The move will make for a shakeup of participation in road events, which are set to see nearly twice the amount of male than female cyclists at next summer’s Toyko Games. In 2024, this disparity will be balanced by reducing the men’s field and enlarging the women’s cohort to see 90 participants of each sex.
This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the total pool of road riders from 197 in Tokyo to 180 in Paris.
“Gender parity at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 sends out a strong message to our athletes and society as a whole,” UCI president David Lappartient said. “The UCI is committed to a policy of equal representation of women and men both on the field of play and in governance. Following the introduction of a minimum salary for professional women riders, among other developments, this is another big step forward that does justice to our Federation and our sport and of which I am especially proud.”
Gender equality is one of the primary objectives of the UCI’s 2022 agenda, and having achieved equal numbers of male and female athletes for the mountain bike, BMX racing, and BMX freestyle programs in Tokyo, the balancing of road and track participant numbers for 2024 marks the final step in the governing body’s ambition.
“To hear that the 2024 Games will have [an] equal number of male and female riders is great news and a very important step forward in the sport of cycling,” said cyclocross and MTB veteran Katerina Nash, who also operates on the UCI management committee as president of the Athletes’ Commission.
“We have been seeing an amazing growth across all the women’s disciplines along with impressive competition. Olympic Games can elevate everyone’s career and create more opportunities for those currently racing as well as those who are dreaming of being part of the sport in the future.”
While there will be a total of 14 fewer riders at the Paris Games compared to the Tokyo event, athlete numbers are being reduced across various sports as part of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020.