a pro road team in 2019.
“You’ll have heard this before, but I don’t get any enjoyment from watching a men’s race where the first 100kms is a group of 150 people going around in zone 2.
“It’s a conversation everyone has and everyone agrees: they like watching professional women’s racing.”