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Commission wants equivalent prize lists for women

(Reuters) - The prize lists for women's events should be equivalent to those for men, the International Cycling Union (UCI) athletes' commission said on Wednesday.

The members of the commission, who have just finished a three-day session in Switzerland, also proposed stiffening sanctions against riders found guilty of doping, increasing the minimum salary and capping team salaries.

"After considering the situation of women's cycling, the athletes' commission proposed that the prize lists for all women's events should be equivalent to those for men's races, as will shortly be the case for the UCI world championships," it said in a news release.

The commission also wants UCI WorldTour teams to invest in women's squads and race organizers to offer them more events.

In an attempt to improve the image of cycling which has been scarred by several high-profile doping cases, including that of American rider Lance Armstrong, the commission said it had studied several options.

As well as stronger punishments for those found guilty of doping, the commission called for sanctioning the teams and the entourage of riders who test positive, not just the rider.

It recommended an increase in the minimum salary "in order to fight against the temptation to dope and guarantee all athletes a comfortable standard of living".

The commission called for a ceiling to be imposed on the salary budgets of teams to reduce the financial differences between leaders and the rest of the riders.

It also declared its support for the integration of disabled athletes in non-para-cycling competitions.

"The exchanges of the UCI Athletes' Commission have been very fruitful... We will now study the Commission's recommendations and present them to all our stakeholders," UCI President Pat McQuaid said.

The commission was established in 2011 and is made up of active athletes representing all the disciplines of cycling, including para-cycling.

(Writing By Alison Wildey in London; Editing by Mark Meadows)

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