The first Tour de France Femmes will start on the Champs-Elysees on July 24 (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive) After years of waiting there is only one month left until the start of the Tour de France Femmes.
A women’s edition of cycling’s biggest race has been top of the wishlist for many riders for so long, and it will be granted when the peloton sets off from Paris on 24 July, the final day of the men’s race, reaching a climax on La Planches des Belles Filles a week later.
There have been tokenistic attempts, not least the much criticised La Course held alongside the Tour in recent years, but it has taken until now for a proper eight-day women’s Tour to be born.
“As a cyclist people always ask you, ‘Are you doing the Tour de France?’” former British champion Alice Barnes, a rider for Canyon-SRAM, told the PA news agency. “You’d have to say no and explain it’s because there isn’t one.” (PA Archive) Tour organisers ASO have needed some persuading despite the gripes around La Course, but sponsorship from virtual cycling platform Zwift has pushed things forward. The company partnered with ASO on the introduction of a women’s Paris-Roubaix last season and is now behind the Tour de France Femmes.
La Course, won by Lizzie Deignan in 2020, attracted a loaded field but also plenty of complaints, too often feeling like an afterthought and failing to get proper promotion as the opportunity to capitalise on having the world’s attention during […]