Arts & Entertainment

Tour of Somerville Bike Race Takes Lead in Equalizing Women’s and Men’s Prize Purses

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 Australian Lauretta Hanson (center) celebrates with other top finishers at last year's Tour of Somerville women's race. Credits: Courtesy Tour of Somerville
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SOMERVILLE, NJ – For the first time in its 73-year history, America’s oldest major bicycle race will offer the same amount of prize money for top finishers in both the men’s and women’s featured events.

Tour of Somerville organizers announced Thursday that this year’s 25-mile women’s race and 50-mile men’s event would both have $10,000 purses.

Tour promoter Lisa Werner said that equalizing the monies for the Memorial Day cycling classic was long overdue. The change reflects the growing international movement for gender quality in both amateur and professional sports.

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“For decades both amateur and professional cyclists from around the world have been able win cash prizes, but many of the best female cyclists have had to settle for less than their male counterparts,” said Werner. “We are proud to announce that, here in Somerville, that changes this year.”

Attracting 10,000 spectators and more than 600 competitors, the "Tour" culminates on May 30 with the historic Kugler-Anderson Memorial 50-mile criterium and the Mildred Kugler 25-mile women’s race through the streets of downtown Somerville. Tour activities begin the day before, May 29, with preliminary races in neighboring Bound Brook.

The two-day series is promoted by Arts on Division, a Somerset County resource that promotes all aspects of culture and the arts, for the benefit of Jack’s Kids www.jackskids.org. Jack’s Kids is a Somerville Elks initiative that eases the financial burden to families dealing with a serious childhood illness and/or serious disabilities

Businesses and organizations sponsoring the event include: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Bridgewater Nissan, Efinger’s, Duke Farms, Flemington GMC, United Rent All, and The Downtown Somerville Alliance. Tour organizers remind that with access to a unique mix of participants and spectators, numerous sponsorship opportunities are still available for local corporations, businesses, and non-profit organizations to promote their brands and have a presence at the race.

Anyone interested in the Tour’s “Preserve the Past, Invest in the Future “ campaign can discuss sponsorship opportunities with Lisa Werner at info@tourofsomerville.org. Also, potential sponsors and the general public are welcome to go to the Tour of Somerville's website which includes a brief video capturing the pulse and excitement and last year's race (tourofsomerville.org).

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