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October 17, 2019
This week, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced the route of the 2020 Tour de France. Tucked away in a corner of the presentation was La Course, which will return to Paris and remain a one-day event. Confused by the disparity between the men’s and women’s events, the rogue reporter behind Cat3Memes jumped on the case …
PARIS, France (CT) — Under the glaring lights of Paris’ Palais des Congrès on Tuesday morning, with a full house of cycling’s top riders, team managers, and journalists looking on, an embarrassed Christian Prudhomme came to the sudden and awkward realization that he’d forgotten something important.
Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, had just concluded presenting the route for the 2020 edition of cycling’s most storied race. Across 21 stages, the 107th Tour route includes six mountain-top finishes, 29 categorized climbs, and a punishing first week described by some riders as among the hardest ever. Now, it was time to present the route for La Course, the women’s version of the world’s most prestigious bike race.
Prudhomme eagerly presented the first stage of the race, a 90km circuit in downtown Paris that laps the Champs-Élysées 13 times. “Next slide!” he yelled, and the screen went black.
“Merde … that’s embarrassing,” Prudhomme said, visibly flustered. “I knew there was something I was needing to do.”
Ruffling his papers and looking nervously about the room, Prudhomme closed off his presentation: “Anyway, I guess for now we’ll just have this one-day thing.”
Reached after the presentation for comment, Prudhomme clarified his mistake.
“All morning, I knew I’d forgotten something,” he said. “I kept trying to think, what was it? I knew I turned the stove off after making coffee, because I double checked it before I left. Did we forget to include rest days? No, I wouldn’t forget something so important. So I figured everything was fine, that maybe I was just a little nervous.”
“It wasn’t until I was up there at the podium that it occurred to me. I was looking around the audience and I saw a woman, and it kind of reminded me, you know?”
At press time, Prudhomme and his employer – Tour de France owner ASO – were yet to clarify whether the women’s race would ever expand, for the 2020 edition or in the future.
After a mere 106 successful editions of the men’s race, ASO finds itself in an understandable predicament. The organisation is still coming to terms with the logistics of running a bike race, and trying to expand too quickly can present unforeseen challenges.
Nonetheless, in a stirring call to action, ASO invited women to try riding bikes themselves some time, and reminded them to tune in and follow all the exciting action of this summer’s Tour de France, when 176 men will compete over three weeks for the coveted maillot jaune.
As for La Course – for now, the event is scheduled only for a single day of racing, to be held on July 10th, or actually maybe July 19th, who knows.
Prior to bustling out of the room to figure out the next great ASO innovation to pay tribute to women’s cycling, Prudhomme muttered to an aide to remind him to figure that out sometime this spring, just in case he forgets.