Lizzie Deignan: No excuses for anything other than equal prize money
There can be "no excuses" for anything other than equal prize money and coverage for women's cycling, says Great Britian's Lizzie Deignan.
The 29-year-old, world road race champion in 2015 and an Olympic silver medallist in 2012, said the success of the women's Tour de Yorkshire event meant other races should follow suit.
The Tour de Yorkshire in 2016 offered what was then the largest ever prize fund for a women's race - £55,500 - while also introducing live television coverage equal to the men's event.
"We're now at a point where we can't go backwards," Deignan said.
"Events like the Tour de Yorkshire are setting a precedent for how races can be now and there are no excuses anymore that anyone will accept.
"There is clearly an appetite on both the men's and women's side so it is things like this that can be a catalyst for change."
This year the total prize money for the Women's Tour of Britain was more than doubled to bring it level with the men's event at 90,000 euro (£78,500).
While the total prize fund of cycling's most prestigious men's race - the 21-stage Tour de France - was about 2.3m euro (£2m) last year.
The women's equivalent - La Course - was last year contested over two stages with a total prize fund of 27,700 euro (£24,150).
Deignan, who won the Tour de Yorkshire in 2017, earlier in March announced that she is expecting her first child in September.
She has said she plans to return to racing in 2019, and hopes to use her time out of competition to push for greater equality in her sport.
"Cycling has given me so much and it would be good to give back," she added.
"There is no one answer to change everything. For me the most positive thing is that we keep moving forward. I think it's about small steps being made."