ASO announces women’s La Course race to be held in Paris on final day of Tour de France
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

ASO announces women’s La Course race to be held in Paris on final day of Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 8:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Vos, Wellington and Cookson welcome news

ASOA concerted push to try to push Tour de France organisers ASO to have a women’s version of the race appears to have led to some progress, with the French company today announcing that it will hold an event in conjunction with the final day of racing in the men’s Tour.

While the race appears to be a single day event rather than the stage race that people such as Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley, four time world triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington and rider and filmmaker Kathryn Bertine had been calling for as part of the Le Tour Entier group, Vos and Wellington see the move as a step forward for the sport.

The new race will take place in Paris on the final day of competition in the Tour and will feature a live broadcast on France Télévisions and Eurosport International. It will see the world’s top women’ riders racing in the streets of Paris and then duking it out in a final sprint on the Champs-Elysées.

The event should draw on the interest in the Tour plus the media presence the men’s race guarantees, and Vos, Wellington and others hope that it will lead to progress in the push for gender parity and equal coverage in the sport.

Triple world champion and 2012 Olympic title holder Vos said that she was delighted with the news. “I am very excited to be taking part, especially with the majestic finish on the Champs-Elysées. The launch of this race is a revolutionary development in our sport. The Tour is the pinnacle of professional cycling, and I have no doubt that La Course by Le Tour identifies a new era for women’s cycling and will significantly contribute to the growth of road racing.”

According to ASO, the event is a ‘logical step forward’ in a discipline it states is increasing in maturity and recognition. The company already organises the women’s Tour of Qatar and the women’s Flèche Wallonne and said that the new race marks a ‘key phase’ in the process of developing this area of the sport.

“Making a contribution to the development of all forms of cycling is a vocation for the Tour de France,” said ASO’s managing director Yann Le Moenner. “This is even more so when it is about supporting a discipline that is clearly on the up and has been making its mark in professional sport for many years now.

“As the event par excellence that attracts enormous crowds and TV viewers, the Tour has decided to welcome a women’s race during one of its outstanding stages, in an event that will have maximum exposure.”

The UCI president Brian Cookson made the development of women’s cycling a key goal in his manifesto and greeted today’s announcement.

“The UCI is committed to support the development of women’s cycling, and following my election to the UCI Presidency in 2013 we established a Women’s Commission to focus our efforts here. The quality of professional women’s road racing has long deserved a wider audience, and we are very happy that this initiative by A.S.O. will bring the sport to many fans, new and old.

“Women’s racing on the iconic parcours of the Champs Elysees is a tremendous step forward, and we are pleased to welcome this addition to the UCI calendar.”

It has not yet been made clear what ranking the race will have, nor if there is scope or the intention to develop it into a multi-day event. ASO states that further details will be revealed this spring.

While the race is not the women’s Tour that Wellington and others were initially pushing for, Wellington sees it as a sign of progress.

“The Le Tour Entier group (LTE), founded by myself, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and Kathryn Bertine are passionate about helping to grow women’s cycling and women’s sport and we have long been convinced that one of the best ways of achieving our mission is to work with the Tour de France, the beacon of world cycling,” she stated.

“It was wonderful for LTE to have the opportunity to work together with A.S.O to realise our shared passion to continue to grow the sport for the benefit of all.”

She described the new race as ‘a giant step forward,’ and said that she believed it would gain support from riders, teams and the public.


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