By Emily Goddard

Bob Howden has said British Cycling is successfully tackling its historical gender imbalance ©Getty ImagesApril 9 - Bob Howden, President of British Cycling, has claimed the national governing body is "starting to successfully tackle the historical gender imbalance" following the release of new women's participation figures today.

The one-year update statistics following the introduction of its "ambitious" women's strategy, which aims to get one million more women cycling by 2020, indicate that more than 84,000 women have got involved in cycling since its launch, with women making up 40 per cent of attendees at British Cycling's recreational programmes.

Howden also highlighted next month's Women's Tour and the introduction of a one-day race as part of the 2014 Tour de France as major boosts for women's cycling, as well as a move to bring in equal prize money across all disciplines.

"2014 is a really exciting year for women's cycling with the Women's Tour, Britain's first ever UCI [International Cycling Union] level stage-race for women, and the huge increase we're seeing in racing opportunities for women," he said.

"It truly feels like momentum is now building and we're starting to successfully tackle the historical gender imbalance.

"This work is transforming the culture and driving structural change across the sport.

"We currently have the world's most successful women's track team and a world champion in downhill mountain biking, a European champion in cyclo-cross and leading contenders in road and BMX so the sport on an elite level has never been in better health."

British Cycling says more than 84,000 women are now taking part in recreational cycling programmes ©British CyclingBritish Cycling says more than 84,000 women are now taking part in recreational cycling programmes ©British Cycling

British Cycling also announced the appointment of two female non-executive directors, Marian Lauder and Alex Russell, to its Board.

The pair have been tasked with ensuring the organisation continues to maximise growth opportunities, with a particular focus on public affairs, finance and risk management.

"I'm thrilled that we have appointed two female directors to our Board as part of a selection process entirely driven by merit," Howden said.

"The need to have more women at all levels of our sport is a key part of the ambition we outlined in our strategy last year.

"This marks the start of a hugely exciting chapter for British Cycling and Marian and Alex's key specific expertise will be invaluable as we move forward."

Read the full one year update here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
March 2014: Cycling and football launch campaign to get more women into sport
October 2013: Women's participation strategy on track, claims British Cycling
October 2013: Further boost for women's cycling as 2014 Tour of Britain announced
September 2013: Britain launches female Para-cycling talent identification programme