Women’s Tour de France Gains Speed

Across the pond, women in sports have been making quite a splash in the media as of late. What with the Wimbledon debacle, followed by Muirfield’s sexist club membership policies, it’s about time we had some good news regarding sports in Britain. Luckily, this is looking likely to be the case. Ironman Triathlon legend Chrissie Wellington has teamed up with Olympic cycling medalists Emma Pooley and Marianne Vos and cyclist/filmmaker Kathryn Bertine to call for a women’s race at the 2014 Tour de France.

Pooley told the Telegraph that she would like to see women tackling the same stages as men and that a parallel event for women would tap the presence of spectators and media at the race to increase the profile of women’s cycling.

Their petition has already received more than 75,000 signatures and has made an impact on Tour organizers—the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have said that they will look into it. In the past, women’s events have not prospered due to lack of interest, coverage and funding, but after the success of women’s cycling in the London 2012 Olympics, many feel that this is the right time to reintroduce a women’s Tour.

In a letter to Tour director Christian Prudhomme on Tuesday, Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman said that “women’s cycling should not be allowed to slip back into the shadows,” and calling on him to support the petition and hold a women’s race alongside the Grand Départ, which will take place in the UK in 2014.

Logistics of the event are still being worked out, and the ASO has said that it is unlikely that the first woman’s event will be held in 2014. If discussions carry on in the same vain, however, there will almost certainly be a women’s event scheduled for the future.

You can sign the petition here.

Photo of Chrissie Wellington by Flickr user Mariano Kamp under license from  Creative Commons 2.0


Natasha Turner is a freelance journalist and editor based in London and a former Ms. editorial intern.