ONE major factor that keeps putting Australian cycling ahead of the world's most famous rides in Europe is visibility.
The hype continues to build one month out from the first edition of Tour de France Femmes. Female world tour riders will embark on the new race from Champs-Élysées on the same day as Le Tour's male victor rides to the iconic location in celebration.
Disparities in prize money has become a major talking point since Tour de France Femmes was unveiled. The female edition, while set to be the richest women's cycling event, is offering one-tenth of the men's purse.
But visibility is the key factor in luring sponsorship and deepening the talent pool.
AusCycling's Road National Championships in Ballarat moved to double-billing for the elite men's and women's title races in a Super Sunday fixture almost a decade ago. The women's criterium was given the green light to main event the Sturt Street billing three years ago to better promote gender equality.
Tour de France Femmes will run as a follow-on event with eight stages, each different to what the men will tackle. There will be no Champs-Élysées finish but instead the monstrous climb on La Super Planche des Belles Filles where contenders appear to be cycling vertical-like gradients.
Whoever conquers the climb will get to write their name alongside the likes of Le Tour's Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, Dylan Teuns and Tadej Pogaar.
For many, believing will be in the seeing.
There will be international cycling coverage, including in Australia, but it remains unclear as to whether whole stages will feature. This has become particularly pertinent after Lizzie Diegnan's epic move in the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes last year came before coverage began - and the cameras only turned on once the women had passed the race's famed cobblestone challenge.
Questions have been raised as to whether people would continue to tune in once the men's tour is exhausted. A little like how AFLW scheduling continues to shift to find its best fit.
But this is a start.
Nicole Frain was in that epic Paris-Roubaix Femmes, finishing 20 seconds outside receiving an official finish time but still with the blisters and bruises from having answered the rocky challenge.
Frain arrived in Ballarat months later to capture the Australian women's road race title. She proudly sports the green and gold right now in Europe where the prominence of women's cycling is on the rise, but still largely taking second billing.
There have been plenty of attempts to add women to Le Tour de France in various fashions, mostly one-day exhibitions that have produced a tokenistic vibe. Women's professional cycling might be a relatively young sport but it is vital these women be visible to be taken seriously.
There has been criticism the women's stages are, on average, 50 to 100 kilometres shorter than male counterparts but there is room to grow. Rides such as La Super Planche des Belle Filles are not for the feint-hearted - these demand attention. Hopefully in turn, this will reinforce the right course for women's cycling worldwide.
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