Canyon athletes use International Women’s Day to reflect on how to improve gender equality in cycling

Tiffany Cromwell, Soraya Paladin, Alice Towers, Beth Duryea, Maghalie Rochette, Ines Thoma, and Sam Soriano share their views on women’s cycling

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, Canyon spoke to Tiffany Cromwell, Alice Towers, Soraya Paladin and Beth Duryea from CANYON//SRAM Racing, Canyon CLLCTV’s Maghalie Rochette, professional Enduro MTB rider Ines Thoma, and professional freeride athlete Sam Soriano on how they perceive gender equality in the sport of cycling.

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All seven spoke about the progress made in the last 10 years, especially at the elite end of the sport, but highlighted disparity further down the chain.

CANYON//SRAM Racing's Tiffany Cromwell refers to the London Olympic 2012 where, to her mind, the Road Race was the turning point: “There was a lot of attention on that race and those games and since then we’ve seen a lot of change and development within the sport. Brands have engaged and focused on women’s cycling more. I see more women riding bikes recreationally than ever before.”

But not only in the main cycling disciplines does there seem to be an improvement. Long-time Enduro athlete Ines Thoma adds: “Female cycling has traditionally played a bigger part in some disciplines like road racing or XC racing but the Enduro, DH and Freeride sector has also improved a lot. Both in visibility and the fact that way more girls reach a high level of performance. That makes it more and more interesting to watch.”

When it comes to professional sports, media broadcasting plays a crucial role

Evidence suggests that women’s teams are growing, women’s races are getting bigger, more people want to watch women’s cycling and there’s greater coverage of women’s races globally. CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Soraya Paladin states that women's professional cycling has grown considerably with increased sponsorship and improved support structures. More races being broadcast has helped challenge stereotypes. Initiatives to provide equal prize money and efforts to organise women's editions of historical races like Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift have made significant progress, too”.

A report published by ZWIFT on the 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (TdFFaZ) confirms the largest international coverage and impact ever measured for a women's cycling race. The report states that the TdFFaZ “achieved a cumulative live audience of 23.2M across 8 stages, commanding an audience share higher than that of the men’s Giro d’Italia” and identified women’s cycling as the fourth most followed female sport.

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Canyon freeride athlete Sam Soriano notes that social media has helped boost that presence greatly and that brands and riding organizations are doing a much better job of showcasing female stories and performances. “I believe we still have a long way to go but the growth over the last few years has been a successful step forward”, she said.

It is important to promote and support women’s cycling at all levels

Tiffany Cromwell noted that there are more development opportunities for women with more teams creating development pathways to help bring more women to the top level of the sport.”

With its two Canyon//SRAM teams, Canyon is investing in women in cycling – in the Racing team as well as in the Generations team – in order to promote inclusion, diversity and equal opportunities. “More visibility for women in cycling is a goal we at CANYON//SRAM Racing have focused on since the team's foundation. After so many years, we are well on our way to breaking down barriers, creating more opportunities for young female riders from different nations and driving change in women's cycling for the better”, said Beth Duryea, who has been working in women's cycling since 2008, and is one of the team’s founders.

Tiffany Cromwell confirmed: “I’ve been part of Canyon//SRAM Racing since the beginning and this team is always challenging the norm. Supporting us and helping grow the sport. It’s also nice that we can inspire the next generation and be role models for young girls who aspire to be professional cyclists.”

With its Generation team, CANYON//SRAM is also tackling the issue of equal opportunities: One of the reasons CANYON//SRAM Generation was founded was to provide a pathway and an opportunity for women from countries that are underrepresented in the professional peloton. It’s important that we advocate for more equal opportunities and strive to raise awareness about women’s cycling to help pave the way for future generations of female athletes”, explained Beth Duryea.

Gender equality making steady progress but still work to be done

All female riders we spoke to believe there is still plenty to do to bring women’s cycling to the next level. This is related to the fact that many female professional cyclists face challenges balancing their sporting careers and personal lives, particularly when starting a family.

Rider and mother Ines Thoma explained: “In my case I was super lucky to have a sponsor like Canyon who believed in my plans and supported me along the way. And now with the new Canyon Family Policy they also created a clear and transparent structure for this support. But there could be clearer rules from sports organisations, like in every ‘normal’ job, to help women get back into the scene [after pregnancy]. For example, a rule that your world ranking, or your points are frozen during your maternity leave. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to rejoin the world tour circus straight away.”

CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Alice Towers stated: “One of the challenges we still face in women's professional cycling is how people compare it so often to men's professional cycling. In most elements, it is the same. But in others, it's wildly different. Instead of trying to fit the mold of the men in terms of the calendar and the teams, women's cycling is a different shape, and we should focus on growing it in the way that works for us.”

Sam Soriano still sees a need for development in media with female content: “I feel like there is still a lack of female content within the media space. I would like to see more women given the opportunity to participate in movie segments, product releases, and personal media projects. I would like to see there be more women's events in the future as well.”

Of course, it all starts with equal opportunities to get into the sport one loves. Soraya Paladin notes that more initiatives that make cycling safe and more accessible for women – such as female-focused rides, workshops, and communities – are crucial to further increase the number of women getting involved.


“It’s a wonderful time to be a part of women’s cycling.”

On this point all the women we spoke to agreed, they are proud and motivated to be part of this development. “It feels great to be a part of the change and of something growing. And on another level, it just feels so special that I feel part of this group of awesome women. I’m so inspired by the other women in cycling”, said Maghalie Rochette.

Beth Duryea is filled with pride to be part of the growing community of female cyclists: “I see pro cyclists who are role models for young girls who dream of pursuing a career in cycling. I see pro cyclists shining a light on their countries and showing that barriers, biases, or prejudices can be overcome to become a pro cyclist. I see a community of women who share the same passion and determination and are actively supporting and empowering each other. It’s a wonderful time to be a part of women’s cycling”.

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Canyon would like to thank Tiffany Cromwell, Soraya Paladin, Sam Soriano, Ines Thoma, Maghalie Rochette and Beth Duryea for sharing their thoughts.

Inspiring Inclusion at Canyon

To mark International Women’s Day, Canyon will host a pop-up exhibition, a movie night, workshops and a gravel ride for staff at its Koblenz headquarters.

The activities follow the #InspireInclusion theme of International Women’s Day and, especially through the exhibition, movies and workshops, aim to raise awareness of the important role women play both in our industry and in everyday life to encourage dialogue among all employees about equality, diversity and inclusion to promote a deeper mutual understanding and more inclusive everyday and working environment.

Movies shown include Ines Thoma's return to racing film and Jenny Tough & Emily Chappell's This Rider, followed by a Q&A with our special guests. The workshops will be led by gender expert Stella Mally and author of Untagged, Carolin von der Mosel, who will be looking at the effects of labels such as age, gender, profession and marital status.


1. For any interview requests with athletes, please contact Canyon's Ben Hillsdon via your local Canyon media representative.

About Canyon

Canyon is one of the most innovative bike brands in the world. The concept began in founder Roman Arnold’s garage and grew to be the world’s largest direct-to-customer manufacturer of road bikes, mountain bikes, triathlon bikes, gravel bikes, hybrid bikes, and electric bikes.

Canyon have earned their glowing reputation for innovation through consistently using advanced materials, thinking, and technology. The iconic Canyon design is easy to identify. Alongside being boldly competitive and ever-expanding, they are committed to making the global cycling community accessible for every rider.

While Canyon partners with some of the finest athletes on the planet, their mission, ‘Inspire to Ride’, highlights how they work to promote the power of cycling to everyone.

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