It already existed in 1955 and in the 1980s. The women's Tour de France started just before the men's one and Jeannie Longo is happy to recall that she won it three times (1987, 1988, 1989).
But that was in another time.
If it is not unprecedented, the Tour de France Women which is announced from July 24 to 31 is a novelty.
He will leave on the day of the arrival of the men at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and will head east via the roads of Seine-et-Marne, Champagne and the Vosges for a Tour of the eastern part of the country: " Why this choice ?
asks Marion Rousse, the brand new director of this Tour.
We had to find a mountain range during the one week of the race.
In 8 days, starting from Paris, it was obvious that we could not go to the Alps and even less to the Pyrenees.
We had to go to the Vosges.
“To make her Tour a long-term experience, the owner recalls that the Ballon d'Alsace, which the girls will climb, was at the beginning of the 20th century, the first summit of the Tour, the other Tour.
"This race will have to exist in 100 years"
Because yes, this Women's Tour is not a simple swash in the water to please the spirit of the times. 2022 will be a founding date as 1903 was for men. In any case, this is the wish of the big boss, Christian Prudhomme: “This race will have to exist in another 100 years and it will still take place in the last week of July. Except during the Olympic years so as not to compete. "
“You ask me why this Tour lasts only one week and not three like the other, answers the 2020 French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot. It is not that we are less courageous but our teams are less rich in workforce. There are only a dozen girls in each one and we cannot be asked to do three weeks of racing on the Tour, the Giro and all the other events. In the future, however, it is not excluded that this Tour will last a little longer. “We do not put barriers to go beyond thereafter, confirms Marion Rousse. Our ambition is to organize a long-lasting race and, for this, the economic aspect is essential. "
One week of racing, eight stages, 1,029 km to swallow to reach the top of the so aptly named Planche des Belles Filles, sprints, arrivals for punchers, climbers, 250,000 euros in premiums (so 50,000 for winner) to be shared at the end and the same yellow jersey in the race: the ladies' peloton will also have its July party. “It is an honor to have presented it at the same time as that of the men, confides Évita Muzic the reigning French champion who reacts with Julian Alaphilippe and Tadej Pogacar for closer neighbors. This is a sign that times are changing and in a good way. Now, I hope and we all hope that the public will be as numerous to cheer us on the road as the men. "
This is the challenge of this Tour which must now be popular.
It will be broadcast in 170 countries (against 190 for boys): “It's a new chapter that opens, I'm excited,” summarizes Audrey Cordon-Ragot.
She's not the only one.