Led by Dutchwoman Iris Slappendel, American Carmen Small and Australian Gracie Elvin, The Cyclists Alliance aims to "represent the competitive, economic, and personal interests of all professional women cyclists both during and after their careers".
"We aim to unite all of the professional women cyclists from around the world because together we can shape our future," Slappendel said.
The move came in response to a survey of professional riders earlier this year which revealed 46.9 per cent of riders earn $7,749AUD a year or less and that 17.5 per cent raced without getting paid. The majority of riders, up to 90 per cent, also signed contracts without any kind of legal advice in negotiations.
“We sent out the surveys in February and April to get a sense of the biggest concerns and issues riders face, and if there was any interest or demand for a riders’ union,” Slappendel said.
“The response rate was incredible. Riders from every UCI-registered team participated, and we garnered well over 200 unique responses. The overwhelming message from the women’s peloton was clear, change needs to happen for the sport to grow, and the time is now.”
The organisation said it will push for official recognition by the UCI ahead of the Innsbruck 2018 UCI Road World Championships and start providing career advice, contract negation help, dispute resolutions and insurance packages for riders.
“Without an association, the economics of the sport will remain small, in control of the hands of just a few key people, and limit the opportunities for all of us," Elvin said.
"So we ask our fellow cyclists to join us so we can leverage our strength to negotiate a better future with our teams, our partners in the UCI, new business supporters, and fans across the world."