Tour de France organisers say they’ll consider demands for women’s Tour
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tour de France organisers say they’ll consider demands for women’s Tour

by VeloNation Press at 6:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Online petition signed by Vos and Pooley breaks through 70,000 signatures

Tour de FranceFollowing an explosion of interest in the push to hold a women’s Tour de France in conjunction with the men’s race, the organisers of the Tour have said that they may consider the reintroduction of the event.

“We need to work out the right economic model, get the media on board and discuss with public authorities about closing the roads,” ASO chairman Jean-Etienne Amaury told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “All these parameters need to be planned.”

Earlier this month a letter was written to ASO and an online petition created, calling for the introduction of a women’s Tour by the 101st edition in 2014.

The petition was created by Kathryn Bertine and signed by her, world champion Marianne Vos, former champion Emma Pooley and the Ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington. Since then the petition has been signed by over 70,000 people and the campaign has gained momentum.

Tour race director Christian Prudhomme was reported as appearing somewhat dismissive during the Tour, but Amaury’s comments appear to be generally positive. However he stated that such an event was unlikely to be in place by next year.

Pressure and support has been building for the reintroduction of the race, which was previously held between 1984 and 1989. Mary Ann Martin (USA), Maria Canins (Italy) and Jeannie Longo (France) were the winners in that period. In 1987, Longo appeared on the podium with the male Tour winner Stephen Roche, illustrating a link between the two events.

The race often used the same stage finishes as the men, but had different starting points.

After the race stopped in 1989, other versions of the women’s Tour were held but did not have the same association with the men’s event. Indeed the Tour de France organisers took legal action over the event’s billing as a women’s Tour.

Amaury has said that there has been no contact yet with Bertine or the others involved in the petition. However there has been a growing drive for equality in the sport, with many top female competitors calling for WorldTour races and teams to have women’s sections.

They believe that this will bring with it interest, television coverage and spectators and help grow this wing of the sport.

Both current UCI president Pat McQuaid and his rival for the upcoming elections, Brian Cookson, have accepted that women’s cycling needs to be developed and expanded.

Bertine is also involved in the Half the Road film project, which is being made about women’s professional cycling.

View the women’s Tour de France petition here


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