• Fresh off her victory at the Tour of California, Hall has backed the push for more womens racing (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Katie Hall has called for a week-long Women’s Tour of California after organisers took a step toward parity and awarded equal prize money at a shortened race this year.
Sophie Smith

20 May 2018 - 9:13 AM  UPDATED 28 May 2018 - 1:18 PM

Hall (UnitedHealthcare) secured overall victory at the 2018 edition today ahead of Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops), who was 29 seconds in arrears, with Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon/SRAM) third at a minute and seven seconds down. Brodie Chapman (TIBCO-SVB) was the best-placed Australian finishing fifth overall, one minute and 16 seconds adrift.

The triumph was a redemption for the American Hall, who last season lost the title by a single second to Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) on the final stage. Sweetening the pot were the additional funds that have come into the womens race, with the prize pool increased to $104,585 AUD. 

“I think it’s a great thing that this race has done," said Hall. "It’s one of the things that’s better about racing in America than Europe – the prize money is a lot better for women. It does make a big difference too, not validate but recognise what we do here too."

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The total 301.5km women’s race this season was shortened from four to three stages and coverage of the womens race during the broadcast was limited to the closing moments of each stage. The women’s race has alternated between three and four stages since its inception in 2015.

“The prize money is a good step but I want more people to see women’s racing," said Hall. "I think that’s a big part of the development, is getting good media coverage and good courses where you see aggressive racing and how exciting our races are."

“I would prefer more, hard, days personally. I’d like to see a seven-day Tour of California. This is my state and I love the north to south. I think it would be so cool to bring the European peloton to California, and have them race through the whole state.

“People all year have come up to me about last year, losing by one second,” Hall continued.  “Those who saw the videos were excited about women’s cycling. More opportunities like that are a big part of what will bring equality.” 

The 31-year-old certainly wasn’t turning her nose up at the moves from organiser AEG, which this year retired the podium girl “conventional” winner’s kiss from daily stage ceremonies.

The women’s peloton generally speaking has been calling for longer race routes but there is conjecture that female teams, still fighting for parity, couldn’t afford the related logistical costs.

“I feel like if teams are getting here I don’t think a seven-day race costs that much more -- for a team. The big cost is the flight over so if they are here we should race for a week,” Hall said.

The climber has had a remarkable season to date, winning all three of the domestic stage races she started prior to the Women’s Tour of California.  

“This is my first WorldTour race this year, I’ve mostly raced domestically. There is a good amount of quality in the domestic racing but this is a really well organised, supported race for us,” she said.

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