Less than a year after the Philadelphia Cycling Classic made it into the UCI Women's World Tour, when badass, hard working American Megan Guarnier won a wild finish in front of the hometown crowd up the Manayunk wall, when it seemed like - though grossly underpaid and lacking equality - women's cycling was finally getting to take a step forward, boom. The thing blows up. Two steps back. Not enough money to pay for it.
OF COURSE THERE IS NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY FOR IT.
This is barely news. This is a relatively simple math equation about the value of corporate sponsorship - and the obvious risks of sponsoring a dirty sport - playing itself out in a most obvious and basic way. This is basic supply and demand when there is no buyer because the product looks like/might actually be on PCP:
The hard truth here is that the blame for that lack of money rests with a few pro men who doped, continue to dope, and somehow are still in the headlines - and of course the people who pay for them to continue to race. I'm looking at you too, Trek Bikes. The list of ex-dopers that you gladly employ/employed, despite the dirty truth about where they got their talent - continues to grow: Contador. Hesjedal. The Schlecks. You are building a team brand that is so toxic, the races that you you send those bums to win can't even find a sponsor to pay for the piss-testing that they so obviously need more of. So they die. See also: USA Pro Challenge, Tour de San Luis, Tour Of Qatar, etc.
There's a long list of villains in our sport that we continue to tolerate, and a long list of non-funded, defunct races and teams to show for it.
And the women's races die too. Guilt by association. Like most of the ways that women's professional cycling has been trampled by men's professional cycling, it's not fair, of course, but it's true. The glass ceiling only exists in one direction.
Onward? Is there anywhere to actually go? For example, if I were a corporate sponsor - which I am not, you may be surprised to learn - but if I were, would it be possible for me to fund a women's only race/cycling association of some kind that is in no way tied to the dirty, non-viable, financially and morally bankrupt men's version? Or is it only a matter of time before there aren't any races left?
What good will equality be for women racers if their male counterparts have destroyed the sport before they can even achieve it? See also, The United States of America.