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Elisa Longo Borghini to spend Strade Bianche prize money on cycling projects for women

Elisa Longo Borghini and her Trek Segafredo teammates will spend any prize cash derived from crowdfunding campaigns on projects for women's cycling.

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Elisa Longo Borghini is putting her money where her heart is.

On Monday Longo Borghini said she and her Trek-Segafredo teammates intend to set aside their prize money from Saturday’s Strade Bianche race and spend it on projects dedicated to women’s cycling.

“We will soon decide how and where we will spend the money, but on this special day we thin[k] it’s important marking a new step in the long and difficult road of women’s empowerment,” Longo Borghini wrote on her Instagram page.

Last week Strade Bianche became the focus of an international conversation on pro cycling’s disparity in prize money, after the lopsided prize purse from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad prompted calls for more equality in payouts. A fan named Cem Tanyeri set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds for the women’s prize purse at Strade Bianche, and after five days the account brought in €26,668 for the top women.

Tanyer wrote on the site that he intended to distribute the cash to the top-five finishers. The winner would receive €6400; second place €5,000; third €3800; fourth €2800; and fifth place €2000.

Longo Borghini finished second overall, bringing her €5,000. Traditionally, teams split up the prize winnings between the riders and staff at the event. Longo Borghini said she instead will distribute the raised funds.

“I’m honored 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,” she said. “The generosity is a vote of confidence, a great boost in support of the entire women’s movement. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Longo Borghini said that she and her Trek Segafredo teammates plan to spend all of their prize earnings that come from crowdfunding campaigns on projects for women’s cycling.