In 2015, the former cyclist Meredith Miller was delighted, on the specialized site Cyclingtips, of the “Climate of fanfare and esteem” in which the female peloton finally ran. A year earlier, he had made his return, after thirty years of absence, on the most emblematic event of road cycling: the Tour de France.
The event took place over one day, but whatever: The Course by Le Tour de France benefited from the aura of the Grande Boucle and was contested in the light of its final stage, on the Champs-Elysées. A small victory for the cyclists Kathryn Bertine, Emma Pooley, Marianne Vos and for the triathlete Chrissie Wellington, who had all worked with Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the manager of the Tour, and the International Cycling Union (UCI) in order to ensure more parity in the discipline.
The format of La Course was, however, supposed to gradually lengthen to include stages. “Eight years later, we are still at the same point”, notes the American-Saint-Kittoise Kathryn Bertine with a touch of bitterness. For its eighth edition, the event, which in 2017 swapped the gold of the most beautiful avenue in the world for other places, will start on Saturday June 26 from Brest to Landerneau, in Finistère, as a curtain raiser from the 108e edition of the Tour.
But from 2022 things will change, and the women’s peloton will also have the right to its Grande Boucle. ” For sure “, told the British newspaper in early May The Guardian the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, letting filter for only information that his calendar will closely follow that of the men.
On Thursday June 17, ASO lifted part of the veil: the event – dubbed “Tour de France Women with Zwift” – will be labeled UCI Women’s World Tour and will have eight days of racing. His first stage will take place on July 24 on the Champs-Elysées, the day of the arrival of the men’s Tour de France. Its course and regulations will be revealed on October 14.
The event will come to enlarge a women’s circuit which will also be enriched, in October, by the “queen of the classics”, Paris-Roubaix. “There are already races in parallel with the men’s events on the classics. But we need this Tour de France to give a new dimension to our sport ”, argues Stephen Delcourt, the manager of the FDJ – Nouvelle-Aquitaine – Futuroscope training, the only French team playing in the World Tour, the elite of road cycling.
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