QC Criterium evens out prize money for men's and women's pro races

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - For the first time this year, the Quad Cities Criterium has evened the playing field.

"We've equalized the prize money for the first four places," explains Race Director Tom Schuler.

This means that men and women's pro races receive the same amount of prize money for the top four finishers.

Gwen Inglis is a Cat 1 level cyclist, but often competes against professional racers.

"I just got hooked on it," she says of racing. "It's a lifestyle too."

She believes the prize money provides an incentive for women to race.

"I think it does turn out a higher number of racers in the women's field which is important," Inglis says.

Schuler says this year there are more than double the number of pro racers in the women's categories.

"We're catching the prize money up to have equal prize money across the board," he says. "The women obviously appreciate it and they're responding [well]."

While the prize money is only equal for the top four finishers, the race hopes to expand it to all 15 places next year.

"We're happy and proud that we're at the cutting edge of that process," says Schuler.

For women's professional cycling, Inglis says the future is positive.

"We certainly want to keep more women in the sport, it's a tough thing but we're trying," she says. "As far as women go i think we have nowhere to go but up."