Dame Sarah Storey: Paralympic great says open-road races risk lives

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Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey wants more women in road cycling

Paralympic cycling champion Dame Sarah Storey wants more women's races in the UK to take place on closed roads and is "not prepared to risk my life" racing alongside traffic on open roads.

Many women's races take place on open roads, with marshals marking the front and back of the field.

Storey told BBC Sport: "You have to keep your wits about you.

"You should be on closed roads. That's one of the things I'd like to see change for women in the UK."

She added: "For me I've sort of moved away from racing some of the UK races because they aren't on closed roads and I'm not prepared to risk my life.

"You know we have a racing code of how to stay safe, but then ultimately, you should be racing on closed roads."

In addition to improving safety, Storey said racing on closed roads with camera bikes would help to develop the profile of women's cycling.

"Then we get the opportunity to build the event into something bigger and be able to get more than just static cameras," added the 38-year-old.

"It's a really frustrating time. Although it's fairly even on the track, when you get to the road, there's massive disparity between the men and women.

"The majority of women's racing you just have to follow on Twitter, and that's even true at World Tour level, it's very restricted."

Storey, 38, narrowly missed out on selection for Great Britain's Olympic team pursuit trio for London 2012, and won the national road race series the same year.

She said racing on open roads does not prepare riders for the realities of a professional career, citing "bigger security, motorbikes, that sort of thing".