Elisa Longo Borghini and her Trek-Segafredo team-mates will be donating their crowdfunding prize shares to “support women’s cycling projects”.
Longo Borghini finished second at the weekend at Strade Bianche, where there was frustration over the disparity in prize money between the men and women - €16,000 compared to €2,256 for the winners.
In a bid to close the gap, fans have started a crowdfunding campaign, with the money raised split between the first five women across the line.
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Over €26,638 has been raised so far and Longo Borghini says it is a “a vote of confidence” and a “great boost” for women’s cycling.
“I’m honoured and touched, as a woman and as a rider, that someone was willing to donate money to support the cause of prize equity between women’s and men’s cycling,” the Italian wrote on Twitter on International Women’s Day.
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“This generosity is a vote of a confidence, a great boost in support of the entire women’s movement. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“To make this gesture even more important, my Trek-Segafredo team-mates and I have decided that our prize shares collected through crowdfunding, starting with mine at Strade Bianche, will be set aside and committed to support women’s cycling projects.
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“We will soon decide how and where we will spend the money, but on this special day we think it’s important marking a new step in the long and difficult road of women’s empowerment.
“Thanks again to all those who have donated and happy 8th of March to all the women in the world.”
SD Worx took a large share of the prize money at Strade Bianche as Chantal van den Broek-Blaak came first and team-mate Anna van der Breggen was in third.
Van der Breggen described the crowdfunding campaign as “really generous”.
“We as riders from team SD Worx were surprised to hear that so many fans donated money, to achieve the same amount of prize money as the men.
“The gesture is really generous and gives us the feeling that not only teams and riders want to bring women’s cycling to a higher level, but that the fans also want to be a part of this.”
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Watch the IWD Women in Sport special on Monday at 7pm UK time on Eurosport 1, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app. Plus more exclusive content on the Eurosport app from 8pm.
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