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David Lappartient, the president of the UCI has told Wielerflits that a Tour de France for women will happen in 2022. “ASO have assured me they are ready to organise a stage race for women in France. Whether this race will bear the name Tour de France is still unclear. It is a great step forward in the further development of women’s cycling.”
The women’s calendar currently features La Course by Le Tour de France but it has been a one-day race ever since its inception in 2014. Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley, Chrissie Wellington, and Kathryn Bertine lobbied with the ASO to have a women’s Tour de France, but so far it’s been a one-day affair on mixed courses like the Champs-Elysées or the Col d’Izoard.
“Women’s cycling has huge potential,” Lappartient said. “This is why I asked ASO in previous years to organize more women’s races. The new calendar offered the opportunity to add a women’s Paris-Roubaix in 2020. We had many positive reactions to this news.”
ASO now organizes Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne and Paris-Roubaix alongside their men’s races and the one day La Course on the same day the men’s peloton rides a stage in their three-week Grand Boucle.
In the past there was the Tour Féminin in France where we saw epic battles between Jeannie Longo and Leontien van Moorsel. Their fight for the win on Alpe d’Huez was even aired live on national Dutch television in 1992. The first edition was in 1984. The last Tour de France for women was in 2009, won by Emma Pooley.
France has a few women’s stage races with the Tour de l’Ardèche being the longest one with seven stages in 2020. Although it has not been confirmed what a new Tour de France organized by ASO would look like, rumors have it that it would not be run alongside the men’s race but immediately after the men finish the 21st stage on the Champs Elysées.
With a calendar already very full with Women’s WorldTour stage races in summer with The Women’s Tour in Great Britain, the Giro Rosa, Tour of Norway and the Boels Ladies Tour it will interesting to see where and how the new women’s Tour de France will fit in.