A Tour de France for women

 

Four champions of women's cycling have challenged organisers to put women on the start line of the Tour de France 2014.  They launched a petition on the 11th July and it now has more than 20,000 signatures.

 

Emma Pooley World TT Champion

 

The champions include GB’s Emma Pooley, Olympic medalist and World Champion, Kathryn Bertine from Saint Kitts and Nevis, national cycling champion and filmmaker, Marianne Vos of Holland, a multiple World Champion and Olympic Champion and Chrissie Wellington, the British triathlete and World Champion Ironman.

 

While many women's sports face battles of inequity, road cycling remains one of the worst offenders with fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage, shorter distances, and therefore salary and prize money inequity.

 

Campaigners seek not to race against men, but to have a women’s race 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.

 

"As athletes, we know that we need to bring about change," says Kathryn Bertine, National Champion cycling Saint Kitts and Nevis, "the organisers of the Tour de France do not recognize what women could bring to their race. We want to change this vision. "

 

Marianne Vos wins olympic Road Race

 

So far more than 20,000 people have joined the call for Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, to include a women’s competition in 2014.  "In the late 1960s, it was assumed that women could not run the marathon. 30 years later, we look back and see how that was wrong. Hopefully in 30 years’ time we will look back and see that 2014 was the year that opened the eyes of the world to true equality in the sport of cycling."

   
The women's road race at the London Olympics was a showcase for how impressive, exciting and entertaining women's cycling can be.  The Tour of Flanders and Flèche Wallonne hold similar top ranked men's and women's races on the same day, with great success.  Campaingers believe that having a women's pro field at the Tour de France will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical "limitations" placed upon female athletes.

 

If you want to add your voice to the call for change visit: www.change.org - allow female professional cycling teams to race the tour de france

 

 

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