Get pumped up GFG fans. Elite female cyclists will be part of the world's most famous bike race next summer as the Tour de France will hold a women's stage race for the first time since the 1980s.
Women have been riding the men's route in recent years, imploring race officials to include them in cycling's crown jewel. Now leading female cyclists will get a shot at their own yellow jersey.
"This is a huge moment for professional women's cycling," stated pro rider Anna van der Breggen, in a statement about the plans. Noting the Tour's status as a marquee event, she added, "It's long been a dream for many of us to compete in a women's Tour de France."
The Women’s Tour de France
The Tour de France Femmes will follow the men's race, with riders embarking from the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 24, 2022. Unlike the La Course by Le Tour de France — a one-day race that the Tour's organizers have put on for women since 2014 — the new event will be a multi-stage race lasting roughly one week.
It's the third time a women's event has been linked with the Tour de France. Earlier iterations in the 1950s and 1980s collapsed due to a range of problems, including lack of sponsorships to issues with organizers of the men's event.
The new women's race is the result of a partnership between the Tour's organizers, the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), and Zwift — a gaming and interactives company that helped put on a virtual version of the race after it was canceled last summer due to the pandemic.
Amaury Sports Organization and Zwift
The new women's race is the result of a partnership between the Tour's organizers, the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) and Zwift — a gaming and interactives company that helped put on a virtual version of the race after it was canceled last summer due to COVID-19.
"I've long been a fan of the attacking style of women's racing," stated Eric Min, Zwift CEO. "I really believe the women's peloton puts on some of the most exciting bike racing to watch and it deserves a much bigger platform to exhibit these talents and skills."
"At the end of the day, a Women's Tour de France is so much bigger than a bike race. It's a beacon of progress for society that men and women are valued equally at the top," event executives stated. "So yes, I applaud the eight days coming in 2022. I'll be cheering the loudest! And behind the scenes, I'll still keep pushing for two more weeks to be added in the coming years.”