The Dutch Annemiek van Vleuten: "She is the superstar right now"
Luc Claessen / Getty Images
Annemiek van Vleuten would very likely have triumphed this Saturday.
But now the Dutch woman has to cure a broken wrist.
Van Vleuten was still overall leader of the Giro Rosa, the most important cycling tour for women on Thursday.
The current world and European champion had already won the last two tours of Italy.
The third victory in a row was imminent.
But then the 37-year-old fell badly.
The Giro Rosa ends this Saturday without the biggest star - one day before the men's Tour de France.
It is not without controversy that the most prestigious races in women's and men's cycling run in parallel.
On the one hand, according to one theory, women's cycling could perhaps benefit from the major global sporting event, the Tour de France.
Interest in cycling in general could increase at this time.
On the other hand, a question arises all by itself: where is the women's Tour de France?
So far only one stage
Ironically, the most famous of all state tours has so far only allowed women one stage - the one-day show race "La Course", which has been taking place since 2014 during the men's tour.
But of course it's not a real tour.
But that will change: David Lappartient, President of the World Cycling Federation UCI, revealed to the Dutch cycling portal wielerfliets.nl at the end of August: The female equivalent of the Tour de France is coming in summer 2022. The tour organizer ASO is planning ten stages - this will make the female one Output to be half as long as that of the men.
The women should start on the last day of the men's tour.
The Luxembourg driver Christine Majerus: "I have the feeling that ASO is giving us a tour so that we can be calm"
Photo: Luc Claessen / Getty Images
"We are very happy that the tour is coming. We rush to every highlight," said Dirk Baldinger, sporting director of the German team Ceratizit-WNT Pro, the team of German champion Lisa Brennauer, to SPIEGEL.
But not everyone in the peloton is happy about the announcement.
Christine Majerus, captain of the Dutch top team Boels-Dolmans, told SPIEGEL: "I have the feeling that the ASO is giving us a tour so that we can stay calm. That's why women's cycling is not really valued."
It is wrong to cheer the organizers of the tour now.
"There are many other great tours on the calendar - like the Giro Rosa or the Boels Ladies Tour in the Netherlands," says Majerus, "the organizers of these races never differentiated between men and women."
The ASO, on the other hand, had waited until they could finally earn money with women's cycling, says Majerus.
There was a women's tour back in the 1980s
Annemiek Van Vleuten sees things a little more positively.
She told the broadcaster Eurosport: "The right time is now there. More and more girls are becoming professionals, and more and more are being paid like professionals. A women’s tour gives our sport the platform it deserves," she said.
For a long time, one could have had the feeling that women's cycling was moving backwards.
After all, there was a women's tour in the 1980s that ran parallel to the men's tour.
But after only five years it was reinstated.
Jean-Marie Leblanc, the long-time tour boss, said at the time that there were no sporting reasons for the decision.
The women's tour is simply no longer economically viable.
Much more women and girls in the Association of German Cyclists
Annemiek Van Vleuten herself could also be responsible for the fact that the tour is now back on the women's calendar.
"She's the superstar right now," says Dirk Baldinger.
"You need such figureheads to increase the popularity of the sport."
Christine Majerus disagrees on this point as well: "Our sport has not developed further because of a female rider. Other women, such as Marianne Vos or Anna van der Breggen, have done at least as much for the popularity of women's cycling," she says.
In Germany, at any rate, interest is growing.
Of the almost 143,000 members of the Association of German Cyclists (BDR), more than 38,000 are currently women - more than a quarter.
For comparison: ten years ago only 17 percent of the members were female.
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