Vilvoorde, 21 February 2022 – KPMG in Belgium and Flanders Classics started the third year of their partnership for the Flanders Classics Women – Closing the Gap project. In 2022, the project will focus on category increases and the introduction of youth races. On top of announcing the collective investments to professionalize women’s cycling, totaling 1 million Euros, equal prize money for the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen was also announced.
It has been two years since Flanders Classics announced, in addition to other key partners, KPMG in Belgium as the presenting partner of their women’s cycling competitions. In February 2022, the Flanders Classics Women - Closing the Gap project was introduced; a multi-year plan to support women’s cycling with extra means and help the sport evolve.
Two years later, both Flanders Classics and KPMG can be proud of the successful steps the sport was able to take, thanks to their partnership. The numbers are confirming that, says Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel: “If we look back at 2018 and add up the efforts from then through this season, we’ll have invested as much as 1 million Euro in women’s cycling.”
Important side note, that amount only includes the fees to federations, starting fees and prize money. Therefore, the investments are separate from organizational costs and investments in media and TV coverage. “The latter has actually been one of our focal points, making women's cycling more interesting as an audiovisual product," says Van Den Spiegel. "For example, next Saturday in Ninove the women will again finish after the men and, like last year, we will broadcast their finale live on television. That was a very conscious choice for us. More important than the prize money, until now."
Harry Van Donink, CEO of KPMG in Belgium is also proud: “I am incredibly proud of KPMG, Flanders Classics and other partners, for our collective investments to professionalize women’s cycling. KPMG fully supports Flanders Classics’ commitment to help female cyclists get the global spotlight they deserve. We share the common goal of improving women’s visibility - whether it's in the boardroom, in decisions and deals, or on the racetrack.”
Equal prize money in Ronde van Vlaanderen
In the past seasons, Flanders Classics has been focusing on category increases in their competitions, a very first Scheldeprijs for women, and putting the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem on the map of sport-technical equality. The next step is clear: “It’s the prize money. Next to the category increases in Dwars door Vlaanderen and De Brabantse Pijl to ProSeries and further leveraging live TV coverage, the male and female winners of the Ronde van Vlaanderen will receive equal prize money”, Van Den Spiegels proudly shares. “The goal remains, as presented in the multi-year plan, to equalize all the prize money in 2023”.
Ronde van Vlaanderen youth day
In 2022, Flanders Classics will make an extra effort for youth cyclists. For example, on May 22nd, the first Ronde van Vlaanderen youth day will take place in Oudenaarde. A competition for U17 and U19 women is programmed for the first time. A development that partner KPMG is also keen to see happen.
“I’m happy to see that more youth days and youth races are being organized for women”, says Van Donink. “And that is, next to the investment in the prize money, at least as important for the further professionalization of women’s cycling. It gives a clear message to young, female cycling talent: there’s a future for you.”
With these new developments, Flanders Classics and KPMG are on the eve of a new season, where for the first time since the start of this partnership, the cycling races can be enjoyed together. See you on Saturday 26 February in Ghent, for the kick-off of the season with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.