A women's cycle race in Belgium was briefly halted due to the leader catching up with the men who had set off ten minutes earlier.
Equality between men and women is quite rightly a hot topic of discussion right now. Equal pay, equal rights; things that really should have been in place all along, and it's crazy that we are still fighting for that in the 21st century. One arena in which equality is catching up to where it should be, but still isn't quite there, is sport.
Sport is a tricky area in which to ensure men and women are treated equally. There are some sports in which the female side is not as popular as the male. That means less revenue and therefore less pay. However, sports such as tennis have caused a lot of concern in recent years as women continue to get paid less despite it having just as many big and entertaining stars as the male side of the sport.
Thanks to something that happened in a race in Belgium over the weekend, cycling may soon cause a little bit of a fuss in that manner as well. As reported by The Guardian, during the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race, the leader of the female race, Nicole Hanselmann, built up quite a lead for herself. It was such a significant lead that she managed to catch up with the men's race.
Despite the men setting off a full ten minutes earlier than the women, Hanselmann reached a point where she was at risk of being held up by the support vehicles. Event organizers were forced to stop the cyclist, as well as the rest of the female competitors.
Hanselmann told Cyclingnews that she and her rivals were "stopped for five or seven minutes" so that the gap between the two races could be restored.
What must have made the whole situation even more frustrating for Hanselmann is that she went from leading the race at the forced break to crossing the finishing line in 74th place. Although she was given a headstart once the women's race resumed, her competitors managed to catch up to her. Clearly, her rhythm was messed with and who knows where she might have finished had she been allowed to continue uninterrupted.