Three weeks ago French riders were at the forefront of Sir Dave Brailsford’s future vision of Team Sky.
Now, fresh from witnessing Marianne Vos triumph on the Champs-Élysées in the inaugural edition of La Course, Brailsford has revealed his idea for a British-based women’s professional cycling team.
"We've got some brilliant female cyclists," Brailsford told BBC Sport.
"We all are very aware that there needs to be a greater parity, not just in road cycling but across all disciplines, both at Olympic and professional level."
The Team Sky principal’s desire for “greater parity” between the male and female versions of the sport comes after a disappointing Tour de France for his squad, who lost Chris Froome early on to injury and struggled for direction thereafter.
At present, without the backing of a national road racing team such as Team Sky provides the highest-ranked British women are forced to move abroad to earn a living.
The London 2012 silver-medallist Lizzie Armitstead rides for the Dutch team Boels-Dolmans, whilst Emma Pooley competes for Lotto Belisol Ladies.
Pooley was instrumental in making the idea of La Course a reality, and is one of the loudest advocates for the full professionalization of women’s cycling.
"There's nothing that stops women, physically. At the moment it is only a semi-professional sport so at the top level the riders are paid and they ride for time, but a lot of cyclists have to work as well to pay their way so they can't train for 250km stages," she told the BBC.
Before Team Sky, male British road racers were a disparate bunch, scattered throughout Europe with no home-based structure to support them.
That is the same situation that their female counterparts currently face. Brailsford’s ideas may only be in their gestation period – but if followed through, they have the potential to give women’s cycling in Britain a much-needed injection of organisation.
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