Photos by Balint Hamvas / @cyclephotos
Sure, Helen Wyman’s results are impressive–a dozen combined British and European cyclocross titles and a pile of cobblestone trophies to name just a few–but her fight for women’s equality remains her most enduring achievement.
What started as an op-ed after the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships quickly turned into a massive petition that changed the way the UCI thought about women’s cyclocross. The UCI named Wyman to the cyclocross commission, where she advocated tirelessly for greater equality in cyclocross. Rules changed, schedules shifted, prize money increased, contracts improved, and live TV coverage started as Elite Women’s racing became a main attraction at race weekends throughout the winter.
Wyman remains philosophical about what she’s helped achieve, and her hopes for the future of women’s cyclocross.
“I would be very happy if in five years’ time, a brand new person had come into the sport, had won their world championship and never knew that we didn’t have equal prize money, that we didn’t have equal races, that we didn’t have equal prize money, that we weren’t immediately before the men’s, that we had all these struggles. I want somebody to not know what I did, basically. Because that means it’s equal.”