Top female riders call for a women’s Tour de France to be run in conjunction with the world famous men’s version.
More than 62,000 people had signed a petition calling for a women’s Tour de France version to be staged the day after Chris Froome rode into the history books as Britain’s second consecutive winner of the men’s race.
Britain’s former world champion and 2008 Olympic time trial silver medallist Emma Pooley is one of four top riders who published a petition to resurrect the event, which has not been held since 2009.
The letter to Tour director Christian Prudhomme calls for women to be on the starting line of the 101st Tour de France in 2014, stating: “Hopefully 30 years from now, we will see 2014 as the year that opened people’s eyes to true equality in the sport of cycling.”
The petition, which was launched this month by Pooley, Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos, Kathryn Bertine and ironman triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington, had 62,683 signatures by 2pm today.
British Cycling president Brian Cookson , who is challenging Ireland’s Pat McQuaid for the Presidency of the International Cycling Union (UCI), has described a permanent women’s Tour as a “great” idea but feels it might need to be “over modified distances, modified number of days, and so on”.
He suggested that while more high profile and serious competitions could be good for the sport there may be “some serious logistical problems and organisational problems” with adding a women’s event to the Tour de France which has previously been tried.
The petition states: “After a century, it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too.
“While many women’s sports face battles of inequity, road cycling remains one of the worst offenders: fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage, shorter distances, and therefore salary and prize money inequity.
“We seek not to race against the men, but to have our own professional field running in conjunction with the men’s event, at the same time, over the same distances, on the same days, with modifications in start/finish times so neither gender’s race interferes with the other.”
source: Press Association